Home Opinion Emotional support animals are a damaged brand

Emotional support animals are a damaged brand

The rules for emotional support animals in Rexburg are broken.

After speaking with the local animal shelter, I learned that a high percentage of the adoptions that take place are for animals that will become emotional support animals.

What caused such a large increase in emotional support animals in a short amount of time?

Seemingly everyone knows someone or knows of someone who has one.

Emotional support animals have become popularized over the past few years because of their ability to be an alternative form of medicine. They can act as a prescription for people who suffer from a mental illness.

I know they can provide comfort and mental stability to those that have them. I have seen them bring joy to many people. It’s refreshing to know not all prescriptions come in a bottle.

So why do I say the rules for them are broken? Let me tell you how easy it is to get one.

The amount of ways people can obtain a prescription for an emotional support animal is diverse. My husband is currently working on a documentary that showcases the rise of emotional support animals in Rexburg and tells the story of just a few of the people who have them.

Getting a prescription for an emotional support animal can be anywhere from filling out an online application, to scheduling an appointment at a local doctor’s office or even visiting an urgent care.

There has even been talk about someone in the local area who will prescribe an emotional support animal to people without ever meeting them. All it takes is filling out a sheet and an exchange of cash.

Because of the easiness of obtaining a prescription, many people get an emotional support animal without mental health reasons.

People masquerade their pets as emotional support animals in order to bypass the strict rules that many apartment complexes have about animals on their properties.

I haven’t heard of any single-student, university-approved, apartments that are pet friendly.

Because the marketplace is void of this type of housing, people in the area abuse the power of emotional support animals.

Just because pet friendly housing isn’t available, does it make it okay to lie in order to have an animal?

No, it doesn’t. It causes true harm to the people who actually need them.

People who wrongfully use the ability to obtain an emotional support animal degrade those who actually need them. They damage the emotional support animal brand.

Apartment complexes have become warier of those who approach them and say they are in need of an emotional support animal. Because of this, they have begun to create strict rules regarding animals on their properties.

Some of these rules include: having the ability to blacklight apartments, requiring a feces sample from the animal or having the prescription presented to them run by their lawyers.

Sometimes this process can take a significant amount of time. This leaves the people who are in need of an emotional support animal without one while the process takes place.

This year, the Utah House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor offense to lie about an emotional support animal.

I don’t think taking punitive measures is a good solution to this issue.

We should be honest with ourselves. We know that lying about needing one is wrong. Although you may not think your actions cause harm, it is truly damaging to the brand of emotional support animals.

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