Emotional support animals: has America's 'epidemic' gone too far?

Emotional support animals: has America's 'epidemic' gone too far?

Emotional support animals, or ESAs, have exploded across the US in recent years, with rising numbers of pet owners getting their animals certified online. Unlike in the UK, ESAs have legal status in the US on a tier below traditional service animals, but the backlash has begun – with critics complaining the system is being abused by regular pet owners who want to take their animals into unsuitable public spaces. The Guardian’s Richard Sprenger – animal lover but pet sceptic – meets ESA owners and their animals across North America.
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46 Comments

  1. I have a Leopard Gecko as an Emotional Support animal, because I love reptiles, but I can’t take him everywhere- lol

  2. Limit the genera allowed, then the size/weight of the "support" animal. Problem solved. There are always people who will act stupid if you leave a law like this open-ended.

  3. I’m sorry I just couldn’t watch anymore after hearing the word Paraplegic! The pain you feel is just Sir, and it’s still not about you. You should be caring for the needs of the Man you left paralyzed for the rest of his life.

  4. Wait, he made someone paraplegic and didn’t do time for that? They need to take away his alligator and lock him up for a decade or two

  5. Yeah, I almost got attacked by my classmate’s service dog. I did nothing but walking from front of the class to my seat. Needless to say, I screamed so loud that other people from other classes went out to see me.

  6. Service animals are protected by law. It’s much more murky when it comes to ESA’s, since so many are self-designated, or designated by online "ESA mills" that do no significant assessments.

  7. You kno jus upon certain closed minds seeing you with your emotional suport animals it has gone to almost riots I will say I’m ashamed of being part of my human race wen I see such dumies act so mean cus they can’t understand the way these folks feel they have a new lease on life and feel more able cus they feel better n secure to be aided with animals to do things leave these people alone jackasses theres no hox your minds can’t see it that’s all stupid minds .

  8. My black mamba, when she is lying in my enemy’s bed, is my "emotion support animal" … 😉

  9. I think that gator is pretty chill so if that guy wants to keep him as a pet that’s his business. Just so long as he doesn’t endanger anyone else. Also that thing’s gonna get BIG so he will NOT be able to go anywhere with him. That is one issue I would not allow, legally I mean.

  10. I dont get the issue, if someone needs an esa why does it matter whats animal it is, its not like its a service animals.

  11. It’s total exploitation of the policy and the pet lobby
    . It ruins it for the people that really need a support animal. People who really need it.
    Btw animals should be banned from every store. Period, you don’t need your dog or whatever with you while you shop it’s ridiculous

  12. I think this gone way to far. I have asked people with emotional support animals, what if I am allergic to your emotional support animal,and what I always get is…. not my problem. Then I say… why would I then care about your fight to have an emotional support animal. Gone way too far.

  13. What the hell is happening to America & it’s people?
    We cannot deal with life today or any day so we need animals to help us live better?
    Trump 2020 Keeping America Great Again. Its gonna get worse I think theres a bigger reason for these emotional support animals everyone whom has one registered with a doctors note will later be locked up in mental facilities unable to care for themselves. Its all part of Agenda 2030

  14. So lovely n so happy to watch humans love all kind of animals from small to big animals.. i loveee ❤❤ animals a lot. Be vegan pls ..

  15. Emotional support animals are NOT service animals! They are not trained, they are just emotional support.

  16. This guy is making an excuse for his gator saying service dogs have bitten people, real service dogs dont bite and if they do, they are stripped of their certifications immediatly. Amd its very rare for that to be the case because these dogs are extreemly well vetted and trained to undergo extreemly stressful situations and maintain focuse on their handler. Also an ESA is NOT allowed public acess…they CAN NOT go into resturants or stores or anywhere that pets arent allowed that right only belongs to Service dogs as they are trained to perfrom tasks that are needed to improve the quality of life of the handler. An ESA is not, a service dog is a tool or aide, an EMA is a comfort but not a tool or aide..also you cant train wild or exotic animals the way you can train dogs. You cant desensitize a gator to being lunged at by another animal or human, and if a gator bites, it will cause more damage than most dog bites.

  17. I much prefer to see a world where half of people walk around with a goat on a leash than one where everyone is cooked on opioids

  18. all animals are emotional support for their owner you shouldn’t need a certificate for your animal and your life leave averbody alone the controllers are never happy they always want more

  19. I know this is bad but Wally is actually kinda adorable. I’m not getting an alligator or anything but he’s actually kinda cute.

  20. I just like chickens because I have anxiety and I have never been so calmed by something before

  21. What concern me is that more and more people turn to animals for emotional support instead of fellow human being. Are we (as a whole society) really that bad towards each other? Are we so ignorant to our family, neighbors and friends that they feel more comfortable to ‘talk to’ wild animals than to us?

  22. Seems to me that if you have anxiety, PTSD, whaterver, that having an ESA would STUNT your ability to heal or effectively manage your condition, because you’re relying on something external to get you through that long line at the post office, motor vehicles, or crowds at the mall, etc. I’d be humiliated to ever tell someone that the dog at my side is for "emotional support." I wouldn’t want people to think I was mentally frail. I DO suffer from anxiety, insomnia and depression, but HELL if I’m ever going to allow these conditions to defeat me by bringing an animal with me everywhere I go. The best way to develop inner strength and independence is to go it alone without depending on stroking an animal to get you through public places. And by the way, I’ve had two dogs. They gave me great joy AT HOME. When it was time to go out in public, I simply put on my mental armour.

  23. It’s soooo pathetic grown adult people needing this. like babies that need a stuffed animal or blanket. Come on. Come on.
    I’m not talking about people with legitimate mental disorders. Is anxiety an epidemic now for gen z and millennial.
    Anxiety over WHAT? General life, come on.

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