Jan
03
2014

Dog Bite Liability Insurance: The Debate over Emotional Support Dogs

Dog Bite Liability Insurance The Debate over Emotional Support Dogs

A great deal of research has been done to suggest that emotional support animals, or ESAs, can be beneficial. James Serpell is the director of the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. He says some research indicates that animal interventions can help encourage social interactions and reduce behavioral outburst in some children with autism-spectrum disorders as effectively as other conventional treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Some owners of these animals say that having them allows them to reduce how much medication they take. An individual that might suffer from depression or a debilitating condition such as arthritis could benefit from simply petting a dog, thus showing the advantage of emotional support dogs.

There is no national certification program or registration for any type of emotional assistive animal. They require no special training, just a doctor’s note saying that the pet helps the patient. This can be incredibly advantageous for people who truly need these animals and whose landlords would have otherwise not allowed dogs. Their dogs may not raise any problems whatsoever if the they are well-behaved. However, there are critics who see another side to the emotional support dogs subject, and see the fact that no special training is required for these dogs as a disadvantage instead of an advantage.

Businesses, restaurants, airlines, etc. all have the right to ban animals from their establishments, except if the animal is defined as a service animal. According the AKC director Mary Burch, people with disabilities may lose their public access rights if this system is abused. What she is speaking to, is the fact that a “service dog” is to be allowed into business establishments with no questions asked. However, business owners often do not know where or how to draw the line between a true service dog and an ESA. The fear some business owners have is that this creates a liability issue for employees or other customers who may be injured by the animal, thus making businesses hesitant to let any type of assistive dog into their facility.

It’s important as a dog owner to understand that even the best-behaved dog can injure a person with a bite, whether it’s out of fear, from being startled, or even being overly playful. The best way to reduce your Dog Bite Liability risks is by purchasing a Covered Canine Policy from the Federation of Insured Dog Owners. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 534-6495.

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