Service Animals VS Pets

Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

Service Animals VS Pets

I used to list my space as being accepting pets with a fee. I’ve ceased listing my room as ‘pet -friendly with a fee,’ due to the fact that, the majority of the ‘pet’ inquiries where people who’s expectation was that the pet would stay for FREE because they claimed, ‘service animal.’


When I asked these potential guests to provide the proper documentation for a service animal; no one could provide the proper ADA paperwork that certified their animals as a ‘service animal.’

Again, at the time, the listing did accept pets with an added fee. These people did not want to pay the fee. 

Recently, the Arizona state legislature pass a law that clearly states representing a ‘pet’ as a ‘service animal’ is fraud. And, can be charged and prosecuted as fraud. This was a reaction to the number of folks presenting pets as service animals. And, business owners frustration with the situation.


The county I live in provides this sign for business owners and training on the new law. 

I understand that I am required to follow ADA guidelines. I am happy to follow ADA Service Dog Guidelines. I am happy to accept a pet with an extra fee. (Though I no longer list my room as accepting pets, because I got tired of the pet represented as a service dog situation.)

If Airbnb could help and have a ‘certification of service dog’ included in the App. Just like a driver’s license, an authentic service dog has documentation that can be certified. 

Please, help me as a host, respect the law of my country and state by providing a place in the app for guests to certify their legitimate service animals. And, I will happily accept the service animal without an added fee. 

(heck, you could even add a place where hosts review the animal.)



1 Best Answer
Level 2
Washington, DC

I can’t speak for Germany but in the US that’s exactly what insurance, protection from liability. Also, there is no blanket training for emotional support animals.


View Best Answer in original post

72 Replies 72

From the terms of service today:



Emotional Support Animal: An animal that provides companionship, relieves loneliness, or helps with depression, anxiety, or certain phobias but is not required to have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities

  • What we allow:
    • Unless the reservation is a stay in New York or California (USA) or another location where applicable law prohibits it:
      • Hosts may charge pet fees for a guest who is traveling with an emotional support animal.
      • Hosts are ALLOWED TO DECLINE the presence of emotional support animals from a stay or Experience……”

Finally, a coherent response to host concerns!

Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

Business & Money:


The sad part is I’ve went from accepting pets with an added $30 fee (which is incredibly reasonable) to not accepting any pets, even legitimate service animals.


The Reason:

Travel Cheap with your pets sights are informed about Airbnbs lax service animal policy. People KNOW as long as they are willing to lie about their animal being a service animal. I can’t charge them a fee. I had my setting set at animals acceptable with fee. One guest paid the fee without a fuss. The rest says, 

“emotional support animal, I don’t pay a fee.”


The liability may not bother Airbnb but the fact that it’s common knowledge that no one actually has to pay a fee for pets on Airbnb might impact their decision. As it had impacted my decision to, “have dog allergies.”


really, Every cheap travel site tells guests to claim emotional support, they won’t pay a pet fee. 

Airbnb is losing money on that ….


Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

As a host, it’s difficult for me to

understand where ADA laws, the New Arizona Anti-Service Animal Fraud Laws and Airbnb policy collide with my personal liability for the actions of an untrained dog in my home.


I’ll just note on my profile that I am, ‘Extremely Allergic to Dogs.’ 

@Laura2714 You may note in your House Rules that no animals will be permitted due to allergies; because you share the space, it's unnecessary to claim to be "extremely allergic," as this implies that even guests who have been around animals elsewhere would put your health in danger. 


As far as liability issues are concerned, I presume that Airbnb (which is always fighting hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits at a time) has estimated that its legal risks are outweighed by the benefits of market domination. We'll see how that turns out.



Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

The issue is liability. Legitimate Service Dogs are very very well-trained. 

Fake and Fraudulent ‘service’ dogs are often not well-trained. Once Airbnb gets a multimillion dollar law suit from one these fraudulent ‘service’ dogs chewing off some child’s face. Their attorney will advise them to reconsider their policy. An untrained dog in an unfamiliar environment with someone who deeply feels they need or require an emotional support dog. And, is willing to commit fraud. Is putting a host in a dangerous situation. 

It’s a massive liability waiting to happen.


Level 10
Orono, ME

I have many friends that are on the my-dog-is-an-emotional-support-animal-bandwagon. Even going as far as getting a doctor to sign off on it or purchasing a little vest and certificate on eBay. This is so they can have the pet in a pet-free apartment complex or take the pet on vacation for free. I am really disgusted by the whole ordeal but it is totally justified and 'normal' in their minds. 

Level 2
Fairview, NC

I think Airbnb has done a great disservice to hosts by stating that guests can bring 'emotional support' animals into a home without even telling (let alone asking!) us.  Apparently you can check out with up to 5 pets.  As long as they are emotional support animals. If you choose to inform the host at all.   And Airbnb added this information and a new process for including the pet fee at check out without informing us.  So that my site stated 'pets stay free', until I figured this out and was able to edit the pet fee. My experience with emotional support animals so far has been very disappointing.  One guest said the dog wouldn't be left alone in the house.  Then texted me they were going up in a hot air balloon, and couldn't be back in time for checkout.  Imagine my surprise when I went to the house and found 2 pit bulls barking at me from on top of my sofa. It was terrifying.  If you don't need an emotional support animal in a hot air balloon, then you don't need an emotional support animal!  A little more support for hosts in this arena would be appropriate, and could be done without violating ADA guidelines.  And it's not about having damage liability.  It's about respect and having some control over what happens in your own house. I should not be afraid to enter my own house. 

Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

My father is deaf. He has a legally certified service dog with all appropriate training and paperwork. 

It is the community of Individuals with Disabilities that is being disrespected by these people. And, the Individuals with Disabilities Community that has asked for laws about fraudulent service animals.


It causes my heart great sadness to witness this kind of disrespect of the Deaf & Blind Community.

Level 4
Albuquerque, NM

I agree. It hurts the folks who need an actual service dog. I am saddened by the trend of people claiming ESA or service dog when it's not valid. I hope the new laws to punish them work, however the way the laws are written businesses can't ask for any proof. So how do you know? You would have to document thier behavior I suppose, but then now you're spying on them? That doesn't seem right either. Anyone know how enforcement works for the fake service dog laws? 

Level 9
Cottonwood, AZ

Yes. When an individual states,

“I need or require an emotional support dog.”


They are clearly announcing that they have mental health issues. I would never deny an Airbnb guest because they disclosed they struggle with mental health issues. (Of Course)


The translation of, ‘emotional support,’ is “mental health struggles.” 


The issue as I pointed out below is Airbnb assuming total liability for the actions of a dog who is NOT a properly trained service dog, who is owned by someone who has admitted a ongoing struggle with mental health issues. 

What happens WHEN (not if) there is a brutal dog attack ?

ADA does NOT require that Airbnb take on this massive liability. 





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