An emotional support animal can’t provide much in the way of emotional support if it can’t be where the patient will need the support the most. However, rightfully so, not every emotional support animal is needed to be with the patient beyond the home. This is where the need for a Mental Health Support Animal comes in. This is also where the need to regulate this class so it can be accepted and regarded with legitimacy.
A Mental Health Support Animal once registered will be registered for life. The registration status is what will be important to the public. Inactive will be in Red, and will imply that the animal is not in support as an Mental Health Support Animal and if it falls under the requirements as an Emotional Support Animal, receives the protections as such only. Probationary will be in yellow, and will imply a period of training or to determine the role of benefit to the patient. Any business, resource, or group that receives public or government funding must accept a Mental Health Support Animal with a Probationary Status. In which case, the animal has the same access rights as a service animal except with regards to private businesses which is then regarded in the same regulation as an emotional support animal. With a probationary status, there is no handler identified as required as there maybe some training required that the patient may not be able to do. Active Status will be in green and imply that the animal has the same rights as a service animal as long as the support animal is with the person it is intended to help.
Only authorized public entities may require to see the animal’s ID, and seek to verify. A customer in a fast food restaurant may not demand that the patient provides ID, but a cashier clerk may. If an unauthorized member of the public asks to see the ID, it is up to the patient to decide if they wish to. In any event, the patient doesn’t have to disclose the disability, or the role of the animal. If the animal has an active or probationary status, this will be validation enough.
The more strict requirements for the patient, and the animal should appease any concerns the public will have of abuse. The requirements of registration should reduce or eliminate the potential of fraud, or at least make the efforts of fraud not worth the reward. In turn the public will treat a Mental Health Support Animal just as if it was a service dog. In turn the ID requirements will alleviate the need to question disability.