I have several concerns around the 'Emotional Support Animal' being defined as an 'Assistant Animal' (Service Animal) within Airbnb's policies.
As a licensed therapist, I am aware that many people are able to easily convince a licensed mental health professional that they 'need' their pet to be documented / authorized as an 'emotional support animal' but the true intent is that they wish to travel anywhere with the animal and not be challenged on it. I have refused more than once such requests (even from a few friends and acquaintances who were not clients) because they were not justified and it would be unethical for me to agree to such a request - but some therapists are not so diligent. Also, it is my understanding that the ADA does not recognize or protect under the law 'Emotional Support Animals'. Here are the two 'policies' (Airbnb policy and ADA federal law):
Airbnb's Policies: "Emotional Support Animal: Airbnb defines assistance animals to include Emotional Support Animals. These are animals that are used as part of medical treatment and/or therapy to assist with an individual’s daily functional tasks, but are not limited to a specific type of animal and are not required to be trained to assist an individual in a particular task. These animals are sometimes referred to as comfort animals or therapy animals."
And this is from the ADA:
@Rebecca181 I agree with you 100%
Just a quick search on google was enough to find this pictures and numerous posts about this scam. It goes so far that some airline companies are now changing their regulations . It is very easy to buy a certificate and signs on internet .
I hope Airbnb people will reconsider it before someone with emotional support aligator books my apartment (Don't laugh, we have a bath tub, it is possible ) :D
Rooster on board
Pony in the plane
@Branka & Silvia - these were fun! Thank you for sharing.
However.... ponies (actually a mini horse) like the one with the service jacket can actually be real service animals. In particular as seeing eye companions for the blind and in some cases for people with walking difficulties (like with MS - see below) where they can lean on the pony to help them walk. Not saying that this pony isn't a fake, just information.
Like I said before, regardless of whether the dog (or any animal) is a pet, an emotional support animal, or service animal, let's face it. A dog is a dog is a dog. People with allergies will have an allergic reaction. Dog **bleep** is still dog **bleep**. An alligator is an alligator. Damage is damage.
IMO, people with proper documentation and a REAL service animal will not hesitate to provide documentation. Is it discrimination to ask to see a driver's licence before you lend your car to stranger, or to see some ID when people want to buy a drink at a bar??????
This is a complex subject, indeed. I do not allow anyone's animals in my home, at any time. Even in the days when we had our beloved cats, no pet ever went into our guest quarters. Now that we are personally pet free, my allergies and respiratory issues have improved, to my great relief. It is a violation of my personal and health boundaries in my home, to accommodate any sort of non-human animals. I believe that the rules state that if it is my home, where I reside and any spaces are shared, my house rules prevail. If I am mistaken, I'd definitely like to know about it.
The official Airbnb policy should be changed. 100% agree
Personally I’m fine with guidedogs for the blind etc. But emotional support animals are not service animals and just making a mockery out of people who have legitimate disabilities.
Airbnb should change its policy to align with ADA rules and regulations regarding service DOGS (and the occasional mini horse.) Hosts should be able to choose pet friendly, ESA animal friendly or no pets. Service dogs are not pets and should not be excluded (although it may be possible to legally exclude them in shared housing. if the health of the host or family would be jeopardized or if the host's animals would be incompatible and it is not possible to separate the spaces for safety.)
ADA is a US thing so they would need to have a policy for each country which seems unikely.