With the recent passage of legislation in Illinois and upcoming changes in Federal law, the online emotional support animal business should finally benefit from the long overdue tightening of the rules governing the industry.
“Twenty-two dollar documents, deceitful business practices, unlicensed and unethical therapists. All sorts of bogus gizmos for sale. ESAs magically morphing into service animals. Fraud to the left, fraud to the right, no wonder Uncle Sam is sending the cavalry. About time.” said Stevens.
“The market space is ripe for exploitation,” noted Stevens. “It’s become quite obvious someone like me in the industry with a financial interest needs to critique the problems that, in theory, could make my organization a lot more money if we was merely advocating for the status quo. Quite simply, the changes we seek may damage our company’s bottom line, perhaps even put us out of business. Things need to change, and hopefully ESAD’s forward-thinking will land us in the right spot. It’s a big gamble, no doubt.”
ESAD Int’l proposes the mental health professional:
- Can no longer charge a fee for providing a written verification for a person’s disability and need for an emotional support animal while providing no additional service to the client.
- Must have previous work-experience with human-animal bond counseling.
- Must have completed specialized human-animal bond training.
- Must have professional knowledge of the client’s condition adequate to provide a reliable verification.
- Must be able to understand, recognize, and apply the laws governing emotional support animals.
- Should consider if the animal is capable of performing the duties of an emotional support animal.
- Should evaluate the human-animal intervention, assessing for the demonstrably beneficial effect on the client.
- Should evaluate for malingering.
- Must consider the inherent risks to themselves, animal, and client, as well as the public.
Other ESAD Int’l proposed requirements:
- Emotional support animals must meet current state, local, and federal laws and policies regarding vaccinations and county licensing/registration.
- Certificates, identification cards, vests, and tags as proof of an animal’s designation as an emotional support animal must be considered fraudulent.
- Online “registration” and “certification” documentation must be considered fraudulent.
ESAD Int’l Interational also is pleased to announce ESABest™, a product focused on mental health care and aligned with the latest professional ethics, standards of practice, and the law.
About Chaz Stevens
Chaz Stevens is an American entrepreneur and constitutional activist. He is the Director of People / Chief Dog Lover of ESAD Int’l..
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An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act.
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An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act. An emotional support animal is not a pet. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.
New HUD Guidelines.
HUD's new rules are an update to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) that sought to equalize the ability of people with disabilities to enjoy housing. Under the law, housing providers had to exempt those with disabilities from “no pet” rules and pet fees. But some of the gaps in the rules have been abused by those simply trying to bypass pet rules and fees. Others who are providing the letters have exploited uneducated consumers To comply, Housing Pro 2020 provides multiple clinical sessions between client and an in-state licensed provider.
Therapeutic Relationship Required.
Documentation submitted in support of an assistance animal request must come from a person who has a “therapeutic relationship” with the resident seeking the accommodation. A therapeutic relationship is “the provision of medical care, program care, or personal care services, in good faith, for and with actual knowledge of, an individual’s disability and that individual's disability-related need for an assistance animal by:
- a physician or other medical professional;
- a mental health service provider; or
- a non-medical service agency or reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual's disability.”
Because a therapeutic relationship requires that care services be provided, in good faith, for an individual’s disability, documentation submitted on the basis of a single visit to a health care provider solely to obtain a “doctor’s note” will generally not be legally sufficient.
Emotional support animal letter for travel.
An emotional support animal provides comfort to support a customer’s diagnosed mental or emotional disorder. Emotional support animals need not have specific training for that function. All must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. Acceptable ESAD Int'l emotional support animals are limited to dogs and cats. Your animal must behave appropriately in a public environment. If your 10-pound Chihuahua acts like Cujo, running around the airport on attack mode, the "best ESA letter in the world" won't matter. To qualify, an individual must have a health professional verify:
- A mental health-related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV).
- A need for the emotional support or psychiatric service animal to remedy the disability’s effects during air travel and activity at your destination
The passenger/client must be currently under the care and treatment of a licensed professional. To comply, Travel Pro 2020 provides a clinical session between client and an in-state licensed provider. Read: ESAD Int'l's service dog fraud policy.
Learn more about qualifying for an assistance animal.
Chaz Stevens is an entrepreneur, former journalist, and well-known activist who has appeared on the front pages of Time, Miami Herald, Guardian, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He’s also appeared on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Fox News.
Chaz lives in South Florida with his two rescue dogs. Before launching ESAD International, he could be found working on IT for IBM, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney World Company. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — helping people get to a better place.