In the world of emotional support animals, a vote by the Calgary city council in Canada now will change pet bylaws, meaning owners will soon be able to use livestock as emotional support animals, legally, going into effect at the beginning of 2019.
The move by the council came as the number of residents seeking recognition of emotional support animals increases.
Change in Calgary Bylaws Allow Livestock as Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals help many as part of therapy to support mental health issues, with the majority of patients choosing to keep a cat or a dog in order to assist them with these.
However, a small minority of owners prefer keeping livestock animals to support them. We’re not talking about large or exotic livestock here, such as bison or llamas. But chickens, hens, pigs, and miniature horses.
The amendments to the bylaws come as a move from the Calgary council to ensure mental health treatment is improved in the city as part of a commitment to improving community standards. The amendments were developed through consultation with a number of respected bodies in the mental health sector, such as Alberta Health Services, the Calgary Humane Society, Alberta Farm Animal Care, and several other mental health organizations.
However, the emotional support animal laws in America are a bit different when it comes to animal restrictions and which are covered under the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act.
“These bylaw amendments were developed to balance the rights of people in need of emotional support animals with those of other Calgarians,” says Jennifer Lawlor, business strategist for Calgary Community Standards. “We believe these amendments are an opportunity for Council to support mental health in Calgary.”
The new laws will allow those who use livestock animals as emotional support animals to apply for permits to keep the animals in their homes legally. The permits will only be available to those that have a verified emotional support animal as part of their therapy program from a licensed mental health professional.
The updated laws will see the new permit process introduced in early 2019. Wildlife and exotic animals are still not permitted as ESAs under the new law.
CertaPet’s Views on This New ESA Change in Calgary
While CertaPet doesn’t necessarily agree that livestock should be emotional support animals, in the U.S. apartments and airport that is, we do agree that Calgary is making an effort of supporting its citizens that need the assistance of an ESA.
Remember that in the U.S. your choice of emotional support animals is largely dependent on airline policy and the laws of your area. Many airlines’ policies stipulate that only dogs and cats qualify as ESAs, and most urban areas do not allow livestock to be kept in a residential property. This is for the safety of the owners, the pet, and the ones surrounded.
An emotional support animal can provide comfort and companionship to anyone suffering from mental illness or other conditions. If you think an ESA might help you, take our simple free 5-min pre-screening to see if you qualify. If you do, we will put you touch with a licensed mental health professional who can help you get your ESA letter in as little as 48hrs!
Do note: our licensed mental health professionals will only write letters for cats, dogs, and sometimes rabbits. All other animals will not receive documentation.