Emotional Support Dog

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Mary2e, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Mary2e

    Mary2e DIS Veteran

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    Right up front... I'm not trying to scam Disney or try to go somewhere I shouldn't with the dog. I just want info about where I can go.

    My husband has a real emotional support dog - and a letter from his doctor that he's seen since 2010 that it has helped him quite a bit. So this is real. We do not have a vest for the dog, as we don't want to draw attention OR have to listen to people's snide remarks about fake dogs. The dog is 7 pounds and we mostly carry him around in a sling.

    We will be driving down and are renting an RV for FW because it is so dog friendly.

    I only want to know WHERE I can go with the dog. WE DO NOT WANT TO BRING THE DOG INTO ANY THEME PARK.

    For example, can we bring him, along with the letter, to a restaurant? How about Disney Springs? We recently were in Orlando and the off-site hotel allowed us to bring him into their restaurant. Can I bring him poolside?

    He is well behaved and quiet. We make sure he has done all his business before taking him anywhere. We try to be very considerate of other guests and the people around us. He is a Hypoallergenic breed, which is one of the reasons we got him. (yes, I know some people are still allergic to them).

    Any info or recommendations are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Just so you know, “Emotional Support” animals have no additional (legal) rights over a pet, other than for housing purposes. No rights to enter stores, restaurants, etc.

    Since you are traveling in an RV, are you staying at Fort Wilderness? They have a dog park and many campers have dogs in and around the campsite loops. WDW does have 4 (?) resorts that are dog friendly, if you are staying at one of those they will let you know where to walk the dog. If you are not staying at Fort Wilderness or one of the dog-friendly resorts, there is no place on WDW property to bring the dog with you.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
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  4. Mary2e

    Mary2e DIS Veteran

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    Thank you. I am driving a car down and renting an RV in FW.

    FWIW - I was told otherwise in the hotel I stayed in... the ESA can go just about anywhere. But I need to double/triple check. Like I said, I don't want to do anything wrong.
     
  5. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

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    That hotel may have allowed it but ESAs do not have the same access as service animals covered under the ADA.
     
  6. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Too many people confuse “emotional support” animal with “service animal.” Service animals have protections under the law and are basically allowed wherever the owner goes. Emotional support animals can go where pets are allowed; the only legal protections are for housing purposes. If pets are not usually permitted somewhere, an emotional support animal isn’t either.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
  7. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    (Trying not to step on the toes of the moderator)

    I have seen ESA at WDW, both in the parks and on resort grounds. I would say that you could play things by ear, just as you do at home. I might consider buying him a vest that says "emotional support" on it if your DH wouldn't mind because if you do bring him to an area with permission some busy body is still going to give you the side eye.
     
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  8. Queen of the WDW Scene

    Queen of the WDW Scene It's only MY opinion, YOU decided to quote it.

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    You cannot take it anywhere.
    ESA have no more rights than pets for the most part.
    It is not a service animal and does not have the rights that one has.
    A doctor's note does not mean anything neither does a vest.
     
  9. Mary2e

    Mary2e DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all.
     
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  10. daisy2013

    daisy2013 Mouseketeer

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    Just because you have seen them there does not mean they were legally allowed to be there. However, often employees don’t want to confront a person especially in the day and age of social media. And will just let it go. The only federal legal rights an emotional support animal has over a pet is under fair housing acts and air carrier access act but even those can be limited.

    Here is a link to information regarding emotional support animals rights
    https://americandisabilityrights.or...Er2eqZTmBr8aqvryfds6x1p1ODLFwBlgaAvCvEALw_wcB
     
  11. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    Thanks to the OP for trying to get clarification before bringing your dog. That is wise.

    I can’t see some of the posts because of huge ads covering them, specifically lanejudy’s last post. What I can see that she posted is correct. Emotional Support Animals have no more rights than pets, except in the specific housing and travel situations that were already mentioned (some states do allow more, but Florida is not one of them).

    The link that daisy2013 posted has a lot of information.
    Kind of to cut to the chase, this is from the ADA page of FAQs regarding Service Animals:
    Q1. What is a service animal?
    A
    . Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. (my bold)

    Q2. What does "do work or perform tasks" mean?
    A
    . The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure. (My bold)

    Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
    A
    . No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws. (my bold)

    Q4. If someone's dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?
    A
    . It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog's mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA. (my bold)

    https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

    I am certain that at least some of the Emotional Support Animals that are seen at WDW resorts and parks are at the resort as regular pets and/or are there because the person with the dogs have said it is a Service Dog and were not challenged on it. They may actually think that because petting the dog helps to calm them, that makes it a Service dog - I’ve heard multiple people telling that to other guests in line on on transportation.
     
  12. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    Just becuse you see them at the parks dose not mean they should be there as people think that there ESA should be allows in the parks this is not so. I was at the park when some one was showing off her ESA ( even said it was an ESA letting other pet it) another dog and handle walked by ( the dog had a vest that said medical alert) the ESA jump on the service dog to play with it the owner of the service dog fell and had a seizure. I am sure the ESA dog is nice but they are not trained like service dog are I think they can also go on planes too but this and apartment are really the only thing they are allowed
     
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  13. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    Well, that's an example of a poorly trained dog. I feel very sorry for the guest who had a seizure :(. I hope they were OK! FWIW, not all service dogs (NOT talking about ESAs) are trained to be super obedient or bomb proof, only to provide a task related to the person's disability. That doesn't mean that they are any better or worse trained than any other dog.

    ETA, in any case I simply said for the OP to play it by ear. If a restaurant/etc allows the ESA in, cool. If they don't, oh well.
     
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  14. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    A badly behaving guest failing to control her emotional support animal ...
     
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  15. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Off topic, but as a Moderator are you able to address this with board management?
     
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  16. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    i was on my phone, which has less ability to move things
     
  17. AnneK

    AnneK Mouseketeer

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    Definitely a big no to all restaurants and pools. Close family member has an ESA and they are not allowed where food is served (sometimes, rarely there is an outdoor "dog patio" area) or where it can pose a health risk (people swimming nearby or in the water).
     
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  18. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    Sadly, most employees are poorly trained when it comes to laws regarding animals in restaurants - and while some states may allow ESA in public places, I don't see how they can be allowed in restaurants, since food is being served. There are strict rules that even service dogs have to follow in a restaurant, and if they don't the patron can be asked to take the dog out. My guess is the hotel you stayed at was clueless, or afraid of being sued or bashed on public media.

    ESA should not be in the parks - and the service vest trick is disgusting, IMO. I have a friend who takes her therapy dog on planes for free, as she claims he's her service dog. Except she's not disabled, and he just goes with her to visit clients. He's not even well trained. But she lies, bought him the vest, got a certificate online, etc.

    Perhaps this country needs to get more strict about service animals, if people are going to lie and cheat to get an ESA in where they are not supposed to (not directed at the OP, of course, who is trying to find correct information)
     
  19. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    I don't think anyplace at Disney does this - but an establishment that is not regulated like a food store or restaurant can voluntarily allow pets.

    When I took my dog to training classes in Palo Alto, CA the "final" exam was my dog going shopping with me at Stanford Shopping Center. All of the stores we went into welcomed the dogs. I was surprised. I personally do not take my dog shopping with me as he's just a pet who I am sure is happier at home.

    But I can see how some hotels might decide to accept emotional support dogs in addition to service dogs. It's their choice. But they are not required to do so.

    When I travel with my dog (a pet only) and have to spend the night I always stay at La Quinta as they allow pets and do not have an extra charge. When I drove by myself between New Orleans and Little Rock after I got older I preferred to stop and spend the night halfway. Now my younger husband has no problem with us doing it all in one day (even if we don't leave until 5 pm).

    Sometimes when we go to WDW we leave from New Orleans (with the dog), board him in Orlando, and then drive back to Arkansas. We do have to make a stop for that trip.

    I have seen dogs who looked like pets walking thru Disney Springs. Not in any shops - but just walking around with their owners.
     
  20. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    It is NOT a "trick" is the vest says "emotional support" and not "service animal". You find the truth disgusting?
     
  21. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    I don't think anyone here finds the truth "disgusting".

    But this community deals regularly with the fallout from people who *do* try to game the system - especially at WDW. This includes, but is not limited to, folks who (unlike the OP, who had the common sense and courtesy to ask what would be appropriate) just show up with their animal and a vest that they bought on Amazon that looks "official".

    Those people rely upon the vest - regardless of the wording on the vest - as their moral high ground. ("My animal has a vest, therefor it is a service animal, therefore it is "allowed"" which is not necessarily true.)

    Some people are offended by this. They believe that this is *wrong* - to pass off an animal that is an ESA as a trained Service Animal. In that scenario, those people could be characterized as "disgusted" by this behavior, because it is disingenuous.

    Putting a vest on an animal that says "Emotional Support" could be construed as an act of trying to trick others into believing that the animal is a trained service animal - because all service animals wear a vest when working. Regardless of the wording, the implication is that this is a trained working service animal, which in the case of an emotional support animal is not the case, ergo it is perceived as an attempt to deceive.
     

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