Going To The Dogs? Therapy Animals Rise 1400 Percent In One Year At Yale

200px-official_yale_shieldWe have followed the continuing difficulties on airlines where the increasing number of therapy dogs has caused rising complaints from passengers and staff alike, including the recent bizarre case on Frontier Airlines. Universities are facing the same pressures as more students demand the right under federal law to bring their therapy pets to campus and their dormitories.  At Yale, the number of such animals have increased from just one last year to 14 animals this year.  This the increase has come complaints of constant barking and other inconveniences.

The Yale Daily News reported the increase and complaints from other students.

The problem for universities is that the  federal Fair Housing Act ostensibly makes it illegal to deny reasonable accommodations for service animals, including emotional support animals. In 2013, HUD put out a notice that read in part:

“This notice explains certain obligations of housing providers under the Fair Housing Act (FHAct), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities. The Department of Justice’s (DOT) amendments to its regulations’ for Titles II and III of the ADA limit the definition of “service animal” under the ADA to include only dogs, and further define “service animal” to exclude emotional support animals. This definition, however, does not limit housing providers’ obligations to make reasonable accommodations for assistance animals under the FHAct or Section 504. Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for any assistance animal, including an emotional support animal, under both the FHAct and Section 504. In situations where the ADA and the FHAct/Section 504 apply simultaneously (e.g., a public housing agency, sales or leasing offices, or housing associated with a university or other place of education), housing providers must meet their obligations under both the reasonable accommodation standard of the FHAct/Section 504 and the service animal provisions of the ADA.”

While there is still a debate over the impact of such animals, universities are caught between a federal mandate and rising complaints. It is a very similar situation to the one face by airlines.

In 2013, a student was given a $40,000 settlement after the 28-year-old student was prevented from carrying her pet guinea pig campus at Grand Valley State University.


31 thoughts on “Going To The Dogs? Therapy Animals Rise 1400 Percent In One Year At Yale”

  1. Really disgusting the way Americans worship dogs these days. Don’t get me started.

  2. Tim – I appreciate the offer, but I am straight as an arrow. However, if that changes, I will let you know. 😉

  3. Guinea pigs make great dorm animals – I had one the first year of college. Sweet little guy still did not prevent me from flunking out though =)

  4. While Harvey does not like to fly with me because they never have earphones that fit right, he does walk me to my favorite bars at the airport.

    1. Most of our society goes without love.

      No, Jill. You’re going without love because you’ve driven people away from you.

      1. Not true. I love Jill’s posts. She is a genuine and compassionate person.

    2. Yes, Jill! My thoughts exactly. They’ve gotten into Yale as a result of the 24/7 total academic pressure given by their parents starting at birth. No real love. No real friendships. What a cold existence. In fact, I can tell that your parents don’t love you by the very fact that they would send you to a place like Yale! My girlfriend is a child psychiatrist. Her best client is a boarding school for “highly intelligent” teenagers. Another girlfriend was a school nurse at a boarding school. She said most her work there consisted of mothering kids who hadn’t known real emotional support from their own moms.

  5. This reminds me of the stress card experiment during the 1990’s in the military. Recruits were handed an information card for support services when they entered boot camp to know what was available when they were feeling overwhelmed. No joke. Of course some knucklehead’s thought they were something you could wave in the face of the drill instructor. That went over as well as you would expect.

    Fortunately the military still teaches these young men and women that life doesn’t care what your stress level is. It breaks down whatever coping methods you’ve acquired and then teaches you how to cope in highly stressful situations. One of my primary responsibilities as a Chief Petty Officer was to train Junior Officers. These are college graduates who in most cases went through what we called knife and fork school. They’d of course be educated and able to not look like I moron in front of the Captain in the wardroom, but they often lacked the skills to handle the stresses of the job. I was their emotional support animal, but I don’t ever recall a JO so emotionally soft that they couldn’t cope. I retired in 1999, so I pray this sort of nonsense hasn’t infected our military.

  6. Many of us build positive relationship with our pets, especially our dogs. Dog owners need to realize that no matter how much we love our dogs, they are often offensive to others. Many dogs bark and jump up on visitors, get dog hair all over our homes and our clothing, bring dirt and insects into the house. They get dog hair on the clothing of visitors and many people have allergies to animal hair. Nobody likes dog drool.

    People often avoid visiting dog-owning friends for those reasons. Many people avoid those who spend too much time talking about their dog(s). I have a relative whose phone is filled with hundreds of pictures of her dogs – which she enjoys showing to others. Nobody enjoys looking at them.

    Animals are best left in the wild where they are perfectly able to care for themselves and don’t need to be “managed”, fed, thinned, tagged, killed, eaten, or domesticated by humans who have an affinity for dominating others.

    1. Much of the same could be said of children. Nobody is interested in your children except you. Nobody thinks they are particularly interesting, cute, charming or intelligent. I remember drifting away from friendships when they had children, because the parents, especially the mothers, were utterly fascinated with their kids and thought single people would be as well, and proceeded to bore us to bloody death with pictures, anecdotes, etc. I would be just as interested in their cats or goldfish. Of course, you have to be polite and feign interest, but you’re just dying to get away. But then when you have your own children, you forget all that and start torturing others with pictures and stories, and OMG, piano recitals!!!

      1. Nobody is interested in your children except you.

        I think you’re projecting, TIN. I’ve had no trouble taking a (selective) interest in friends’ children, shirt-tails, cousins a generation down.

  7. They are just a form of pet rock so broaden your scope to the animal and vegetable world. I wish to have an emotional support cacti or maybe a form of ivy,sumac, or oak. In shorter version where does it end?

  8. Universities should not be so dogmatic on this issue. No one is entitled to a woof over their head.

  9. Why is this not the surprising consequence of the ADA and the must-have-it-my-way society we now live in? Solution — Roommate A in the dorm gets a therapy Guinea pig. Roommate B is opposed to it. Obtains therapy pit bull to help with fear-of-getting-mugged anxiety. Problem with rodent solved.

  10. I remember in the 70s there were a lot of guys who kept snakes, boas etc. One friend of mine had one in an empty fish tank. He would buy rats and guinea pigs from a guy who raised them in his basement for the snake owners. People were somewhat transient in this crowd and after a year or two my friend had over a dozen fish tanks in his apartment from friends who went away to work or school. Then he got rid of them.

    Imagine a collision between the snake people, PETA, and the pet support people; guinea pig support woman meets snake support guy on a plane.

    1. Yup. In any case, having a legal pet in the dorm takes all the fun and excitement out of having a contraband pet, like a cat.

  11. Yale huh – isn’t that where recently a student called the cops because a black student was taking a nap and she somehow felt threatened? What a joke.

  12. I have seen this up-close, and it’s just more millennial entitlement. Most of them use doctor’s excuses as just that – a convenient excuse to be able to bring their pets wherever they go. There are frequently zero legitimate mental health justifications, and the kids know it. The more we capitulate, the worse this is all going to get. At some point we are all going to have to put our grown-up pants back on.

      1. Suze – if I pick the right support animal (human) I will let them share my bed. 😉

          1. TIN – please ponder the implications, they are endless. 😉

  13. If the “emotional support animal” is causing a disruption the property owner has cause to demand its removal.

    The medical and psychiatric governing agencies should be reasonable about animals that can be considered necessary. I fail to see any basis of why a pot bellied pig cannot be substituted for a small dog, if there is to be a legitimate prescription for this service animal, which most are no more than pets in the ordinary sense.

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