Emotional Support and Service Animals

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals or ESAs are a category of animals that may provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the ADAAA. Some ESAs are professionally trained, but in other cases ESAs provide the necessary support to individuals with disabilities without any formal training or certification. Dogs are commonly used as ESAs, but any animal may serve a person with a disability as an ESA.

We encourage you to review the Emotional Support Animal Procedure for more information.

Service Animals

Service Animal refers to any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.

Under ADA laws, service animals are not required to register, wear any identification such as vests or tags, nor is there any paperwork that you can require of someone to prove that their animal is a service animal. Two questions are permitted:

  1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?