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What is the most interesting or bizarre thing you know about service animals or even emotional support animals? It turns out that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has certain regulations concerning service animals and, as you would expect, this is a typically unusual area of law. To enlighten and inform you about the same, this blog introduces you to a short but interesting and informative video titled “The ADA, Service Animals & And The Legendary Miniature Horse 🐎 🔥.” As usual, it is accessible through the link provided at the end of the blog.
When it comes to service animals, the primary concern for employment & labor law regards what requirements should be met to take service animals in the workplace. For starters, meaning that service animals may be taken in the workplace, service animals are considered a reasonable accommodation for a disability under Title I of the ADA. However, certain requirements must be met in line with ADA’s provisions as discussed below:
What Animals are Allowed for Use as Service Animals?
The ADA allows only two types of animals as service animals. The first and the most popular animal is the dog. Under ADA’s Title II and III, only dogs are considered service animals. However, dogs used as service animals are not pets but “working” animals. The second and peculiar animal permitted under the ADA is the miniature horse. This animal is covered under a separate provision of the ADA and should be trained to perform specific tasks for persons with disabilities. While they generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds, the height of miniature horses, measured to the shoulders, ranges from 24 inches to 34 inches.
When faced with the question of reasonable accommodation, ADA-covered entities are required to modify their policies to allow the use of miniature horses where reasonable. However, to determine whether miniature horses can be accommodated in a given workplace, employers should consider at least four assessment factors that include (1) whether the legitimate safety requirements needed for the workplace’s safe operation will not be compromised by the presence of the miniature horse, (2) whether the weight, size, and type of the miniature horse can be accommodated in the workplace, (3) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control, and (4) whether the miniature horse is housebroken.
Is it a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal?
When it comes to this area of law, a service animal has a different connotation compared to an emotional support animal. Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as an animal that has been specifically trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. A service animal can perform various tasks depending on an individual’s disability. For example, such an animal can be trained to alert & protect a person who is having a seizure, pull a wheelchair, alert individuals who are deaf, and guide persons who are blind.
On the contrary, an emotional support animal is an animal that provides emotional support or comfort to an individual but is not specifically trained to perform any particular task. In fact, under the ADA, animals whose sole purpose is to offer emotional support or comfort to an individual do not qualify as service animals. For instance, an animal help to calm an individual with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is suffering from an anxiety attack.
Does the Animal Enjoy Full or Partial Protection in the Workplace?
First and foremost, as provided for under Title I, service animals enjoy full ADA protection in the workplace. On the contrary, emotional support animals are covered under Title II and III and do not enjoy full protection.
One interesting to note is that if the animal is not fully trained or still under training, then it falls out of qualifications and requirements. Whatever criterion is used, a dog that is still undergoing training or has got two more months to “graduate” from wherever service animals get trained does not qualify to be a service animal under the ADA. Simply said, a service animal must have trained and graduated.
We invite you to view our video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2F97XaavK0.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the next instalment and strive to be #UnusuallyMotivated. In the interim, reach out to us with questions and/or comments on our website at the Contact Us page!
Always rising above the bar,
Legal Writer & Author.