Is it too easy to obtain an emotional support animal prescription?

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  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    March 25, 2019 7:19 a.m.

    To "BeKinder" but your mental illness doesn't cause you to die.

    The problem is that too many people use the ESA as an excuse for getting a pet in an apartment or to take them into a grocery store.

    How do you explain the sudden increase in ESAs?

  • BeKinder , UT
    March 22, 2019 11:11 p.m.

    To “RedShirtCalTech” there are many ways to better this situation. For instance, having those with ESA’s, service animals, therapy dogs, sit far away from those with allergies, or chose an airline that doesn’t allow animals. I truly understand that this problem exists however, why is it anymore fair that just because your son has allergies and I have a mental disability that I should be accommodating to you? I’m not trying to downplay allergic reactions by any means, but most people who truly need a animal to assist them in everyday life (not the ones doing it for lesser rent n such) they take care of their animals. I’m allergic to cigarette smoke but you won’t see me flagging the flight attendant down kicking someone off the plane for smelling like smoke. I think what most of you need to realize is that the world doesn’t revolve around you and there are indeed other people with needs that need to be met whether you like it or not.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    March 22, 2019 7:57 a.m.

    To "BeKinder" and what am I supposed to do when you bring your ESA onto a flight with my child that is severely allergic to animals? I can't "just walk away" at that point.

    In instances like that, what am I supposed to do?

  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2019 1:16 a.m.

    I have a dog. Do I classify him as a EPA? No but he does make me happy. I have arthritis and have come close to falling. My dog was there to make sure I kept my balance going up the stairs which we only have two at three of our entries. Do I consider him an SA? No. The only time I take him out on the bus is to take him to the vets and it's one way - we walk home afterwards. We are trying to get him trained to be a service animal but because he's a senior (7 years old) he might be too old. My husband was approved for a service animal while we were renting never got one. Right now we are talking about buying a rental property. I tell him will we charge extra per child and not extra for dogs or cats. There is a dog that would ride on UTA quite often. It's owner was claiming it was a service dog not sold on it because as soon as it got on the train it ran right to the person in a wheelchair without being called. He knew she had a treat for him. Last summer while waiting for an Amtrak train there was a young man with a dog and he was even trying to tell everyone it was a service animal. No she wasn't. She was hyper and didn't follow the simplest commands. Not allowed on train.

  • BeKinder , UT
    March 21, 2019 7:28 p.m.

    For all those saying their afraid of animals/claim they are unsanitary and asking what your rights are, WALK AWAY! Problem solved :)

  • Corydalis Lehi, UT
    March 21, 2019 4:23 p.m.

    As I watch my children gain so much comfort by using their pacifiers, suddenly I realized that’s a wonderful inexpensive solution! Instead of an ESA, just use a pacifier! Then everyone can be happy. Pacifiers help with anxiety and depression.

  • BeKinder , UT
    March 21, 2019 1:56 p.m.

    Think what you will but my ESA doesn’t judge or think it’s better than anyone. All he does is spread love and happiness, something you ignorant and judge mental folks are really bad at. My ESA is more well trained than most of you and you’re offspring.

  • BeKinder , UT
    March 21, 2019 1:49 p.m.

    People, STOP shaming those who actually NEED an emotional support animal. I suffer with anxiety and depression and my ESA has alleviated so much anxiety. He literally brings me joy each and every day. I can’t imagine life without him. I truly need my ESA and because of those people taking advantage of the system, it makes those who truly need one look like criminals. This has to stop and the landlords need to validate these phony letters. I got my letter from a doctor I had been seeing for quite some time and still see. I may look fine on the outside but I’m not on the inside most days. I just hope these criminals taking advantage of the system are punished, but those individuals who legitimately need an ESA, their lives are not made harder by these criminals.

  • JamesS Payson, AZ
    March 20, 2019 1:29 p.m.

    As a physician I refuse to do paperwork for support animals. It is not that I don’t see a need for some animals or think they can be beneficial in some cases. It is that it is impossible in most cases to verify or validate what you are being told. How do I quantify such a thing? How do I know if I am being told the truth. I picture myself in a deposition being asked these questions and if I can’t make a cogent argument then I decline

  • Klaus2012 Rexburg, ID
    March 20, 2019 7:25 a.m.

    "I overheard them tell the lady next to them that they had to fly with their animal."

    That is what Valium is for.

  • Teejjoy Syracuse, UT
    March 19, 2019 10:20 p.m.

    I have an autistic daughter who has an emotional support cat...who stays downstairs. Our Daughter is learning how to handle life. Her pet just supports her. However our son is also so allergic to cats +100/0.34 allergy and is also 22/0.34 allergy threshold for dogs that it’s a nightmare. As a family with this problem it’s difficult but a choice. Keep our Autistic daughter safe or keep our son’s lungs working. Roommates, public places, planes, etc should be safe for those with allergies, too.
    Landlords should legally be able to charge any animal in their building more because pets stink, make messes and are often destructive. EVERYONES rights should be respected. Have animal friendly, higher cost areas, and animal free living areas at less cost. No special treatment on either side.

  • yankees27 Heber, Utah
    March 19, 2019 9:38 p.m.

    Flying to Florida recently for a cruise there were 2 women with their "support " animals on board, I overheard them tell the lady next to them that they had to fly with their animal. When asked if they were taking them on the cruise as well, one answered "no, we're boarding them for the week! " I choked on my pretzels! So, you're ok for the week as long as you're on a cruise ship, but let's inconvenience 200 passengers on a plane! They yapped the whole time.

  • not status quo Bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2019 7:11 p.m.

    After reading some of these comments, there seems to be a lot of mis-information regarding service animals. et al ..... First an "emotional support" animal is NOT allowed in restaurants and grocery stores. Only trained Service animals are allowed.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    March 19, 2019 7:04 p.m.

    I fully understand the need of emotional support from animals. I have several family members who are soothed and up-lifted by cuddling with a cat or petting a dog. We never taken them grocery shopping. And I'm not saying that people who do are completely out of line.

    However, when I hear of someone taking their Emotional Support Aligator to the store, then I begin to seriously question the system.

    I guess we are always in search of some sort of middle ground. We want people's needs to be met and we also want people to develop some resilience to life. I have no problem giving a hug or getting one, but I also recognize that I cannot hid under my bed for the rest of my life.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2019 6:52 p.m.

    People are always going to abuse the system. Those are the ones who need to be "punished". Rather than Making things more difficult for those with legitimate needs.

  • water rocket , 00
    March 19, 2019 6:14 p.m.

    At the Smith's store where I shop I have seen several men and women bring in their pets and claim they are "needed". In a couple of these cases their dogs were on leashes, but going to the food isles and coolers to sniff the food. They were obviously untrained animals, and I was so upset that I complained to the store management. I was told that there was nothing they could do about it because of the laws. So my question is: is it important to protect and maintain the sanitary conditions of the store, or do the "emotional needs" of some very selfish people out weigh the needs of the rest of us? I would say the same thing about pets in restaurants.

  • Pipeliner1957 Denver, CO
    March 19, 2019 6:10 p.m.

    By federal law no merchant is allowed to ask any questions. The personal doesn’t have to show any proof of anything to anybody that they have a service animal. My service dog is trained an still in training after over 5000.00 invested in it with different training courses that meets certification standards.
    There must be standards met to certify service animals, not just because a owner of the animal says so. If there is a federal standard to be met then merchants won’t be so hard on the animal or owner because there is proof of formal service training that will protect the service owners as well as general public

  • jakslc Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2019 5:52 p.m.

    I am terrified of dogs. What rights do I have?

  • Pipeliner1957 Denver, CO
    March 19, 2019 5:39 p.m.

    An emotional pet may help the person but the animal doesn’t have to be trained for anything obedience potty trained an general good manners.
    I have a mobility service animal that’s trained an certified will always display good manners in public an be there for me if needs arise not like an emotional therapy animal that can behave anyway it wants in public which can be a nuisense to the general public. My option is no matter wat kind of service animal it is there must be rules an regulations to be followed

    March 19, 2019 5:13 p.m.

    OK folks. She and her boyfriend broke up? Her job is stressful? Welcome to adulthood. Get a life and stop with the animal thing. I go crazy when a "service animal" is coddled while the "in need" person is driving a vehicle, moreover And what's with these animals in the fruit and veggie section at the grocery store? Oh no!! Now she is offended by my comments. Whatever shall I do? I need a service stuffed animal.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    March 19, 2019 4:18 p.m.

    I hate when patients come in and they refuse medications that have worked because they don’t like them or just don’t want them, or don’t even want to try medicines. Then they will request the ESA letter. This is selfish. They want treatment, or again mostly just to have a pet and avoid a deposit, that adversely affects others and are unwilling to take it on themselves because they don’t care about others.

    This is usually pure selfishness plain and simple, even from those who do receive some benefit from the ESA.

  • Michael 392 Hill AFB, UT
    March 19, 2019 3:56 p.m.

    Way to abused! I personally know of multiple instances where these people are getting doctors notes to avoid a pet deposit, pet rent, ect... And then not taking care of the animals or ignoring people forced into the situation like students in housing. These letters should only be approved by Utah physicians after multiple counseling sessions and other attempts. As well their should be breed and species restrictions. There's no reason for a German Shepherd, guinea pig, peacock or mouse to be a support animal. On a side note, anxiety from school/work should not be a valid reason for a support animal. By all means have the animal and use it for assistance at home but you don't need state/legal protection for that... Come on.

  • Lydialake Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2019 3:22 p.m.

    When I was going through radiation therapy during my cancer treatment, l was miserable. My companion cat would lie beside me with her paw on my hand. I remember her concern for me still today, even though it was many years ago and she has sadly passed away.

  • C_M_A , MA
    March 19, 2019 3:15 p.m.

    There is a ton of mental health shaming going on in these comments. I agree there is a problem with people who abuse the system/guidelines. I also think online letters should be invalidated. A letter from a local physician who can confirm the legitimate need (severe depression, anxiety, etc.) should be required. I do not have an ESA, but I am eligible for a service dog due to PTSD (affording one is another story). I am not surprised some people with mental health issues turn a blind eye to the rules—I'm not saying it's okay. I am saying it's hard enough to get the proper help for mental health issues, and when we find solutions that work (like an ESA) instead of a supportive community we get backlash.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2019 3:03 p.m.

    @commenter44 - This is the exact thing my daughter is dealing with. Her and her roommates have had to totally go along with the one very excited roommate who is bragging to them that their landlord can't evict her, etc. Thankfully, my daughter has reached out to him privately, and he has reassured her that once this roommate shows him her correct paperwork, he will speak to my daughter about her and all of the roommate's concerns. Something is very, VERY wrong when we place more value on an animal and one tennant than the other human tennants who live in the place they are paying money to live in.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2019 3:00 p.m.

    I have a note from my medical provider explaining that I have multiple pet allergies and phobias, including cats, dog, mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, hedgehogs, rats, mini pigs, ferrets, etc. Basically, anything with fur or scales. These are as easy to get as an ESA registration.

    This means the ESA passenger has to relocate to another part of the plane or change flights, even if they board before me and yes, this includes 1st class.

    I have never sneezed or gotten ill again on a flight...

  • sashabill , CA
    March 19, 2019 2:09 p.m.

    Now, if I can just get on the plane, or in the restaurant, with my Burmese python and troupe of howler monkeys.

  • sashabill , CA
    March 19, 2019 2:01 p.m.

    For apartment complexes not allowing pets, one suggestion could be to partner with local humane & animal welfare societies to set up a petting zoo on the premises. This could either be a permanent setup for larger complexes, or a traveling zoo which would periodically visit several smaller complexes. This would give tenants (seniors, families with children, or those of all ages) regular opportunities to interact with the animals, as well as volunteering in various capacities to help operate the zoo.

  • Commenter44 Provo, UT
    March 19, 2019 1:32 p.m.

    The big problem in our community is when the person wanting the ESA is living in student housing with other single unrelated tenants. Some single student housing apartments have three bedrooms and 6 tenants. When a single student wants to live with their ESA they never seem to care about the other 5 roommates. The other 5 may not want to live with an animal. What about the one person who shares the same bedroom? Look at the size of the dog in the picture with this article. The person with the ESA letter from their doctors/therapist is considered handicapped or disabled and has "rights". The other 5 do not have any "rights" so they just have to put up with it. The person with the ESA animal always seems to just care about themselves and not the others. It usually leads to huge roommate problems. This seems to be counter productive to the the health of the person with depression or anxiety. It seems like there needs to be a change in how this works.

  • ra_in_ca ,
    March 19, 2019 1:21 p.m.

    It seems like one way to combat the fraud problem would be a law saying that the "prescription" come from a local doctor. A Utah landlord should be presented with a letter coming from a Utah doctor. It won't stop all fraud, but at least it may be an indication that the person has actually seen the doctor.

    Go one step further and require the doctor's state license number to be on the form -- similar to the way a doctor has his/her license number on the prescription pad for medications. Then there could be some mechanism available for verification.

  • jojo78 Hyrum, UT
    March 19, 2019 1:16 p.m.

    My daughter has intractable epilepsy. I paid almost $20,000 to have a dog trained to help her. It sure would have saved me a lot of money to just call it an emotional support animal. I completely support the need for ESA animals but for someone who chose to follow the rules and be responsible for it, this really makes me angry.

  • HLTPCO Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 19, 2019 1:16 p.m.

    I have been involved in property management for years, and ESAs have become out of control. Legally we can’t charge more rent or deposit for the pets, and multiple times, the damage these pets cause, exceeds the deposit and the owner is stuck with the bill to replace carpet, walls, furniture etc. The other big problem I see here in Utah, is in college apartments, with multiple roommates. Roommates have no say if they want to have a pet in their living space. The situation that really gets me, is if there is a roommate with a severe pet allergy, and someone moves in with an ESA, the ESA takes priority and the roommate with allergies has to move out or deal with it. This is a broken system and laws need to change to protect those that truly need an emotional support animal, and owners of these apartments that are taking huge hits due to fraudulent ESAs.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    March 19, 2019 12:55 p.m.

    Owners of LEGITIMATE service animals are among those leading the efforts to change idiotic laws and regulations regarding "emotional support" animals.

    They have experienced serious challenges to their animals because of owners of "emotional support" pets.

  • UpbraidethNot South Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2019 12:42 p.m.

    “It’s like a movie theater that puts up a sign: 'Don’t bring candy in.' People
    do it because it saves them money.”

    Nuh-uh! I (want to) do it because there are few healthy choices at the movie theater.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2019 12:37 p.m.

    Humor or a good idea ? Have specially large, outfitted doghouse apartments where the dog's humans can also live . Or build apartments especially suited for animals; maybe there is a real market Then regular apartments can disallow pets . Service animals should require a special license showing that they are trained; and the license should be carried by the owner whenever using "service animal" privileges.

  • t_mca Herriman, UT
    March 19, 2019 12:14 p.m.


  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 19, 2019 12:11 p.m.

    Would it be possible for members of our society to develop more resilience?

    Resilience could include thinking about the concerns of other people who a) can't cure your trauma/dysfunction/syndrome and perhaps have some of their own; and b) who don't want to sit on a long flight next to your dog that pants, drools, and everything else.

    I mean, really people, could we all just buckle down and get on with life without having to turn everything into drama that involves imposing on everyone else?

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    March 19, 2019 11:51 a.m.

    This article was insightful. From going to the store or restaurants, I would have thought comfort animals were legal anywhere.

    If you have such anxiety where you can't sit in a restaurant or get your groceries without an animal, I have a suggestion: order takeout and order groceries online with pickup. Don't destroy people's empathy and goodwill toward those who have a real need for them.

  • lindaj72 SF, CA
    March 19, 2019 11:49 a.m.

    I live in an apartment building for seniors. Some have little dogs that are well trained. They are a delight We have some new people who moved in with medium sized dogs that are very noisy and one has come after some of the residents. We had one lady with a very large dog and it came after me (I am unable to walk without assistance). She had it on a very long leash which is against the rules, but fortunately I was far enough back that he wasn't able to reach me. I grew up with animals and was never afraid of them. Now I am. The large dog knocked several people down and it took months and court to get her out. If we have to use legislation to get it done I believe it should be necessary for these animals to have obedience training so we can all live in peace.

  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    March 19, 2019 11:30 a.m.

    I like most critters. Will have to see if I can take my emotional support wookie or gorilla on the plane, without paying for extra seat!! ...soo unfair!!! ;-)

  • Indi135 Cedar City, UT
    March 19, 2019 10:55 a.m.

    1. ESA are not allowed in restaurants and grocery stores.
    2. There is clearly a need that is not getting filled. A large percentage of our population are now living in apartments or other rentals and living in these places makes it very difficult to own a pet. If you want to make the rent higher to have pets, fine. Some pets, depending on the pet owner level of care, can become destructive. Perhaps we need to establish some kind of qualification standard of care and training for certain types of pets that landlords can require in order to allow pets. But however we do it, the reality is that the emotional connection to other living things is necessary and the more people move around, the more time they spend working , and the less time they spend developing community the more pets are filling a need that used to be filled by family, neighbors, and other community groups.
    3. There is a cost for the community when we do not allow people the connections they need to be emotionally stable, in hospitals, in policing, in community disturbance.
    4.I couldn't FIND a place I could have a pet. So, I bought a house. I'm lucky. It was an option for me.

  • Yorkshire Logan, UT
    March 19, 2019 10:49 a.m.

    I have really strong feelings about this.

    For those who truly do Need them and have conditions that those animals can actually help, they are a godsend.

    For people who do NOT need them and have Hijacked this whole thing--using the animals as a device To garner Attention to themselves, I am severely critical.

    This second type make it much more difficult for the Legitimate first type to have their animals accommodated and to have them taken seriously. The the needy Attention-seekers have given the whole idea a very bad name with many people, businesses, organizations, airlines etc.

  • Klaus2012 Rexburg, ID
    March 19, 2019 10:39 a.m.

    I witnessed a person's comfort dog go poop in the middle of Super Walmart. And leave it. I went to the service desk and complained. The manager (at the time) said there was nothing they can do about it, they just have to trust people are being honest concerning their "comfort animals". However, I have noticed recently, they have signs on the doors requiring proof that they are using true comfort animals.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    March 19, 2019 10:06 a.m.

    I can imagine the credible claims to a "Seeing Eye dog"; but all other claims to "emotional support animal" are just based on foo-foo pseudoscience.
    They should all be eliminated immediately.
    You don't need an emotional support animal any more than you need an "aura protector" or a "spirit voice interpreter".
    Grow up and get on with your life.

  • Corydalis Lehi, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:51 a.m.

    I also am tired of seeing so-called emotional support animals in many public places where I shop, dine, etc.
    OK, so please advise...the next time I have an ESA (on a plane, in a shopping cart, at a restaurant table) next to me and I want to change the situation, just what are my rights? What can I do?

  • bassoonlady OREM, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:44 a.m.

    You claim that landlords increase rents and deposits for pets simply because they want more money, but that is not the case.
    Any business, including landlording, is about mitigating risks. Landlords charge security deposits to tenants in general so that if the tenant trashes the place, or refuses to pay rent, or any other thing that would otherwise cause the landlord to loose money, there is at least a small recourse to help recoup some of the loss.
    With pets, it's the same thing. Pets create an increased risk. If a pet is not well trained and bites a tenant in another apartment, guess who's liable? If a pet gets worms and a kid from another apartment gets them from the pet's poop, guess who's liable? If the pet is considered a nuisance for any number of reasons, and other tenants refuse to pay rent/move out, etc, because of it, guess who has to foot the bill? If the pet is not as well trained as claimed and damages the apartment. Pets require extra cleaning after vacating. and the list goes on.
    Pets don't effect one apartment only, and their effect can be felt after they leave. Landlords expect those with pets to pay for that, it's called responsibility.

  • moniker lewinsky Taylorsville, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:44 a.m.

    Go ahead and get your "papers" online. Just don't complain about the price of rent skyrocketing.
    When landlords lose the ability to choose their tenants and have to accept the first person who hands them a doctors note, and they lose their ability to charge pet deposits and such, they will simply build that into the cost of rent and everybody will pay the same. Even people who manage to function without their pets.
    Please understand I have a history of anxiety and extreme depression. But as a former landlord, I have no tolerance for this. I have found a way to get through life without making other people pay for it.
    My property was thoroughly trashed by two dogs who weren't supposed to be there who were "such nice doggies". Yeah, hon. They all are. Never have heard a bad pet owner refer to their pet as a problem. Never once.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    My daughter, who has worked very hard to earn her way into college, just moved out in January to transfer from SLCC to Weber State. At 20, she's been excited to meeting new people and friends enjoying the college experience with roommates. One of her 3 roommates sleeps all day, nannys for a friend somehow, and demands her roommates to do all clean up/chores, and park on the side walk (rather than driveway) because of her anxiety/depression and inability to scrape snow off her car. Her latest is now that she MUST have an emotional support animal. My daughter told her that she will clean their bathroom and do a lot of her chores. My daughter is very concerned if this roommate can't take care of herself and is used to dumping her responsibilities on everyone else, how will she be able to take care of the dog? We have advised her to discuss with her landlord about letting her have the option to move out, because she moved in thinking this would be a pet free house. She doesn't want to get dinged in her rent when the dog messes (because her roommate won't let dog out or won't clean up the poo). Maybe this roommate needs an ES dog, but just don't want it on my daughter's dime.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:29 a.m.

    As a Family Medicine physician who has seen many people come in asking for these letters, I will say 95% are frauds. They want the letter just so they can have a pet in an apartment/home that does not allow it, or charges extra and they want to avoid the fee. Others want to take their animal on planes with them more easily. Rarely do any of the people who ask “need” their animal for a true mental health issue. It is truly about gaming the system. I never give a letter. I tell them they need to see a psychiatrist who can fully evaluate them and document a verifiable need.
    Letters obtained online should automatically be discounted and invalidated. Only letters from a local medical professional who is willing to give a sworn affidavit attesting to the need should be given any credence.

  • MPS Kirtland, NM
    March 19, 2019 9:21 a.m.

    In response to rkr1: Did you really mean to say, " As far as apartments and landlords go, I believe they are only concerned about the money. First they want a nonrefundable deposit, then they want a monthly rent. "?

    Oh my goodness, in my days of renting, every single landlord for every single apartment I lived in required a deposit and monthly rent. Has something changed that I am not aware of? If so, point me toward the landlords who don't require rent. That sounds like a better deal than my mortgage.

    PS--I am just enjoying a lovely spring morning and pulling your leg a little bit.

  • zipadeedoodah Lehi, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:19 a.m.

    I have to agree with other comments here. There is so much abuse of this. And if they really need that animal then they need to consider that they can travel by private car instead of public planes and other transportation means. Many are allergic to these animals. It is disgusting to have to sit next to someone on a plane in cramped space with their animal.

    Where are the rights of those allergic to these animals? Isn't this akin to smoking? Not only your smoke affects others but perhaps the noise and smell of your pet.

  • Rosco SANDY, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:15 a.m.

    If the government chooses to establish policy that negatively impacts a landlord, for example, I would think they have some responsibility to offset the cost of such policy. An emotional support dog (not a pet by statute) was brought into my rental unit which has a clear no pet policy. Prior to renting to this tenant she clearly understood the "no pet policy" and it had been pointed out that the new carpet/paint/insect extermination, etc had been done because the prior tenant had a dog and it was impossible to get out the odors and allergens without removing all floor coverings. Understanding my concerns and the expense associated with such she brought her new emotional support dog into the rental unit without any concerns because the law supported her actions. It was extremely dishonest and deceptive and will cost me several $1000 dollars extra when she leaves. I will also likely loose other renters in the other half of the duplex because they will complain of bugs, noise, odors, etc in what they understood was a pet free building. I fear her mental health adviser will eventually conclude she needs a rooster or a peacock or perhaps a llama to provide emotional support.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2019 9:13 a.m.

    If one cannot buy groceries or eat in a restaurant without their pet, there are deeper problems. It is also cheaper to claim emotional support animal status than to place Fido in a kennel while you are on vacation.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    March 19, 2019 8:53 a.m.

    If you truly have a need, get a service animal that is properly trained. Otherwise, leave your dogs, cats, rats and any others home. It is disgusting to have them in restaurants, grocery stores, airplanes and everywhere else where quarters are tight, and food is sold or eaten. Fido is annoying to most people you will come in contact with, and unsanitary to boot.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    March 19, 2019 8:42 a.m.

    A lot of us are uncomfortable around dogs we don't know. What about the emotional health of the rest of us who are forced to be around dogs in public establishments? Not everyone loves your 'pookie bear' as much as you do.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    March 19, 2019 8:26 a.m.

    Am I the only one asking why do so many need emotional support animals? What is going in these people's lives that they can't cope emotionally without some sort of pet to comfort them?

  • CC Saint George, UT
    March 19, 2019 7:45 a.m.

    All dogs are emotional support animals, but most of them are just freelancing.

  • bill4570 ,
    March 19, 2019 7:37 a.m.

    I am a vet who visits the Salt Lake VA quite often. There you see people with a real and honest need for a service animal that has been trained and paired with the person in need of that animal. And it works really well. But the animals are trained.

    Then you see all too often the people who come in with an untrained animal. These pee and poop wherever and on anything, often bark and try to fight with REAL service animals and other people, leaving much more than just a mess to clean up by our overworked housekeeping units. The VA police is pretty good in dealing with such people and their "service" animals. But, people take advantage of the rules that are there to protect everyone and these untrained animals and their owners threaten the health and well being of others.

    And, is it really necessary to have dogs or cats in a restaurant or store? People can be bad enough sometimes, but add an untrained and uncertified animal to the list and health problems are elevated to risky to those around them.

  • LaSudonim Provo, UT
    March 19, 2019 7:20 a.m.

    There's no such thing as an "Emotional Support Animal" prescription. Under the regulations of the ADA, ES animals don't count as service animals. A service animal is one that does tasks that typically are difficult for the handler, and currently only dogs can be used as SA's.

  • ERB Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 19, 2019 6:54 a.m.

    It’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf. We’ve all seen dogs with vests that bark or nip at others. Those obviously haven’t been trained. So, the rest of us have been trained to think everyone is a fraud.

  • ji_ Ketchikan, AK
    March 19, 2019 6:49 a.m.

    Seeing-eye dogs for the blind -- that I can understand and support, in restaurants, airplanes, and so forth.

    Almost anything else? Sad.

  • AndreaHarris Santa Ana, CA
    March 19, 2019 6:19 a.m.

    I believe if you have a medical condition that qualify to get an emotional support animal then it is easy. Yes i am not saying that people do not do fraud, they are there but then again the people who legitimately require emotional support need not suffer because of them. I for say got my esa letter through telemedicine. Theres this site myesadoctor and i got the letter pretty easily because i suffer from anxiety. I cannot live without my dog at all. And life has definitely changed since my terrier arrived. Great article though. Keep up the good work.

  • J. Smith Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2019 6:15 a.m.

    If a person is so emotionally unstable they need their "emotional support pet" to go everywhere with them perhaps they need to stay local until they feel better. Especially on planes that are not suited for the emotional needs of those amongst us that are not mentally stable.

    A plane is a long, cramped cylinder that hurtles through the air at 300-500 mph. It is crammed with people who are already tense from the horrible airport and airline experience. Add to that an unstable person with their pet dog, cat, bird, snake, rabbit of gosh knows what else keeps them calm and it is nothing but a recipe for disaster......

  • rkr1 Sandy, UT
    March 19, 2019 5:54 a.m.

    I have seen how support animals can help with many physical issues. I also believe a doctor prescription should be done by a local physician not online. As far as apartments and landlords go, I believe they are only concerned about the money. First they want a nonrefundable deposit, then they want a monthly rent. This is rediculous. They don't charge a per tenant fee. I probably shouldn't say that, they might start doing that too.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 19, 2019 5:30 a.m.

    Cowboy up. Animals Will make a mess. You really want to rent an apartment that don't allow pets. When I needed to rent a place, it was easier to find places that allowed pets but no children.

  • El Gringo Mesa, AZ
    March 19, 2019 12:18 a.m.

    We gotta go after doctors if we are going to stop it. People these days are so annoying with their chihuahuas walking around the grocery store. It also seems unfair that people get the doctor letter and don’t have to pay extra to have the pet. The doctor note should let you have the animal, not avoid payment. I’m sure we all know some “needy” person who gets one of the animals and then doesn’t train them and they wreak havoc all around them. Ugh.

  • poyman Draper, UT
    March 18, 2019 11:31 p.m.

    Yes, it's far too easy and way too many tenants are doing it. They are even advertising it on the internet... I think I saw an ad for $22 guaranteed certification.

    The Landlords are getting killed. I love dogs, but a dog is a dog and they are very hard on carpet, paint, lingering smells that leave allergy issues, scratches on furniture and tables, and the list goes on. Then, Landlords are expected to clean up the mess when they move out and many times have to eat the expense for it. It will eventually push rental prices higher and higher and those without an animal will get stuck with the bill.

    I see the legitimate need of a well trained service animal but an ESA is no "well trained service animal" by any stretch. Often times they are worse than non ESA animals.

    At some point tenants will get tired of the high rents and deposits and be able to trace it back to the cause. Then, between these angry renters and the Landlords who are stuck with the repairs and remodels will band together and test this part of the ADA law in court. Then, hopefully the Judges responsible for ruling on this test will be Landlords themselves and hand down a realistic definition of what a real ESA is.

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    March 18, 2019 11:08 p.m.

    People are allergic to animals, like cats, dogs and other animals people pass off as "service animals". It's one thing to be in a place you can avoid the proximity of the animal, but another story to be on a plane with an animal that creates an allergic reaction.

    Granted I don't know the emotional issues people have, and I'd be more sensitive if it was a rare occurrence signifying a real need, but I'm tired of seeing people carry their dog or cat into restaurants, grocery stores and planes like they are some sort of monarch who doesn't care how the rest of us feel about their animal in a place society says it does not belong.