emotional support dogs Boston Massachusetts

Service dogs in Boston are amazing. They have been extensively trained, live strict but loved lives, and take care of their owners like truly no one else can. The dogs’ abilities to detect seizures, pick up dropped items, and even warn owners of impending stroke or heart attack make these dogs literally life savers.

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With all the amazing things these animals can do, it’s no wonder we have learned to accept them in places we usually wouldn’t, like a restaurant or the office. But there is a growing cynicism towards service and support animals in general, and mostly because of misunderstanding, and I’ll admit that I used to be one of these people.

I was not raised in a house with pets, and I never could understand the “emotional support animal. I could understand a seeing eye dog or a dog that assists with the hearing impaired, but these are obvious needs that a dog could help with. When I would see articles about an emotional support pig or bunny, I would roll my eyes.

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The Best service animal laws in Massachusetts

I'm often asked how you register or certify your service dog, the answer is "You Don't". Companies that claim to register or certify your animal without training are simply taking advantage of the handicapped to make a dollar. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) went into effect which gives handicapped persons with service animals legal protection to be accompanied by the animal in public places.

Understanding the ADA

So lets first define what a service animal is, According to the ADA, an animal is considered a service animal" if it has been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability." As you see, the word certify or registered doesn't appear in the law. As a matter fact the US government does not register, certify, license or approve any animal.

So What's a Service Dog Owner to do?

First, make sure you meet the definition of a disabled person and that your dog is specially trained to perform tasks related to your disability. Trying to pass off your pet as a service animal is a federal offense and comes with severe penalties. Outside of the two requirements spelled out in the ADA you don't have to do anything. If you feel identifying your service dog will make your life easier then purchase a quality photo service dog tag, vest with patches or a cape.

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Dog Law

What's the difference between a service animal and a therapy animal?

A service dog focuses on the needs of its handler. A therapy dog works with its handler to focus on the needs of others.

Service dogs assist an individual with a disability. They're trained to perform tasks that the person cannot perform for him or herself. A few examples might be alerting to the sound of a siren, pulling a wheelchair uphill, retrieving an item from a grocery store shelf, alerting to low blood sugar, or guiding a person down the street. Service dogs focus primarily on the needs of their handler.

For more information see the following links:

http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm
http://www.deltasociety.org

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How Do I Certify My Service Dog?

Wow, is there a lot of information on the web about how to go about doing this.  Some of it is even quite amusing-that is, if you know what you're doing first.

It's always best to start out with taking a look at the federal civil rights laws (under the Americans with Disabilities Act) and the civil rights laws in your own state.  These are the ultimate authorities and really all you need to make a determination.  By the way, if there seems to be any disagreement or conflict between the federal laws and your state's laws, it's important for you to know that the federal laws trump your state's laws.

To sum up, having some kind of visible identification for your service dog, while not required by law, can make your life so much easier than you might imagine.  So it's most highly recommended for both of you!

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How to Register a Service Dog or How to Scam the Disabled

What's the difference between a service animal and a therapy animal?

A service dog focuses on the needs of its handler. A therapy dog works with its handler to focus on the needs of others.

Service dogs assist an individual with a disability. They're trained to perform tasks that the person cannot perform for him or herself. A few examples might be alerting to the sound of a siren, pulling a wheelchair uphill, retrieving an item from a grocery store shelf, alerting to low blood sugar, or guiding a person down the street. Service dogs focus primarily on the needs of their handler.

For more information see the following links:

http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm
http://www.deltasociety.org


The ESA Letter Professionals

Massachusetts service animal laws