Recently, on Good Men Project, CEO and Co-Founder of ESADoggy Chaz Stevens discussed the legal and logistical requirement of air travel with a psychiatric service dog.
Considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act, psychiatric service dogs are entitled to numerous federally protected rights.
- Access to public places denied to pets and emotional support animals.
- Traveling, without fees, in the main cabin of an aircraft
- Access to housing fair accommodations.
Suitable training is a requirement under Federal law for a psychiatric service dog, and the animal must:
- Display good public behavior.
- Perform work directly related to the handler’s emotional or mental disability.
Verification via the General Public Access Test (PAT).
The public access test consists of two-parts and will assess whether the service animal:
- Is under good control
- Can effectively respond to basic commands
- Safely interacts with people and other dogs
Distractions, like hugging/petting and food treats, are introduced during test to gauge the canine’s response.
To become PAT-certified, the dog must successfully have completed a series of 10 tests.
Tasks for a Psychiatric Service Dog.
A specially trained psychiatric service dogs can offer assistance to individuals suffering from various psychiatric disabilities. Assistance can include:
- Help during panic attacks
- Fetching pills
- Support with mobility issues
Appropriate behavior and good public manners are essential traits of a well-trained psychiatric service dog.
Performing Work Directly Related to a Disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all services dogs to perform a specific task or type of work that is directly related to the handler’s emotional disability.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “…a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.”