The Forest City is putting a notice on owners of what is supposedly passing off as emotional support animals or ESAs.
This is taking place in Ohio. “It’s about preventing fraud,” said Aviva Vincent, Ph.D., LMSW. “Moreover, in fact, other states don’t have accountability. Therefore, we are modeling this as the standard.”
The Forest City: False Claims
However, in current years, there has been an uptick in people saying their pets are ESAs. With all kinds of animals seen on airplanes including a peacock to pigs and even a kangaroo.
ESA’s are Longer Fall Under the Category of Being Service Animals
Moreover, several complaints and a few passengers are being attacked which lead to a ruling by the U.S. Department of Transportation in December that in fact ESAs are no more seen as service animals.
Because what are actual service animals are “trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation Sees Through the Ruse of what People are Trying to Passing off as “Service Animals”
“Individuals who are truly in need, can, in fact, get a service animal. There are actually steps for that,” said Dr. Vincent, “ESAs are just pets, not trained.”
The Forest City is Fighting Fraudulent Behavior
Ohio has a purpose with pets to clearly define to crack down on fraudulent behavior. This is according to Ohio’s Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board or CSWMFT.
“We know fraudulence does exist and it’s out there quite a bit,” said Dr. Vincent. She specializes in the human-animal bond and veterinary social work. In fact, Vincent is also the co-owner of Healing Paws LLC. She also is working at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chargin Falls.
The Ohio Licensing Board is Creating Standards to Follow
As a result, with the support of the Ohio licensing board, we have implemented best practices and guidelines,” said Dr. Vincent.
ESA’s are very important and they can aid many mental health issues and conditions, she said. Giving an example, Dr. Vincent said they can also provide a valuable sense of peace and security for domestic violence and abuse survivors.
Unlike service animals, ESAs are not legally protected to go out into public spaces or businesses.
To read Ohio’s entire ESA guidance, click here.