A Therapy Dog is trained to provide comfort and affection to people (other than the owner). These people can be in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, mental facilities, incarcerated, stressful situations (like Hurricane Katrina), etc.
Therapy dogs do not provide direct assistance to their owners, nor do they have legal rights to access public areas or travel everywhere. Additionally, the American Disabilities Act does not apply to Therapy Dogs.
The job of a Therapy Dog is to make physical contact with people, allowing them to feel comforted by the physical experience.
Several of our clients have Therapy Dogs and the use of these dogs is endless. These dogs visit Senior Homes, Hospice Facilities and Schools. Our client’s Therapy Dogs are used in counseling, psychiatry sessions and work with children with Autism, Dyslexia and Anxiety.
SERVICE AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS
A Service Dog and Emotional Support Dog are therapeutic to its disabled owner. Because they are specifically trained to directly help their handler, Service/Emotional Support Dogs have the legal right to go everywhere and live in housing even when pets ARE NOT allowed or specific breeds are not allowed.
According to the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord’s policy explicitly prohibits pets. Because emotional support and service animals are not “pets,” but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will generally require the landlord to make an exception to its “no pet” policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling. In most housing complexes, so long as the tenant has a letter or prescription from an appropriate professional, such as a therapist or physician, and meets the definition of a person with a disability, he or she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would allow an emotional support animal in the apartment.*
*Information found on http://www.servicedogtags.com/emotional_support_animals.htm
Additionally, a landlord CAN NOT ask about your physical or emotional disability as they must treat all perspective tenants the same! So, if asked, you DO NOT need to disclose your need for a Service or Emotional Support Dog.
The ADA or American Disabilities Act protects people with all types of disabilities and does not limit the type of disability where a service dog can be used. If you have a condition which makes it difficult to perform, or limits your function in life activities (where other people don’t have difficulty), you may qualify. You DO NOT need to have a doctor’s excuse or formal diagnosis and you may train your own service animal.
To get the actual definitions for ADA Qualified Disabilities visit http://www.nsarco.com/listofdisabilities.html#defs , contact your state Attorney General’s Office or visit www.ADA.gov.
Many people think that a “disability” only applies to people that are physically disabled, but this isn’t the case as many disabilities can’t be seen. For example, one of our clients has Epilepsy and his Pit Bull warns him when a seizure is about to occur. Several of our clients have mild depression or feel emotionally overwhelmed and these feelings are alleviated by their Emotional Support Dogs.
Below is a partial list of both Physical Problems and Emotional/Mental Problems that are qualified disabilities that may entitle you to need a Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog**.
Asthma (or other breathing problems)
Blindness (& partial blindness)
Deafness (& partial deafness)
General Hearing Difficulty
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Any Psychiatric Condition (check website for exclusion)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
**List found on http://www.nsarco.com/listofdisabilities.html
HELPFUL SERVICE DOG AND EMMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOG WEBSITES
If you are looking for service identification tags, service collars, service dog harnesses, service capes, service vests, mobility harnesses, seeing-eye dog harnesses, collar bags, gripper lines and much more, check out http://bluecollarworkingdog.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=164 . Blue Collar Working Dog is located at 1533 Echo Park Ave. in Los Angeles 90026, but you can call them at 213-977-9042 and place an order over the phone. This store is AWESOME especially if you have a Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Akita, Mastiff, American Bull Dog or any other large breed.
Einhorn Insurance also found NSAR, National Service Animal Registry http://www.nsarco.com/index.html . This is a website where you can register your dog as a Service Animal and Emotional Support Animal. NSAR allows you to purchase a Service Animal Registration Kit where you’ll get Identification Cards, a certificate, a Service Animal patch, and they officially register your dog on the NSAR database as a Service Animal. This is ideal if you are looking for a place to rent with a no pet or limited pet policy and a landlord needs to confirm your dog truly is a service animal.
Einhorn Insurance hopes you found this information helpful and please remember, violators of the ADA can be required to pay money damages and face penalties.
We also provide liability insurance for Therapy Dogs when coverage is required by a school, hospital or public/private entity.