The federal ADA law states that services animals are to be allowed into all public accommodation. A service animal is defined as a dog that is trained and certificated to perform a task related to an individual’s disability. South Carolina has extended its state law to include all assistive animals.
The definition for assistive animals as defined by South Carolina law is very vague but states that any animal that helps an individual with a physical or mental disability that prevents them from performing one or more normal daily tasks is an assistive animal.
This means that your emotional support animal is protected under South Carolina law if you have a disability that has been documented and prevents you from doing normal day-to-day tasks. This can be anxiety, depression, or anything else. South Carolina is one of the few states that offers protection for emotional support animals.
The only public accommodation that is not required by law to allow all service animals or emotional support animals in South Carolina is any church or religious building. This includes any daycares or anything else that is run out of the building or property.
Restrictions on Emotional Support Animals
Since South Carolina does not exclude emotional support animals from its protection law against all service and assistive animals, there are no restrictions as to where you can bring your emotional support animal except churches or religious buildings. This means you can take them shopping with you or to do any other normal day-to-day activities you might need them to accompany you.
Having your emotional support animal with you can make the entire process go a lot smoother if you are someone who suffers from anxiety or any other mental illness that might require you to have an animal to comfort you in the situation. This can make your day go by a lot easier and relieve a lot of stress you might normally experience.
Even though your animal is protected under the same law as service animals, it is still illegal to imply that your emotional support animal is a service animal. They are considered two different types of animals in the eyes of the law and should be known as such. You should never put a vest on your emotional support animal that states it is a service animal unless it has been trained to be such.
Different Types of Laws for Emotional Support Animals
Since emotional support animals are considered assistive animals and protected under the law, they are allowed to enter all public accommodations that service animals are allowed to enter. It is illegal for a business to ask for proof of your service or assistive animal and to ask about your disability.
This is not the case for flying or housing. Under the Fair Housing Act, no one is allowed to deny an individual housing because of their assistive animal, but they are allowed to ask for proof that you need the animal. This is because rentals that are not pet-friendly are required to allow emotional support animals on the property. They are also not allowed to charge any deposits or fees for your assistive animals. This does not include any damages your pet does to the place. It is important to make sure your animal does not damage the location in any way.
Service dogs are allowed to fly in the cabins of airplanes for free, but this no longer applies to emotional support animals. The Air Carrier Access Act which had protected emotional support animals now only covers service dogs. Even if you do have a service dog, the airline can require you to fill out a form about your dog before a flight. This form will often ask about your dog’s training as well as ensure that your dog can relieve itself without making a mess.
If you have an emotional support dog you would like to bring into the cabin of an airplane, your only option would be to see if you can take it as a carry-on inside a small carrier that can be stowed under your seat. Obviously, this will not be possible for every ESA. Otherwise, you can try to train your emotional support dog to be a psychiatric service animal, which is a dog that performs tasks that relieve mental health distress.
Providing proof is very simple. All you have to do is register your emotional support animal someplace that is reputable and keep your documents on file. It is important to have these documents with you when you travel or move so that you can make sure you and your pet can take advantage of all the protections that are provided to you by law.
Why Emotional Support Animals Are Important
Emotional support animals provide comfort and a sense of security to those that might suffer from emotional illness or disabilities. They allow the individual not to feel so alone or deal with stressful situations more easily. There are many individuals who might benefit from an emotional support animal.
These individuals can be someone who suffers from any type of illness or disability that might make them feel different from other people, cause them to have stress about normal day-to-day situations, or someone how might have PTSD and need comfort when experiencing an episode. For some, emotional support, animals are just as important as service animals.
Why You Should Register Your Animal With USSA
It is important to always have your registration current and on you at all times, just in case. Not all states have the same laws when it comes to emotional support animals, and having your registration makes sure that even when you are traveling your animal will be protected, and there is no risk of you having to experience any inconvenience due to lack of paperwork.
USSA makes it very simple and easy to register your emotional service animal. Some sites might not follow the proper laws and procedures when registering your service animal and therefore will make the registration invalid. This is not the cause with USSA. When you register with USSA, you can be sure that your emotional service animal will be protected and you will receive the right documents.
USSA makes registration very simple. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and answer a few questions. Then you will receive your registration and be able to start enjoying the protection provided to you by your state and federal law. USSA also provides a place to receive a doctor’s note if this is needed. USSA can take care of all your emotional support and service animal needs.