ESA Weekly News February 19th: One-Year Anniversary of Walmart’s ESA Ban and Meet Bella the ESA Bulldog!

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cute emotional support animal pug reading esa weekly news paper

We’re well into February and the emotional support animal news keeps rolling in. Today, we’ll look at Walmart’s ban on emotional support dogs and cats. We’ll also introduce you to Bella the Belle—a new ESA helping emergency dispatchers cope with anxiety and stress. Start your week right by getting caught up with us!

Walmart’s Ban on ESAs Turns One Year Old

In January 2019, Walmart announced it would no longer accept emotional support animals in any of its stores. Up to that point, the retail chain had been unclear about its policy on assistance animals. According to a spokesperson, adding “No Pets Allowed” signs to most stores cleared up any questions ESA owners might have had.

Some people took to online forums to express their satisfaction at Walmart’s stance. Unpleasant stories involving badly behaved pets and ESAs are not hard to find in these forums.

These accounts contributed to the outright ban on non-service animals in Walmarts all over the country. Over the past years, many customers have passed off their pets as service or emotional support animals. As a result, retailers started pushing back, being more strict about what animals are allowed in their stores.

Since then, the ban has stayed in place. There are fewer sour stories circulating Twitter and other websites regarding ESAs and retailers. Walmart complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allowing legitimate service animals into its stores. Every other furry friend has to wait outside.

two stylish emotional support dogs with shopping bags

Meet Bella, Texas’s Latest “Emotional Support” Dog

Dispatchers in the City of Webster, Texas, have a stressful job. Every day, they answer hundreds of calls as quickly as they can. Step into the dispatch center and you’ll hear phones ringing constantly. Day in and day out, dispatchers are faced with heartbreaking situations.

This is where Bella comes in. Officers found her abandoned by the side of the road after her owner ran away from a crash scene. They took her to the dispatch center after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in the community. Officers were overwhelmed and dealing with anxiety problems.

Now, Bella is well-loved and well-taken care of. There are dog beds placed next to the dispatchers’ desks so Bella can choose where to hang out. Since she is a deaf Bulldog, the ringing of phones doesn’t bother her. The Assistant Chief of Police told the Houston Chronicle that Bella’s presence has improved worker’s spirits and morale.

adorable english bulldog in snow


CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We welcomed Walmart’s ban on non-service animals last year, and we still welcome it today. There have been several bad incidents with customers and unruly pets and ESAs. We believe it’s for the best that only trained, well-behaved service animals can walk into the stores.

Our heart also goes out to the dispatchers of the City of Webster. Workplace anxiety is a serious problem among emergency dispatchers. We’re glad to know Bella is spreading happiness through the dispatch center. Having a well-behaved animal around is always a great idea!

If you also struggle with mental health problems, you can get an emotional support animal. It’ll help you live your day-to-day life healthily and more happily. Start by taking our 5-minute pre-screening test for free. We’ll put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in your state who will issue your ESA letter if you qualify for one.

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