ESA Weekly News Report End of March: Home Industry Groups Demand Crack Down on ESA Fraud and More!

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emotional support animal in apartment with esa ownerThis week, emotional support animal (ESA) laws are under scrutiny and in danger of changing yet again. Plus, things are getting a little strange in the world of emotional support animals. Housing associations are putting pressure on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and, robots are entering the ESA space and providing adorable or unnerving results—depending on your point of view! Stay with us for an update in the latest ESA news.

Housing Industry Groups Request Crack Down on Emotional Support Animal Fraud

Emotional support animals are one of the newest and most popular therapy aids in recent years. But they haven’t been without controversy. Recently, there has been extra pressure placed on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from various housing groups to address ESA fraud. Some associations say that there are some exploiting protective measures that federal laws provide.

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), those who are prescribed an ESA for health reasons are able to live in any accommodation with their animal. This is regardless of landlord specific housing regulations. But some associations and landlords say that a small number of individuals are exploiting the law, by falsely obtaining ESA papers.

Anna Maria Farías, the federal assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD, said that the department has prioritized cracking down on alleged emotional support animal fraud recently. HUD has been working on new administrative guidance on emotional support animals.

This would take the form of a document laying out the agency’s expectations for how the law should be interpreted and applied. Federal guidance does not carry the same legal power as laws or regulations. But, in this case, it would send a strong sign to landlords and tenants that the federal government is serious about enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

emotional support animal standing on balcony of rented apartment

Robot Dogs Are Here—And They’re Ready to Emotionally Support You (If You’re Game!) 

Cute or creepy? You be the judge of that. New advances in technology have brought great leaps and bounds in many areas, and mental health therapies have not been left behind. The newest creation to show great promise in treating patients is a robotic emotional support dog, currently in the funding stage on Kickstarter.

The robotic dog known as ‘Tombot’ is targeted toward seniors, dementia sufferers and those who are unable to keep a dog for a range of reasons.

Resembling a Labrador Retriever, and developed in collaboration with the Jim Henson puppet studio, the robotic dog features lifelike expressions, barks, wags, and responds to touch. While it may not be for everyone, for those who could benefit from the company of a pet and cannot keep one for any reason it is an exciting development.
image of robotic emotional support dog

CertaPet’s 2c on This Week’s News

CertaPet’s goal is to make the process of getting an emotional support letter easier for people who really need one. We are more aware of most how people abuse the system and misrepresent assistance animals. Anyone going about getting an ESA letter in a fraudulent manner is taking away from people with real disabilities who rely on their ESAs to improve their quality of life.

If you’re thinking of getting a real live ESA, there’s no more convenient option than CertaPet’s simple process. It’s so easy to take our free online 5-minute pre-screening, and if your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). You could then have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs, with no fuss!

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