A new Michigan House bill would punish people who lie about having emotional support animals.
Per House Bill 4910, a person would receive a misdemeanor for having a fake support animal. Punishment includes up to a $500 fine, up to 90 days in jail and community service.
The bill would also require that the person who receives an emotional support animal must have a disability and have been treated by a health care provider for at least the prior six months.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform.
Like Illinois’ recent passage of the Animal Assistance Integrity Act, ESAD strongly supports Michigan’s effort to crack down on the ESA wild-west mentality found within the ESA marketplace.
According to our clinical team, there’s an issue with the state’s stipulation of a six-month clinical relationship.
Per our team, “therapeutically, if we take an ESA from a person for six months or two months or whatever, we are increasing the risk of decompensation of the client’s mental health, which puts them at risk for more drastic coping, such as suicidal ideation, intent, plan, etc. or increase in alcohol / drug use, overdose, etc.”
Continuing, “for some people, the ESA is the main reason for getting up in the morning. Taking this away puts them at risk for further deterioration where they may become a greater risk of harm to self or others.”
The emotional bond that pets can provide can make a real difference in the lives of individuals suffering from depression and anxiety.
The World Health Organization has reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year olds globally.
Pet parents will testify to the fact that when going through a difficult time their dog is the one to pick-up on their emotions and provide unconditional love and comfort, when humans sometimes just can’t.
Research has shown that pets can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression and has even revealed that people with pets are happier, with improvements in self-esteem and improving social skills.