Lying about Service Animals

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I have to agree with the Gov. There is a massive difference between a trained Service dog and some “emotional support” animal.

Call me an animal hater if you want, but IMHO MOST “emotional support” animals are just an excuse for people to not have to pay to take their fluffy doggie or kitty wherever they go without paying for the priviledge.

People who have real trained Service dogs – seeing eye, and medical support animals – require them. Service dogs aren’t there to make the person fell all warm and fuzzy; they are there to perform specific tasks which the human cannot do for themselves.

I’ll accept a emotional support animal when I can be accepted for the emotional support puma that I need to make me feel good about surviving Viet Nam when a lot of my friends didn’t.


I agree @KenH. I am curious as to how this would work though since its illegal to ask for proof of Service training etc…

Yep. Misrepresenting a pet as a service animal is one thing - misrepresenting it as an emotional support animal is quite another. Mostly, people lie not to blag their way into Airbnbs and get away without paying the pet fee, but to get the animal on a plane without paying.

I have been told that service and emotional support pets must be with their owners at all times so when I get an inquiry I let them know that the dog is not permitted to be left alone in the house. This seems to discourage them.


So someone could take their emotional support horse on a plane with them? Or their emotional support mouse into a restaurant? What about if the owner has to go into hospital? Their emotional support rabbit can be given the adjacent bed?

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I have never understood Airbnb’s rule about not being able to ask for documentation. It seems unreasonable to me. I was rather shocked to discover that friends of mine had ordered a fake service animal vest for their chihuahua. Not only is it dishonest, it is rather dangerous in this instance. That dog is a nipper. No legitimate service animal is aggressive and while you should never pet a service animal without permission, it is not uncommon for someone to assume a service animal is friendly.

All that said, I do allow pets with a fee and some rather strict(er) rules and no one has ever claimed a service animal and tried to avoid the fee.

It’s not airbnb’s rule to not be able to ask. It’s federal law


Ah! Thank you for the clarification.

Did anyone have guests with real service animals? I was fortunate I didn’t, but pardon my ignorance, these people will have to have another human book for them and a human drive them. The dog can’t do these.

And thank God I havent had the animal support ones either. Nowadays I learned you can get a fake animal support certificate from the internet.

I think there was a host in this group who said he’s so allergic to dogs he would die. Service dogs or not.

Why would they need someone else to book for and drive them?? I know a gentleman qho is a quadriplegic who surfs the internet and does all manner of things including drive. He has a service dog who will help by bringing him certain items and calling for help qhen needed. Not every disabled person or their needs is the same.

And as far as hosts with severe allergies- there are rules to allow those hosts to deny animals. I dont know all the ins and outs but as it pertains to my in-home listing,I do not have to accept animals.


Yep, why can’t the horse/mouse/rabbit do it?

Sorry but I don’t see why someone who claims their pet is an emotional support animal can’t book and drive. And people who genuinely need service animals can certainly use the internet -and even people who can’t see can call for taxis.

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About twice a year we have one of these threads about ESA’s vs service dogs, Airbnb policy vs federal law, fake vs real, etc. I always like to remind everyone that you can pretty much do what you want until the guest complains (that’s true of everything isn’t it?)

Ken, is it really necessary to be a jerk about it? I’m glad you survived Viet Nam physically and mentally intact. Your assertion that anyone who didn’t and benefits from an ESA is a lesser person than you is completely uncalled for. I know people personally who work with the Warrior Transition Unit here and have soldiers who have been helped, who argue their lives have been saved, by their ESA’s.

For everyone who needs the refresher course:


There’s actually a couple of real cases of people taking emotional support pigs on planes, and they went berserk during takeoff or landing.

Ew. And I can imagine what pigs do when they go berserk.

I am very fond of animals but I also believe that companies such as airlines have an obligation towards their human passengers. What if someone has an emotional support cat on a plane, for example, and the person in the next seat has a severe cat allergy? What if someone takes an emotional support peacock on a plane (Google it, someone did) and a passenger has a genuine bird phobia and freaks?

I understand that some airlines are cracking down on the whole emotional support thing. Florida is in general too:

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I was just in my corner deli on 71st and Columbus in NYC and I saw a guy in shorts and a tee-shirt with two dogs on a leash - no vests or anything on either dog - walks in and around the store. I asked the counter guy if dogs were allowed and he said that the NYC food license says ‘no dogs except service dogs,’ but he is not allowed to ask anyone with a dog to leave OR ask them if it is a service dog. Technically, if the NYC Food Service licensing board could document people coming in and out with non-service related animals he could lose his food vending license. Something is broken in this system.

I think the fakers are making it harder for people with real disabilities.

Whenever I see blind people in the subway without a service animal, its kind of like they’re walking through the gauntlet. People are rushing all around them and occasionally bump into them. I saw a blind woman once with a seeing eye dog. A little girl bumped into the dog or something and there was some kind of commotion. The blind woman was crouched on the floor holding her dog because she had no idea what was happening. It has to be terrifying to be alone and blind in a public place like that.

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I will forgive your ignorance and try to educate you that this is not true. Many people with legitimate service animals are more than capable of doing these tasks (and many others) on their own. For example, although not very common, I know high ranking military officers with legitimate service dogs. They still serve on active duty and they do not need to have their service dogs with them at all times (which is what makes the waters all the more muddy, I know).

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Thank you for that link. It’s good to be reminded of the true value of ESA’s when almost all airbnb-coverage on them is overwhelming negative. Like so many things in life, the selfish ****s among us spoil things for everyone else, humans and animals alike.