According the American Pet Products Association, in 2012, 62 percent of all American households, that is 83.3 million dogs, include at least one pet. The definition of an Emotional Support Animal or dog is varied. The basic term means that the pet is meant to provide therapeutic support and affection to their human. They are in all essence of the word a companion animal.
While some people believe these dogs should share the same benefits as service animals they do not. They are not allowed to be in no pet housing or travel in the cabin of the aircraft with their owner. These animals are not task trained, and require little to no training at all. The animal should be house broken or toilet trained in some manner and they cannot disturbs others or pose a threat to them either. The general rule with Emotional support dogs is they are not allowed to go beyond where the average pet is allowed. Again no flying in the cabin free of cage or fee, they are not allowed in restaurants or grocery stores. Having a diagnosed mental illness is not on its own is not reason enough for a doctor to prescribe the use of an emotional support dog. In order for a person to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person in question must have substantial limitations involving major life activities due to their mental illness. There are some exceptions for animals to live in housing and fly on planes with their owners. To be granted the request to have an emotional support dog fly with or live in no pet housing a letter is required from a licensed physician. You can find information about the letter here. To be afforded the rights under federal law, a person must be disabled. Again the Americans with Disabilities of 1990, does not extend the protections of the act to dogs that have not been specifically trained for a task for an individual with a disability. There is abuse of the emotional support dog circuit, similar to the service dogs. People are attempting to bring their pets on board free of charge and cage, claiming that they are certified emotional support dogs.