First Steps

Service dog vs Emotional support animal



To everyone who has suffered loss while trying to travel you have my condolences.

We see on the news, headlines relating to the death or denial of psychiatric support animals. In some cases lets face it, sound down right hilarious and others can break your heart and make you angry.

Truth is many people who do not have a mental disability.  Have tried to bring their animals on a plane and pass them off as emotional support animals.  In doing so they have done so much have for real people who need the assistance.

Lets first find out the distinction between the two.

First define the difference

According to the ADA regulations a service animal is “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision. Alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds. Providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items”.

Emotional support animals are not a pets. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.

A person seeking the emotional support animal must have a verifiable disability.  The reason cannot just be a need for companionship.

Most countries only recognize a dog as a service animal but some accept a cat.

Air travel can be well, emotional

Airlines however, typically have policies that passengers flying with emotional support animals must follow.

A prescribed emotional support animal must have appropriate documentation.The animal should not present a danger to others. A person with a disability can insure that the animal will not interfere with others (through unwanted attention, barking, inappropriate toileting, etc).

Emotional assistance animals, are required to be caged or on a leash at all times. People are not charged for flying with an emotional support animal.

Service animal salute

There have been a few changes by the US Department of Justice. This is in regards to state and local governments for places that are open to the public.

However, the definition under the Department of Transportation Americans
with Disabilities Act has not changed.

A service animal may not be excluded unless the animal is out of control.  The animal’s owner must take effective action to control it. The animal can’t poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Therefore, members of the public may find that some service animals may no longer be considered as service animals once they leave a transportation system.

Which one suits your needs

Check with the airlines long before you book. Rules and regulations change so rapidly these days you need to stay alert for easier travel and piece of mind.

Passengers traveling with support animals will have to fill out paperwork 48 hours in advance. The airline will double check doctors notes.

The only animals now excepted as ESA’s are cats and dogs.  You also limited to only one per customer.

Mr.Gabe W Beasley Mostly Macros 2010

In most circumstances, a service or support animal in training does not meet qualifications for a trained animal and cannot ride in the cabin. Two exceptions are as follows:

  • The service or support animal in training is traveling with a professional trainer en route to the owner
  • The animal in training is already a trained service or support animal, and is traveling with a certified trainer for additional training

Last but not least

If you would like additional time to board the aircraft, pre-boarding is available to accommodate you during the boarding process. Please be sure to arrive at the gate with enough time to make arrangements with the gate agents prior to departure.

If you’re traveling with a service or support animal, you should select a seat that offers space for your animal. Service and support animals must be seated in the floor space below a seat, or in a passenger’s lap. No animals are allowed to occupy seats that are
designed for passengers or to eat off tray tables.

Leave comments and questions below please.

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