There seems to be confusion about these terms:
Perform tasks to assist their recipient with disabilities, which the recipient can’t do for themselves. Ex: our dogs retrieve dropped items, help their person navigate in public, open drawers, etc. Service dogs have public access rights – can be taken anywhere except hospital OR’s or restaurant kitchens without permission of the owner/person in charge at the venue. Service dog schools test the service dog and their recipients using a Public Access Test to assure the public the team is safe to be in public places. At present there are no legitimate certifying service dog organizations. Most service dog schools certify their teams after they’ve passed the public access test. Legally anyone can ask a service dog team what tasks does the dog do for their person as that’s the legal definition of a service dog under the American Disabilities Act. It’s illegal to ask someone why they have a service dog or what’s wrong with them. A service dog team can not be barred from any venue – including venues or housing with No Pet Policies. That’s against the State Service Dog Law (each state has one) and the American Disability Act.
Pet dogs whose team mate is their owner or designated handler. Therapy Dogs soothe, cheer up people, etc. with their essence (being a great, friendly dog). They’re not task oriented. They must 100% pass the standardized Therapy Dog Obedience test, administered by a certified Therapy Dog Tester, every 2 years to be certified. There are legitimate organizations who certify Therapy Dogs. A therapy dog team has public access only if they’ve been invited into the venue – hospital, nursing home, library, etc. Usually their handler is required by the venue to have liability insurance on the dog. There are therapy dog organizations that provide this insurance at group rates.
Emotional Support Dogs
A pet dog who soothes, cheers up his/her owner. There are no requirements for training of these dogs, and they are not task oriented. If they perform tasks and are highly trained in obedience, they’re Psychiatric Service Dogs. Emotional Support Dogs have no public access rights under the American Disabilities Act, and require the permission of the owner/person in charge of the venue to enter. They used to be in airports, and fly on airplanes because the FAA granted that privilege. The FAA has now revoked that privilege because there were so many unfortunate incidents.
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