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What's the difference? Service animals versus emotional support animals

08.07.18 01:30 PM – Andy McDonald
Nothing much bigger than a dog has gotten through as an emotional support animal on an airline flight, but if they ever do, I've got dibs on this Jersey from the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project in Kiyosato, Japan.
Berea City Councilman Steve Caudill added an interesting aside last week as council members were receiving training on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Caudill, who is a financial administrator at EKU, noted there seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between service animals and what people now refer to as emotional support animals.

Caudill said the issue came up recently when a student brought an emotional support dog into an EKU classroom. That wouldn’t have been a problem if not for the fact that the dog reportedly barked during the lecture. Trained service animals typically don’t demonstrate that type of behavior.

College students around the country seem to be taking advantage of the current confusion about the difference between trained service dogs and non-trained emotional support animals, which, for a small fee, can be “certified” and then provided with an official-looking vest through various websites.

Addressing the group on behalf of the Lexington Human Rights Commission, Ray Sexton said it’s an issue that has come up increasingly with regard to housing regulations, especially where having pets may be prohibited. Sexton noted that in the future, citizens claiming a medical need for an emotional support animal may be compelled to provide a note from a local physician, instead of merely a note from a doctor from one of the commercial websites.
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