I, Anonymous: I Will Not Participate in Your "Emotional Support Animal" Sham


glad you're not my therapist. given the amount of trauma in our society, pets are much needed for calming and coping. hope your informed consent form says this right up front.
Thank you anonymous; thank you.
Lying about having a disability to save money, not a good look is it. I'm far more ok with it if everyone doing this has to pretend to be blind rather than pretend to be mentally ill while tooling around the airport. Reinforcing the damaging stigma that mental illness isn't real by faking it to bring your dog with you everywhere isn't fair to those who are disabled due to mental illness - can you at least pretend to have an epileptic seizure or a diabetic black out now and then instead? And please, have the decency to pay the $200 fee to an online scam artist to get your fake papers instead of taking up valuable appointment time, there's an extreme shortage of mental health professionals and for all you know someone suicidal couldn't get to see their doctor that day because you decided Fido has to go to with you on vacation (dogs, not fans of vacations).
@1 ask your shrink how often they've been asked to certify an emotional support animal, it if they've known anyone professional who has. I'll wait.
Also also, if you are faking it you don't get to have a dog. I need you out there with an anaconda, a goldfish in a bowl, a taxidermied hamster you call Chuckles - I need you out there looking crazy as all get out if you refuse to pretend to be blind. I want it undeniably obvious that you are crazy if you're lying. I want you to pay the penalty of being visibly insane that so many who are actually disabled by mental illness have to pay when they're in public, so maybe next time when you're thinking about lying about having a disability to get an advantage, like when you park in a handicapped space, or that space they save for cancer patients right next to the clinic for, or when you bring along a wheelchair to Disneyland to cut the rides (because you don't know any actual disabled people who'd want to go anywhere with you), or pretend to have a learning disability whenever anyone confronts you about this type of behavior - maybe if you are visibly "mentally ill" and you see how people react, maybe you'll rethink your "hey, everyone else is faking a mental illness to get a perceived perk, why can't I?" policy. Really the least you could do. Please do so respectfully of course. Chuckles won't tolerate disrespect.
@1 Please, think of the mental health of those around you. Especially in an apartment building. Especially if it's a non-silent pet. If you are mentally ill to the point where going places without an animal companion is largely impossible and dangerous you, perhaps trying therapy first rather than cold calling local shrinks to see if they'll sign a form for you is a good move, no?
Totally agree with you. Asked a friend working for an airline, what happens to a passenger that has allergies to dander, or & cat/dog fur. That passenger is moved! The person with the comfort animal has preference over someone with a health issue. Waiting for someone to show up with a pig, monkey or snake as a ‘comfort animal’.
Thank you for this. I’m very pro-pet, but when I read of a paying customer being dragged off a flight bc she didn’t have a random doctor’s note explaining her allergy, I knew it has gone too far.
Sdb1147, snakes give the best hugs!
Doggist! :)
My "mental health provider" at a large Seattle health care provider scoffed at me when I suggested I would benefit from having an emotional support dog. She said unless the dog and I have been through special (expensive!) training and it performs a demonstrable skill, it is not an "official" support dog. Several people in the condo I live in have managed to acquire "emotional support dogs" and have a note from their "doctor" that says the dogs are required and must be accommodated in our "no dogs" building. So the honest idiot with PTSD and lots of random "issues" (me) doesn't get a dog but the fashionable young ladies in the condo building get their purse dogs. That's cool, support cats are great too but they prefer not to mingle in public. Basically in this life if you have enough money and absolutely no shame, you can have whatever you want.
My “emotional support” pit bull just attacked a kid at the Portland airport. “Help me Mr. Therapist. YOU said and approved that he was ok for my emotional support”! Welcome to world of “Liability Lawsuits”.


Except in order to be a true ESA you need to see a therapist for a year and have a prescription for it.

Just leave fucking Bella at home.
@2 DanOh: I second it. Thank you, I, ANON.
@13 GreenPotato: Also agreed.
I'm more of a cat person, myself, but when traveling I'd keep my kitties at home with someone trustworthy to check on them. They're happiest in their home environment anyway.
This I, ANON's situation on board a plane reads like the tale of a spoiled little princess I know from a wealthy family who once argued for having a "support cat" in her downtown apartment despite a strictly enforced "No Pets" rule. The landlords hesitantly agreed to it after she presented a note from her therapist. Then she smuggled in a second "support" kitty, like nobody was supposed to know. The only reason she didn't lose her lease and end up tossed out onto the curb was because her snobby parents bailed her out.
Are "no pet" or "breed restriction" policies really for the benefit of other tenants? Or do they just benefit the owner of the apartments' bottom line? In a majority renter city, by declaring "no pet" buildings, aren't we just dictating to others how we think they should be able to live? Should renters be punished for not being able to buy their own pet friendly space to live?
I have never seen a loose animal on a commercial plane. If I did and your property started annoying me, who has been cooped up in a tin can for hours, I will tell you, unequivocally, control your anilmal or I will kill it with my hands while you watch. For my own emotional support caused by your selfish stupidity.
@15. Don't be stupid. It doesn't matter why. You are on someone else's property, you follow the rules or find somewhere else more receptive to your problems.
Unless the person is diagnosed by a Psychiatrist or Psychologist, it ain't gonna happen . A GP is not qualified to make decisions like that. https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-…

And, according to this Emotional Support dogs aren't covered under state law. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/…

Read the ACTUAL WA State Disability law. I just read the law from the state website. "effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks." Therefore are not considered Service Animals.

WA State Disability Act: Unfair practice to aid violation: It is an unfair practice for any person to aid, abet, encourage, or incite the commission of any unfair practice, or to attempt to obstruct or prevent any other person from complying with the provisions of this chapter or any order issued thereunder.

Which is what you want to do, Is to use false pretenses to get the dog in. But, both WA State and the U.S. ADA law do not recognize "Emotional Support" animals.

From the ADA site: Q. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA? A. No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.
I have an emotional support animal. So I feel like the people should put themselves in our shoes. Then decide how they would feel. If you have allergies you will issues in public because many people own animals. Are wanting to tell pe0ople don't go out in public if you have an animal at home? Goodluck with that.
Preach, brother (or sister)!

And don't get me started on the 95% of cars parked on the streets downtown in my town with the handicapped placards. Yes, some of those healthy-looking people getting in and out of those cars could have some non-obvious handicap, but for the 80% or so who are just scamming the system for free parking because they've got a dishonest doctor, FUUUUUCK you!
@1, I bet anonymous is pretty glad not to be your therapist, just like the rest of us are happy not to be your neighbor or to have to share a plane or train with you. But you just go on being completely selfish and inconsiderate. I'm sure you're the only one who ever experiences any stress in life.
@19, Nice try at rationalization. I notice that you don't identify your severe emotional disability that means that you should be allowed to harm others' health, but, no, being around humans who have animals at home really isn't equivalent to being exposed directly to the allergen-producing animal, or even sitting in a seat previously occupied by your dog/cat/whatever.

Congratulations. You are the problem the rest of us are talking about.
"Emotional support turkey" - in my home, we call this a "husband".

Delta reading our minds. Check out the hundreds of comments.
@16 inquiastador: Comments like yours are why I will never travel with a pet. Ever.
I once witnessed the frightened confusion of someone's loose pet on board a commercial flight when I was 8 years old and returning with my family from Los Angeles back to SeaTac International Airport after a Christmas vacation trip to Disneyland. Someone's Siamese cat had gotten out of its carrier and was frantically running around inside the cabin, meowing, and scared as hell. Obviously, kitty's human had some serious explaining when they got home.
@24 KatharineC: Thank you for the LOL----I needed it.
@11 there are two kinds of support animals. Emo animals don't have to have any training or skills, they aren't allowed everywhere though although govt housing is required to admit them even in non pet buildings, w a Drs note. If you requested as service animal, you need to be disabled, officially, and it's just like a seeing eye dog - goes everywhere, no one can question, is trained to perform at least one task. You can train it. Only dogs and mini horses are technically allowed everywhere but you can sue re other species if they perform a task. Also your shrink is shit, but that's irrelevant to the question. Most legit shrinks don't ever get asked this in their careers because 1) psych service dogs are vanishingly rare 2) emo dogs are an online scam, get a cc, charge it up, and get a fake certificate from an online "therapist" like everyone else.
@12 emo support animals are allowed to attack people, it's not disqualifying at all.
@15 yes, if the building doesn't have excellent soundproofing, a dog next door that, for example, barks uncontrollably, is in fact a problem for other tenants.
@19 totally fine with it if your animal is silent/doesn't attack people. Dogs are a terrible choice for those two reasons, other species are better suited. Unfortunately you can reasonably conclude the only reason these rules are so heavily and successfully abused by people faking mental illness is because the dog lovers lobby is so much stronger than the mental illness/disability lobby. If people weren't using dogs for this no one would be faking.
@19 what's your reaction to this?

@23 is it not 100% likely that someone who, for example, has an emotional support duck that they need to take with them everywhere, that regardless of the presence of the animal the human would be absolutely bathed in allergens 24-7 anyhow? The allergy argument gets you nowhere. The lying about being disabled argument is more salient and far more egregious.
YESSSSS! Trained service animals provide an amazing service to their owners, but the training they have is extensive--because they're a service animal, they're there to work. People are purposely confusing service animals with "support animals" and it resulting in untrained, uncontrolled animals being places they really shouldn't be and causing harm to other people. It's bullshit. It needs to get shut down.
When people lie and take advantage of things put in place to help people with disabilities, everyone loses. There are people who are allergic to animals and your fake therapy pet harms them. Then when people get caught lying and taking advantage, people with true disabilities,who need trained assistance animals (like the blind who need guide dogs), the disabled suffer for the selfishness and entitlement of able bodied people.

As a disabled person, our current administration has already gutted protections for the disabled and will continue to do so. Assholes who pretend they need their pet on board to calm their nerves under the guise of their pet being a therapy animal are no better than people who park in handicapped parking spots "for just a minute," use handicapped bathroom stalls for their brood of children or because they want more space to take a big shit, who commit insurance and/or workers' compensation fraud claiming they have injuries and can't work while they go golfing or go shopping or whatever it is they do, etc.

I am really sick of the self-absorbed and entitled causing harm to the most vulnerable in this world. It's no different than "pro-life" politicians gutting funding for health care for children, starving people by ending food stamps, allowing people to be homeless, jobless, sick, disabled, elderly > without income or health care, etc. ENOUGH BULLSHIT.

The list of 25 guidance documents that DOJ has withdrawn in 2017 is as follows:

ATF Procedure 75-4.
Industry Circular 75-10.
ATF Ruling 85-3.
Industry Circular 85-3.
ATF Ruling 2001-1.
ATF Ruling 2004-1.
Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative Guidelines (2013).
Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Guidelines (2013).
Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants Program Guidance Manual (2007).
Advisory for Recipients of Financial Assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice on Levying Fines and Fees on Juveniles (January 2017).
Dear Colleague Letter on Enforcement of Fines and Fees (March 2016).
ADA Myths and Facts (1995).
Common ADA Problems at Newly Constructed Lodging Facilities (November 1999).
Title II Highlights (last updated 2008).
Title III Highlights (last updated 2008).
Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business (July 1996).
ADA Business Brief: Service Animals (April 2002).
Prior Joint Statement of the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Group Homes, Local Land Use, and the Fair Housing Act (August 18, 1999).
Letter to Alain Baudry, Esq., with standards for conducting internal audit in a non-discriminatory fashion (December 4, 2009).
Letter to Esmeralda Zendejas on how to determine whether lawful permanent residents are protected against citizenship status discrimination (May 30, 2012).
Common ADA Errors and Omissions in New Construction and Alterations (June 1997).
Common Questions: Readily Achievable Barrier Removal and Design Details: Van Accessible Parking Spaces (August 1996).
Website guidance on bailing-out procedures under section 4(b) and section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (2004).
Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers (May 2002).
Statement of the Department of Justice on Application of the Integration Mandate of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. to State and Local Governments' Employment Service Systems for Individuals with Disabilities (October 31, 2016).
@33 the problem currently is that almost no one trains psych service animals professionally, those that do specialize in PTSD and most dogs go to veterans. It costs about $40,000/dog to train them and their service life is very short (hence interest in mini equids, you get a couple more decades out of them). As a result you have emo service dogs filling that gap. Also, you can have a dog that isn't really trained all that much, well, or professionally and still have it be a service dog - a teacup poodle that barks as a pre seizure warning dog doesn't have to do anything but that, for example. There is a question as to whether or not you should have to be considered disabled - but an epileptic or diabetic with a detection dog doesn't have to be disabled to have a service dog, so...
@35. Where did you go to law school or get your science training? PTSD dogs unless they do something based upon training, are emotional support animals. And unlike blindness, PTSD can be treated. See: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment…

As to evidence that dogs can detect seizures or blood levels of glucose, there is none. By this I refer to scientifically credible, double blind studies. See:
I look forward to a court case where a person says no and hell no to a fake service dog who is alleged to address any of the above three, and it get into a court where a judge will look at the actual evidence rather than lame claims of unproven attributes. Imposing a burden on others in work, stores and dare I say housing and airplanes should have a higher threshold than the wishes of the dog owner. As the writer says, all pets are emotional support animals but few actually are trained to perform a service. The ignorance that abounds about the topic astounds.

More than planes, it really frosts me on a crowded bus ride home at the end of the day. Last week we're jammed in as tight as humanly possible with two large wet dogs pushing up and down in between legs sniffing crotches and being a pain while the owners just rocked out blindly in their headphones. I don't understand why I have to sit for an hour next to your wet stinky dog licking me.
@26 Thank you. Thank you very much. If it doesn't fit in a luggage compartment, it needs to be in the hull with everyone else's property.
"Bad humans, Fifi. Mean to Mommy..."
I'm tired of dogs in the grocery store. I even saw a guy holding a rat in the grocery store. Enough already.
@Steed: Agreed. And if they're not growling and snapping viciously or sniffing lustily, like there's a human leg they'd just luuuuuuv to hump, they piss and shit everywhere.
@18 thank you! @19- STFU.

I once sat on a three hour flight next to a woman holding her tiny rat dog. The dog disgustingly licked my hand/arm repeatedly (I really had no way of getting it away) and the woman never said a word to me.
There are people who legitimately require the help. You don't say, anonymous, if you are this person's actual professional or not - I hope you are not.
Your reasons for being against it are specious and stupid. Yes, some people just want to abuse the system - that's true of any system. But there are people who legitimately need the help.
If the animal is trained to be of service, its owner deserves better from you.
It's not that hard to ask what training the animal has and how that specifically helps. If it has no training, it's easy enough for that to be the very legitimate reason not to approve the help.
This here? if this is part of your professional practice and this is an ongoing patient of yours, you may have just been a real asshole, and ableist scum. If so, it might be time to examine your biases or consider a field of work that doesn't so deeply affect vulnerable people.
To the commenters clutching their pearls and fussing about how their life is impacted by other people having mental illness - I don't care. An untrained animal is one thing, being a selfish ass about all emotional support animals is awful. Oh, we can't have dogs because we need to have an animal you feel is humiliating for us or some stupid thing? no. A trained animal is the way to go. You train a snake to provide emotional support and act appropriately in public, well, there's your first million. Til then maybe stop being an ass to disabled and mentally ill people.
What really upsets me is when some brings their untrained "emotional support animal" everywhere like Linus & his blanket and then said untrained animal attacks a true service animal.
#44 Agree. We need animals and we need people in our lives. Both. Its love. Its in very short supply - love. -
@44 You're defending something that doesn't exist. There's a distinct difference between a psychiatric service dog that is trained to perform specific tasks, and an emotional support animal which is not even a recognized concept under most statutes.

@46 There is no love to be lost in someone who puts their vanity before the needs and rights of people with actual disabilities, and the health and comfort of other people in general.
One hand I know most "emotional support animals" are just people's pets, but on the other hand accidental deaths in the airplane hold are not unheard of. If I had to fly, I would be tempted to buy Mr Fluffy his own seat and slap a "support animal" label on him too.