CA Dog Owners Can Go to Jail for ThisReading Time: 2 minutes
Your dog is your best friend, confidant, help mate, travel companion and roommate. But don’t let them AND you be the reason pet owners in California and elsewhere come under fire for knowingly breaking the law and losing their legitimate privileges for having Service Animals.
If you’re a dog owner or trainer in California (and elsewhere), you need to be aware of Service Animal laws. Making false claims about your Service Animal can get you and the rest of us in hot water and ruin the rights we have.
It’s also considered a misdemeanor crime!!
Those of us who have our official paperwork in line regarding Service, Therapy and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) ownership are covered, so don’t mess it up for us by committing fraud or concocting misleading claims.
So what’s the harm in going online and buying a fake vest for your dog so that you can take him into stores with you? First of all, IT’S WRONG!! You can get caught and fined. It’s not worth the price of a phony vest–and it jeopardizes the work that legitimate service animals do by giving them and the people who depend on them a bad rap.
Play fair—you could be jailed and fined and make it bad for the rest of us.
The Differences between Service, Therapy and Emotional Support Animals
There are clear distinctions between Service Dogs, Therapy and Emotional Support Animals.
1. Service Dogs/Service Animals are specially trained to aid their owner(s) in performing tasks the owner simply cannot do to live independently. This could be anything from fetching items from the refrigerator to barking to indicate the phone is ringing. In some cases, they may be called on to save their owner’s life.
2. Therapy Animals may not receive specific training, but they are evaluated and registered by a special agency and provide emotional and therapeutic value to persons in need.
3. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) may not have special training, but may provide emotional support to persons diagnosed with a mental or emotional disability.
Service Animals in particular are legally protected in terms of access to public venues.
Here are some legal references regarding these animals:
https://www.dor.ca.gov/DisabilityAccessInfo/DAS-Docs/SERVICE-ANIMAL-LAWS.pdfMakes falsely claiming an animal to be a service animal a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for six month or a fine up to $1000 or both. Cal. Penal Code § 365.7 (1994), Cal. Food & Agriculture Code § 30850(b) (2004)
Benefits of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
The majority of us will never even approach a need for a Service or Therapy Animal. But we could need our pets for emotional and therapeutic support. To date that’s been a difficult task to accomplish.
How many times have you heard of friends and/or family members having to give up their pets because of their housing situation? I know…I was in this bind. You can protect yourself from this tragic, yet common, scenario by registering your pet as an ESA. Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998, you will qualify for no-pet housing, including housing that limits your pet’s size or breed. Additionally, you can’t be charged a pet fee.
Get ready to say goodbye to pet deposits and pet rent because they will be a thing of the past.
Now I’m not limited in my travel plans or fearful of being “bumped” at the last minute. If you’re like the vast majority of people, you might find yourself on a flight from time to time. It might even involve traveling to a loved one’s funeral. Unfortunately, airlines have made it very difficult for pet owners to fly with their pets by either charging outrageous pet fees or disallowing pet travel altogether.
Under The Air Carrier Access Act, you will be able to fly with your pet in the cabin with NO fee. That is an additional $90 – $300 (each way) that you will be able to avoid when flying with your fur baby!
Do I Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?
To enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, all you need is an official letter written by a licensed mental health professional, such as a Psychiatrist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or Psychologist.
So long as you pass our screening, based on questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), you can get a prescription for an emotional support animal.
Unlike most other places you can get an ESA letter online, ours meets all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, other emotional support animal laws and is 100% HIPAA compliant.
An ESA letter from CertaPet provides:
• Recognition that you are a patient under doctor’s care for treatment of a mental or emotional disability.
• Verification that you are significantly limited, in one major activity or more, by a disability, such as depression or a related symptom, like headaches.
• Prescription of an emotional support animal as a necessary treatment for your mental health.
To get your ESA letter online, all you need to do is take a free 5-minute screening which will determine your eligibility.
This brief questionnaire is completely confidential and only takes a few minutes to complete.
Find out if you qualify by clicking below:
If everything is a “GO,” you may be opening a whole new, positive chapter for you and your furry companion!!
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