Ma and I were walking around the hotel after my potty breaks and she was just chatting with some of the other people who were also staying there. We went to a couple exhibits that were being held there and that is when we started hearing stories of people who traveled a lot and like to take their dogs with them.
A few people said things that made ma go weak in the knees. One lady said that her daughter traveled a lot and liked to take her dog with her so she got a letter off the internet and had a doctor friend sign it so she could take her dog. Another person said they had someone who wasn't a doctor write a letter that said they needed a dog to be with them to travel. There were more stories that we heard and I am honestly proud that ma kept her cool. I know you are probably wondering why these stories would bother ma because you don't see anything wrong with them. Let me explain.....
The letters were for an Emotional Support Animal.
First off, an Emotional Support Animal are NOT a service dog. ESA as they are referred to are not trained task and are known as companion pets. A ESA can be ANY animal that makes a person feel better because to their presence. The person seeking the emotional support animal must have a verifiable disability. ESA are allowed in No Pet housing and allowed to fly. They are not covered by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) , they are covered by the FHA (Fair Housing Act) and the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act). They are not allowed in stores, theaters, hospitals, etc.. They must be potty trained and not a nuisance. The ADA states that " Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."
If the animal makes the person feel better then what is the big deal?
How many of you have been to a dog park or walking and had a dog rush your dog? How many dogs have you encountered a dog that didn't behave around young children, women, men, or other animals? Not every owner will have a well behaved pet. Would you want to be on a plane and have someone with a dog that is barking or growling at you through the flight? How about having someone with a snake or a bird on that flight?
What is the big deal about an emotional support animal?
The big deal is that many people are not disabled and are having letters wrote so they don't have to pay for their pets flights, pay a pet fee or can have a pet in a no pet housing. Many people will buy vests and ID's off the internet from companies who don't check to see if the person is truly disabled. They will slap a service dog vest on their dog and that hurts real disabled people and real service dog teams.
When a pet with a fake service vest or ID misbehaves in public it is a reflection on ALL service dogs and real Emotional Support dogs who's handlers are truly disabled.
Did you know that airlines only allow a certain number of animals on each flight??
When you have pets who are not true service dogs or true emotional support animals on flights ; the traveler with an ESA or SD may be denied a flight because the number of dogs already on the flight are taken. That disabled handler may have to take a later flight sometimes at a higher cost and could possibly miss a funeral, a family reunion, whatever the reason.
Many people are fleecing the airlines by getting these letters so they don't have to pay a pet fare. Many airlines charge anywhere from $75 to $150 one way for pet fares. A dog has to be able to fit under the seat in a carrier and if its too large , it must be put in cargo. People who bring fake letters have no size restriction, an example would be whether its a standard poodle or a Great Dane, it can be on the flight.
Ma did tell the one lady who was bragging about her daughter getting a fake letter so her dog could travel with her that she didn't feel it was right what her daughter does. There are many people who DO need ESA's and its just as bad faking a ESA as it is a Service dog. She also told her that her daughter could be fined or put in jail for faking her dog as a emotional support animal. The lady's jaw dropped because she didn't know it was against the law.
Ma also told her about the time that I was almost attacked by a fake service dog. How I had been rushed by another dog that was supposedly a service dog and how she had seen a dog fight happen from where the fake service dog had rushed another dog who wasn't as friendly or patient as I am.
I only hope the lady educates her daughter. I hope I have educated you, my readers.
What are your honest opinions on people who fake ESA or Service Dogs?
Do you think it really hurts real teams?
I want your honest opinion only please.
Thank you for taking time to read my post.