Saturday, December 23, 2017

PTSD Veteran must surrender emotional support dog

 If you are already angry because of the headline, you're not alone. I was too until I read this part.
"Unlike service dogs trained to assist disabled people with daily tasks, emotional support animals don’t require training."
Then add in this section.
"Florida law allows service dogs that calm “an individual with post traumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack.” Dogs that simply provide comfort, companionship and security don’t qualify as service dogs, according to statutes."
There is a difference between "service" and "support" dogs. It is hard to figure out what kind of training "support" dogs receive.

This is from the AKC
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that those animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area. 
"Although they are not service dogs, ESAs do have certain rights in terms of housing and air travel. The Fair Housing Act includes ESAs in its definition of assistance animals. Under the act, people cannot be discriminated against due to a disability when obtaining housing. Therefore, rules such as no pets, species bans, or pet-size limitations do not apply to people who have a prescription for an ESA, and they cannot be charged a pet deposit for having their ESA live with them."

Veteran must surrender emotional support dog
Orlando Sentinel
Mary Shanklin
December 23, 2017 

Seventy-year-old Robert L. Brady has until Jan. 11 to give up Bane, the mixed-breed sidekick that his psychologist deemed as an emotional support dog.

His Conway-area condominium association won an arbitration order Dec. 12 requiring the Vietnam veteran to surrender the 4-year-old dog because it exceeds the community’s 35-pound weight limit for pets. Bane weighs about 41 pounds. The canine now faces an uncertain future even as assistance dogs have gained greater access to communities, restaurants and shops.
“The reason I don't want to lose him is that he keeps my mind off the war and everything. He's just a wonderful companion,” said the widower, who retired last year from working as a theme-park bus driver. “My life would be lost without a good companion and that's why I'm doing all I can to keep from having to get rid of him.”
So, if you are still angry over this story, contact our elected officials and have them change the law to add these dogs, but make sure they actually protect the public from non-trained dogs, anyone can claim they need. 
We've seen too much abuse as it is when folks buy a certificate online and a vest. They don't care they give highly trained service dogs a bad name. They'll do the same thing with "support dogs" that really are helping veterans and others, have better days.