(Editor’s note: BEST is pleased to announce that junior reporter and guest blogger, Roxane E., is back with a report on service animals. These animals are superheroes in our book!).
Aside from a few exceptions, dogs and miniature horses are the only
animals allowed to be service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may be wondering about the other animals you may have heard about. The reason why they were not mentioned is that they were most likely not actually service animals.
There are two different types of animals that serve different purposes. The
most common one is a service animal. A service animal is an animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks to the benefit of the individual. They are most often used by people with mobility issues, visual impairment, hearing impairment, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Click here for the more detailed information about service animals.
The other type, the one not limited to dogs and miniature horses, is an emotional support animal. An emotional support animal provides comfort and support to people with anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Both are allowed anywhere their owner goes and are protected under federal laws.
The ADA does not require service animals to be professionally trained, so if you have an animal that you think qualifies to be a service animal, you can register them online. However, if you get the documents online, they do not convey certain rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proper service animals.
On the other hand if you have one of the disabilities that I listed above and
feel like you need a service dog, you can apply for one at one of these two sites: www.domesti-pups.org (specializes in kids) or www.guidedogs.org (for people with vision loss or PTSD).
Roxane E. is a local student, BEST volunteer and an aspiring writer.