Emotional Support Animals in Michigan

Under Michigan law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities are able to bring service animals to any public area. Per the ADA, a service animal is a dog that is "individually trained" to "perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” The tasks a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

 

However, under Michigan law the use of emotional support animals is not permitted. An emotional support animal is classified as an animal that is not necessarily trained but provides emotional and psychological stability to its owner. Under the current laws in Michigan, a movie theatre has to allow a service animal but can refuse a guest with an emotional support animal.

 

After attending a town hall in Ann Arbor and hearing about the incredible impact that emotional stability animals can provide to their owners, I realized how the current laws can be unfair to segments of our population suffering psychological disorders such as PTSD and depression. Should the laws in Michigan be adjusted to accommodate the use of emotional support animals? What would the effect be on local businesses and their guest policies? Why or why not would this be a good idea?

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