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ESA/Service Animal question

ESA question: I understand service animals are generally dogs occasionally horses. And so if someone notifies me that they are bringing an ESA (not service animal), can I ask if it is a dog and if not do I have to accept it? I appreciate that someone notified me that they would like to bring an ESA and if that’s OK they will request to stay. But they didn’t say what kind of animal. I would not prefer to have a cat because of the hair and allergies, previous damage and because they tend to spray everywhere.

See this page on the Airbnb site.

If you don’t want a particular type of animal, ask the guest and act accordingly.

Personally, I would not accept an animal that wasn’t a trained service animal. Our HOA bans dogs. Oh, and I would certainly never accept a horse!

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The only way to get attention f rom airbnb is, apparently, to send Feedback–in large number. This is what I posted to them:

In my 3 years hosting, I have never known Airbnb to actually respond to, nor do anything about, feedback from hosts. Right now you are just ignoring a bunch of angry hosts, and pretty soon, your new Dec 8 marketing tactics might lead to having to ignore a bunch of angry guests. Perhaps, I am looking too far into the future to submit that you eventually risk being ignored back.

Here is why all these hosts, including myself, are angry:

You are misrepresenting the American Disabilities Act, thus putting hosts in awkward legal positions.

Your new (Dec 8, 2021) marketing tactic, unduly, exposes hosts to risks, as follows:

  • the “pets allowed” property search filter has vanished.

  • the booking menu ignores ‘per night’ pet fees and forces a host to settle on a ‘per stay’ fee, not to mention the inability to allow a cap on the per night. My house rules state that $20 x night, with a max of 7 nights, for those guests who stay longer. Rather than having your CS staff string hosts along by saying that you are working on ironing out the technical glitches, it would be more appropriate to clarify your position and stand behind it–you are not a hospitality company, you are a tech company, and if you don’t intend to change the new booking platform to allow hosts to implement their own pet fee structures, I would not be alone to appreciate the transparency.

  • the booking menu now encourages people to check and see if their dog can pass off as ESA with a link, in bold underlined, that says: “Do you have an assistance animal?” Furthermore, a Service Dog is NOT a pet and raising the questions next to the “how many pets” option, is an invitation to compound misguided perceptions of guests’ rights. Incidentally, I have an ESA dog myself, and I know exactly where I can, cannot and should not, bring my dog (like no-pet hotels for example.)

  • the booking menu newly advertises “If you’re lucky enough to have more than 2 pets with you, be sure to let your host know,” the implication being that you no longer have to notify a host if you are only bringing 1 or 2, never even mind a pet fee. You might as well add a link next to the number of guest selection, that says “If you’re lucky enough to have 5 friends that you want to invite for a get together, be sure let your host know" so you can let the “no events allowed” hosts duke it out with guests who take your alliance with them to the next level.

Giving too many liberties to guests is irresponsible, undermines your hosts and frankly gives off a whiff of desperation to attract guests, perhaps out of fear of new competitors such as Booking, Expedia and now even Google itself. A company culture based on the notion that hosts want to please their guests because they care about their success, goes a long way.

Your new marketing tactics are likely to generate many unpleasant situations that, while they will certainly damage the individual host, are eventually bound to damage you as well. Even through the lenses of corporate marketing, I don’t understand how you could benefit from antagonizing your hosts like this, while misrepresenting the law.

If I cried out discrimination over a no-pet Hilton refusing my ESA dog, they would laugh me all the way to the Supreme Court. And I will do the same to a guest who latches on to your recommendations, self righteously showing up with an unannounced dog, pony, ferret or duck. And if that guest receives a last minute refund from you, taken out of my earnings, I will be forced to escalate.


You seem to be under the impression you are talking to Airbnb here. This is an independent host forum.

right, I edited it because bullet list was altering the format and I lost the initial sentence. fixing it now


I have a service dog.
Emotional support dogs are PTSD animals and aren’t recognized by the ADA as being able to enter into public areas.
It is illegal to ask for proof of a service animal.
Likely a service animal is going to be a dog.
Service animals and Emotional support animals are two different things.
You are allowed to ask what the “service” animal does for them.
You are NOT allowed to make them show you.
Not all hotels allow “service” animals.
Not all businesses allow service animals.
I don’t allow cats because of allergies.
I do not allow pets but in my description, but I advertise that if they bring a dog, it must be clean, well behaved and healthy. God forbid you get a flea ridden animal in your place, then you have a bigger problem.
I have had dogs, turtles, rabbits and a snake with guests. I had to draw the line with cats because of allergies.
So far, I have not had issues with people bringing animals and we have a specific area for the dogs to eliminate. We also supply dog waste bags.


Thank you for your explanation. I do not allow pets but I wouldn’t mind a service dog and I certainly wouldn’t refuse one. It’s th ESAs I have an issue with, mainly because people misrepresent their pets and they are often not trained or looked after as they should be. That Airbnb doesn’t discern between them or allow hosts to have any say in what kind of animal it is or how many is a disservice to people who do have service animals. IMO


All hotels are required to allow service animals. If you’ve had a hotel deny your service dog you should report them to the ADA.

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…to the Department of Justice at the federal level and to the attorney general of the state where the discrimination occurred.

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Yes, technically the Dept of Justice. It’s a civil rights violation and there’s an online reporting system. But the ADA website will link you directly to it. It’s easier than trudging through the DOJ website (and easier to remember too, I’m usually dealing with folks with cognitive issues).

Sorry I read that as report them to the Americans with Disabilities Act which is odd for a government teacher to read.


I hear you. I guess it’s a colloquialism. In the disabilities world and in healthcare, it’s always referred to that way, The ADA, like it’s a woman in a pant-suit with an old-timey rotary phone. Grammar be-damned. :joy:


At the time (1 year ago) I simply let them know I have a service dog. They said no dogs, not even service dogs, for the dogs safety because they have high human traffic. I did not argue, I just found a different hotel. My focus at the time was not to report them, my focus was to find a place to stay for a few days. If another person wants to report them, I’m sure they will. I was not interested in doing so at the time. I moved on rather than frustrate myself.
My main concern for my service dog is that she wears a vest with large lettering “Do not pet me or engage” and people pet her and hug her and let their kids do the same. If I tell them to please don’t pet her because she’s working, then I get attitude from them. That’s just an FYI for hosts who want to engage with a service dog, please don’t. They are working. Once their vest comes off, the dogs typically know it’s social time. But not all service dogs are trained that way. Mine is.

Some hosts don’t like service dogs because they eliminate outdoors. All pet owners should clean up after their animals, not all do. So I have a sign posted $10 fee for every “pile” I have to pick up. Never had an issues…yet


??? What, hosts prefer that the dog do its business in the house?


??? What, hosts prefer that the dog do its business in the house?

Don’t ask me…Ask the hosts who say that

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Weird. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

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IKR. I just told her I’d be coming with my service dog and she declined me because her lawn was impeccable and a dog would destroy it. I didn’t further her with any other questions. No biggie. I get that occasionally but there are plenty of other hosts and hotels who welcome a dog and a service dog. I don’t allow smoking and maybe some smokers don’t get that either.

Their first sentence states that it is something they posted to them (Airbnb). I think they’re just sharing it here.

Mind you this is for California. You would need to look up your state if you aren’t in California.

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Thanks to @CatskillsGrrl for this one:


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