US Service Animals – National Pet Preparedness Month

June is National Pet Preparedness Month

We like to think of summer as the perfect time of year for relaxation and fun in the sun. But June is more than just the first month of summer; it also marks the opening of the Atlantic hurricane season. This makes June the ideal time for pet owners to develop a plan of action in case of an emergency. Many of us could not imagine leaving our family behind during an emergency, but for those with disabilities, leaving behind a service or support animal is simply not an option. Service dogs provide vital assistance to their disabled owners, while those who suffer from conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. would need their emotional support animals more than ever. Those who are forced to evacuate their homes for safety tend to experience even more fear and helplessness during a disaster. If a person has preexisting conditions, a natural disaster can make symptoms worse.

Know Your Options

Service dogs have rights in public spaces, such as hotels and public shelters. While it is not required by law for service dogs to wear identifying vests, it could make it easier and less stressful to have your dog sport a vest anyway. It is against the ADA to refuse a service dog or ask for proof of your disability, but it may happen in the chaos of an emergency. It is unlikely that a shelter or hotel would try to prevent you from bringing a well-behaved service dog with you, but if someone demands proof or tries to turn you away, identifiable vests and documentation may convince them to let you in. Emotional support animals do not share the same public rights as service dogs. Emotional support animals have rights guaranteed by the FHA, but public spaces such as shelters and hotels have the right to turn away emotional support animals. Airlines will also charge a pet fee, and may make your ESA ride in cargo. With this in mind, it would be beneficial to call ahead and find emergency shelters and hotels that accept animals. There are several hotels that are pet-friendly, but because ESAs do not share the same rights as service animals, you might be responsible for pet fees.

Take Your Doctor’s Letter

A Doctor’s letter for an emotional support animal is required for housing rights. It is vital that you don’t leave this letter behind. If you go through one of our doctor’s evaluations for a letter, we will have a copy of it in our system. If something happens to your letter, we can replace it in a timely manner. Our letters are guaranteed with legal support, which will be handy should anyone challenge your rights. We are available 24/7 to call for legal support should anyone challenge your rights or if you need a replacement. For a list of local emergency shelters, call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Here are a few affordable hotel chains that are *pet-friendly: Red Roof Inn Days Inn Americas Best Value Inn Best Western Holiday Inn Quality Inn Ramada Inn Drury Inn Super 8 La Quinta Inn & Suites Motel 6 Candlewood Suites Marriott Travelodge Loews Hotels *One pet-friendly hotel in a chain does not automatically mean all locations are pet-friendly, so it is still a good idea to call ahead of time.