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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Two different breeds of therapy dogs

    Jesus Barrera

    Government and policy Ph.D. student Elizabeth Schmitt plays with Appolonius, a 3-year-old beagle mix, on Nov. 9. Around the UA, more people seem to have emotional support animals, which are different from service animals.

    Recently, it seems that more and more dogs claimed as emotional support animals have been seen around the UA campus. Their handlers believe that this certification enables their dog to go wherever they want to go. However, an emotional support animal is not the same as a service animal, and there are limits to where you may take them.

    Those who suffer from emotional distress may qualify to have an emotional support animal, whereas those with severe disabilities, such as epilepsy, qualify to own a service dog to help detect possibly dangerous situations.

    According to the UA Disability Resource Center’s “Service and Companion Animal Guidelines,” a dog who “only provides comfort or emotional support” is not a service dog, and is therefore not upheld by the same guidelines as a service dog.

    “A person with a companion animal will have to come in and request it as an accommodation, then we will assess if it is reasonable,” said Sue Kroeger, director for the UA Disability Resource Center. “You must be able to take your service dog into a public accommodation, but you are not given that same right with emotional support animals.”

    Students with good documentation might be granted a reasonable accommodation that would allow them to keep their emotional support animal with them in the residence hall. However, living accommodations do not apply everywhere on campus, according to Kroeger.

    While dogs may need a certificate to get through some doors at the UA, there are spots that welcome dogs regardless of certification.

    “Service dogs are more than welcome, and our patio is dog-friendly,” said Vinson Siqueiros, a manager at Gentle Ben’s on University Boulevard. The restaurant provides water bowls for the dogs that accompany the customer, according to Siqueiros.

    Pet owners may be persuaded to register their pooch as an emotional support animal after examining potential rent costs associated with housing an animal.

    Fees for having a pet off-campus range in the hundreds and generally are not fully refundable. According to the Pet-Friendly Apartment Directory on, a pet deposit can cost anywhere from $150-500, not including an additional monthly pet-rent fee. If a document certifies your pet as an emotional support animal, renters can potentially avoid the cost of paying deposits and pet-rent.

    According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “Conditions and restrictions that housing providers apply to pets may not be applied to assistance animals. For example, while housing providers may require applicants or residents to pay a pet deposit, they may not require applicants and residents to pay a deposit for an assistance animal.” It is noted that the housing provider may still require people to pay damage costs if their animal causes any.

    These policies are written in an effort to remain fair to all who may or may not have a disability. Pet-rent at various apartments may be outrageously expensive to pay, but they are there for a reason, as some residents who are allergic to animals may find comfortable living in a non-pet-friendly apartment.

    “We have residents that live here with pets, and they all have documents on file. Otherwise, we are not a pet-friendly complex,” said Karlie Fisher, affiliate for The Cadence apartments.

    Even though the complex is not necessarily pet-friendly, it must abide by the Fair Housing Act and recognize its residents’ necessities by allowing them to have a service animal, be it for emotional support or service.

    Emotional support animals may not receive all of the same privileges as service animals at the UA. Nevertheless, they are still becoming more pup-ular.

    Follow Victoria Teplitz on Twitter.

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