Meowllo and welcome to another miserable Monday. It’s time fur another educational Service Cat posty. As always, it will be written in human English. Our blog is not a training manual. Any training tips or stories are not meant to be complete, but rather a starting point; as propurr training takes time and is repetitive. Me wants to thank you all fur your questions and comments on our postys. We were asked ‘bout claw clippin’ a squirmy kitty last week. But it wasn’t da furst time we’s been asked dat, so we’re workin’ on a video tutorial fur dat. You know at da end of da day, we are still cats and have to have our claws clipped just like da rest of ya’; and we’re not so crazy ‘bout it. Mommy’s never hurt us, but still…So we decided a video would be da bestest way to ‘splain how to do it, so stay tuned fur dat. As ya’ know, there’s only one mommy, so these things take time. Ifin you have missed any of da postys in this series, you can get caught up by clickin’ da links below. Some of you have also asked about previous training posts. You can use the search feature on our sidebar to read previous posts. Keywords such as Dezi, wheelchair, phone, etc. will bring some of these up.
Well let’s get started. After last weeks post, we were talking with our friends from Bad Cat Chris about some of the laws that pertain to Service Animals and housing and such. His wife works in the housing/apartment business and is often coming in contact with those “fakers” we’ve talked about. You know, those people who call their pets Service Animals to avoid paying pet deposits/fees or so they can take their pet somewhere pets aren’t normally allowed (ie: stores, restaurants, grocery’s, etc.). You might recall, that every week, we plead with the public to NOT call their pets Service Animals unless they fit the literal description the ADA puts forth; an animal that is individually trained to perform tasks for a disabled person. Fetch, shake, roll over, etc. are not considered Service Animal training.
Your question is probably, “how do these people get away with lying about their pets?” The answer is, Easy. Unfortunately, Certification, is not required by law but rather is voluntary. Because of this there are lots of places that certify animals for a price. Certification really means nothing under the current laws. Per the rules, no one is allowed to ask someone to prove their animal is indeed a Service Animal. The only question that can be posed to a disabled person about their Service Animal is: “What task(s) does this animal perform for you that makes it necessary?” You cannot ask what a person’s disability is or require proof of any kind.
In recent years Companion Animals (CA) have become extremely popular. Remember, a Companion Animal is merely a pet. These animals may also go by the title of Emotional Support Animals (ESA). This means that the very presence of the animal has a positive influence on a person suffering from depression, panic attacks, etc.. A Companion Animal has no specific training and IS NOT a Service Animal. There is no certification or training required for an animal to be considered a Companion/Emotional Support Animal. As a result of studies that prove animals have a positive influence on their owners health, Companion Animals/Emotional Support Animals have gained acceptance and some rights under housing laws. Unfortunately a lot of people take advantage of this, and often try to pass off their CA/ESA as a Service Animal.
Landlords may require a note or letter from a medical professional stating that the animal in question is there to provide emotional support for a person. The animal must still meet the requirements a landlord sets forth in their pet policy. A typical apartment pet policy requires animals be 35 pounds or under, current on all vaccines required by law, well behaved and not a nuisance to neighbors. A landlord may ban pets/CA/ESA from certain areas of the property. Companion Animals/ ESA are not allowed in any public place that does not allow pets (ie: grocery stores, restaurants, etc.).
In an attempt to stop abuse of the Service Animal rights, the ADA refined and limited their definitions of said animals. In doing so, they punished those who truly have a need for a Service Animal of another species than dogs. Another way to go about this would be to require certification for Service Animals. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Me thinks this is a lot of information, so me’s going to wrap it up fur today. We’ll talk more about Certification and what effect that would have for the disabled in another post. We were also asked to speak a bit on good training techniques as opposed to bad ones (ie: punishment, force, etc.); so we’ll be covering that in a future post as well. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas you would like answered or addressed, leave them in da comments or send us an email.
Do you think Certification should be required for all Service Animals?
If you’re for Certification, do you think there should be a charge, and if so, how much?