EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL FRAUD
Service animals, particularly "emotional support animals" (ESA) have been in the news a lot lately. More and more people are getting animals that help them cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental ailments. This program has merit and I personally know people that have been helped by a support animal.
Unfortunately, the standards are very loose and fraud has become rampant. Search for news articles on service animals and you'll read about people flying on airlines with dogs, cats, snakes, rabbits, and even turkeys! The rental market has seen miniature horses, llamas, turtles, and much more. Airlines have all but given up trying to regulate it.
We all know a large percentage, possibly the vast majority, are simply claiming the need for an emotional support animal so they can fly with their pet without paying the cost of shipping them. The sad thing is, many health care providers don't understand the potential problems. A patient asks for a "prescription" for an emotional support animal and the doctor writes it up. What could be the harm in that, right? Well, it creates a lot of problems when these patients travel on a plane or rent an apartment and allow their untrained animal to cause problems.
Fortunately, states are starting to take a stand against the rampant fraud. In Wyoming, HB0114 was introduced and is expected to pass and go into effect July 1st, 2017. It confirms protections for service animals but also creates a penalty for anyone caught knowingly or intentionally misrepresenting their animal as a service animal.
As a property manager in Cody, Wyoming, I have a solid screening process in place to help protect your property. We remain current on federal, state, and local law to ensure your property is protected.
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