The concept of “service animal” has become extremely common in the last few years. Today, more and more people with physical dysfunctions or mental disorders turn to their friends for help. And the list of animals that can help people is quite extensive. The most popular species are dogs, cats, miniature horses, and other animals.
Owning a service animal brings many benefits to its owners. First of all, it is about physical assistance in daily life. That is why the rights and freedoms of these creatures are determined by law. Therefore, cases, when people pretend their pets to be assistance animals, are becoming more common. That is why in some states service animals are required to wear special vests and harnesses to facilitate identification.
What are the features of a service animal?
Service animals are individually trained creatures that ensure technical relief for people with disabilities. These animals undergo special taming, which includes many stages. Thanks to the exercises, a service dog is able to benefit its owner and make life easier for humans with inabilities.
Given the high level of training of service animals and their extraordinary profit for handlers, the law protects their rights. For example, a service animal can take about its handler in public places, on a plane board, and has extended rights in housing, employment, and other areas. It is special preparation and an extended list of freedoms that distinguishes a service animal from a pet or an emotional support animal.
How can you distinguish service animals from emotional support animals?
It can be difficult to distinguish a service animal from other kinds of animals without documents or special accessories. This is especially true when it comes to psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. Initially, both types of animals were needed to take care of people suffering from a variety of mental disorders. They are a kind of four-legged psychiatrists who are always ready to endorse and help their “patients”.
Nevertheless, psychiatric service dogs must be specially trained, so they are not just companions, but also can provide first aid to their owners in case of threat to human health. For instance, the animal helps to stabilize the blood pressure and heart rate of the handler in case of panic attacks, and also helps the human to get home safely or to find a shelter.
Due to the fact that a service animal ensures the safety and normal life of men with inabilities, the government has developed a number of laws for these creatures. They include the Americans with disabilities act (ADA), the Air Carrier Access Act, and the Fair Housing Act.
It is worth mentioning that FHA also applies to the emotional support animal. Therefore, ESAs can live with their owners without restrictions and additional fees.
Accessories and equipment
There are many accessories and equipment for a service dog. Some of these items are a necessity for pet owners, others provide comfort for the animal itself. For instance, there is a special harness for a service dog that helps humans with mobility. Thanks to this equipment, the animal can not only roll a wheelchair but also help the owner to stand or walk on his own, providing a prop for him. You can get acquainted with all the advantages of such a Service Dog Harness on the MyServiceAnimal registrar website.
Besides the harness, there are many other accessories for service animals. For example, multifunctional vests are very popular. They are made of thick fabric and have many pockets where the pet owner can place the most necessary things, such as keys, documents, or medicine. Also, such vests are often equipped with reflective tape to make the animal visible in the dark.
It is also important to remember that not only does the animal have to take care of you, but you also have to take care of the animal. Therefore, it is important to have everything you need to care for your pet. You will need a collar and leash, as well as a muzzle and carry if you are planning to fly with an animal. Also, be sure to take care of food and hygiene products.
Requirements for keeping service animals
First of all, it is weighty to comprehend that not every person’s disability requires the help of a service animal. They are not doctors or therapists, they are designed to make life easier for their owners and save them from possible dangers. Consequently, owners also need to follow some service animal rules.
The animal breed must be considered individually in accordance with the needs of a handler and significant assignments that the animal has to fulfill. The handler has to provide the necessary supervision under the animal and ensure regular exercises. The discipline is essential owing to the fact that you must be sure that in public accommodation or institution your service animal behaves well and doesn’t pose a direct threat to other guests.
You also have to follow local laws and requirements, because apart from federal law, local governments of each state can establish their own regulations regarding service animals. Most often, these laws concern the presence of animals in the workplace or the ability of air travel with the animal.
In most states, service dogs are not obliged to wear a vest or harness. Yet, it is still better to have certain identification marks on your service dog to avoid possible controversial situations in public places. A vest or a harness with the ID tag can be such identification marks.