Legal Line Question of the Week: Assistance Animals, Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals
What is the difference between an Assistance Animal, an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal?
There are two primary federal laws which relate to fair housing, disability and animals; the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA defines a “Service Animal” as a dog or small horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The FHA defines “Assistance Animal” as an animal that provides assistance or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The major difference between a Service Animal and an Assistance Animal is that a Service Animal is required to be specially trained and certified where an Assistance Animal is not required to be trained and certified. An Emotional Support Animal (“ESA”) is recognized as an Assistance Animal under the FHA and is defined as an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of a person’s disability. Because an ESA is recognized as an Assistance Animal, it is covered under the FHA.
|Neil B. Garfinkel,
REBNY Broker Counsel
Partner-in-charge of real estate and banking practices at Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP