What to Do If You Face Restrictions with Your Emotional Support Dog

Law Blog

If you are suffering from stress, depression, anxiety or another related medical condition then you know that certain dogs can come to your aid as an emotional support animal. This can be more than just comforting and, for many people, can represent a lifeline as they try to go about their normal daily activities. Yet you may be confused when it comes to access if you are accompanied by one of these animals, and you may have already encountered an issue here or there because of your emotional support animal. What is the law surrounding this type of animal, and what can you do about the situation?

Support or Assistance?

Unfortunately, Australian law is rather vague when it comes to this type of animal. While some people may think that it is an assistance dog and is therefore carefully covered under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, it is actually classified as an 'emotional support' dog instead and is not covered in the same way.

Understanding the Difference

The distinction is based on the fact that an assistance animal is seen as a medical aid and typically trained so that they can carry out specific tasks, in order to help their handlers. The emotional support animal, on the other hand, is simply present in order to provide comfort and companionship for the person and, in this respect, does not meet any legislated requirements.

Facing Restriction

Therefore, in certain circumstances, you will not be able to take your emotional support animal into a public facility, and this may cause you additional distress. You find it difficult to differentiate between one type of dog or another in this situation and would rather not face any restriction as you try to deal with your disability.

Getting Certification

You may find it beneficial to talk with a certified health professional to see if you can get some form of documentation to describe your disability in detail. This may enable you to apply for a permit to classify your emotional support dog as an assistance dog instead. In this way, it can accompany you into a wide variety of places where you might otherwise be unable to go.

Taking Action

If you're finding it difficult to make headway, then you should get in touch with a lawyer who specialises in pet-related issues. They should understand the pet laws and may be able to connect the dots for you so that you can get your loving companion properly certified and can go about your life once again.


28 May 2019

Dealing With Divorce

Hello, my name is Sandra. I live with my two children in Eastern Australia. I have recently come through a very difficult divorce. My ex-partner used to drink too much and he wasn't a very good husband or father. The final straw was when I discovered he was having an affair. I filed for divorce the same day. I knew that getting divorced would be difficult but I didn't realise just how difficult. My husband did all he could to make it hard for me and the kids. Thankfully, I found a fantastic family lawyer who helped me through the entire process. I won custody of the kids and my husband has been asked to pay child support. I decided to start this blog to help others who are going through a divorce.