February 6, 2019

Weekly ESA News Report February 6th: New Utah Bill to Make Misrepresenting ESAs a Class C Misdemeanor

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dog reading the newspaperUtah is laying down the law about emotional support animals (ESAs). After countless incidents involving the misrepresentation of pets as emotional support animals, the need for this law comes as no surprise!

Read on to learn more about this new bill, and what CertaPet has to say about it!

New Utah Bill to Make Misrepresenting a Pet as an ESA a Class C Misdemeanor

A new bill passed the Utah House of Representatives last Monday. This bill, HB43, is aimed at people who are caught misrepresenting their pets as ESAs. With the influx of ESAs into rented accommodations and on flights, there have been countless cases of people either lying to their licensed mental health professionals (LMHPs) about needing an ESA, or lying about their pet’s ESA status to get them a free ticket on a flight!

“It’s becoming a problem, I’ve heard a lot from service animal owners that the people with emotional support animals are kind of damaging their brand, because more and more people are saying, ‘I qualify for an emotional support animal, you need to rent housing to me,’ when they do not,” Dunnigan said.

The bill, proposed by Jim Dunnigan clarifies the differences in service animals and emotional support animals. One key difference is that while it is a criminal offense to misrepresent a pet as a service animal, no such law exists for the misrepresentation of ESAs.

Under the new law, a person caught lying to their LMHPs about needing an ESA, or misrepresenting a pet as an ESA to landlords or airlines could be slapped with a class c misdemeanor.

emotional support dog sitting at heel next to owner

CertaPet’s Thoughts on Utah’s New Bill on ESAs

The sole purpose of emotional support animals is to negate the symptoms of people with genuine disabilities. The symptoms of mental illnesses or conditions can have a massive impact on an individual’s quality of life. There are people who truly need an ESA, and it is to these people that CertaPet caters.

Anyone misrepresenting their pet as an ESA, or lying about their need to have one not only gives emotional support animals a bad reputation but also puts a nasty cloud of doubt over people who really need one.

There is nothing worse than being in a really bad place with very limited capacity and then having to take on a nearly impossible process of getting the support you need.

CertaPet’s process of getting an ESA letter is simple so that those who need one can do so in a practical, efficient and effortless way. All you need to do to get an ESA letter through CertaPet is take a free online 5-minute pre-screening. If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a LMHP in your state and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs.

If you believe you need an ESA, don’t be intimidated by the negative words out there about ESAs and their owners. It is your legal right as a person with a disability to have access to an ESA!

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