INDIANAPOLIS- An emotional support peacock or rattlesnake? How about an emotional support tarantula? There’s a new state law on the books meant to cut down on emotional support animal fraud.
Emotional support animals are used by people dealing with all kinds of issues.
Sally Irvin, Founder of the Indiana Canine Assistance Network said Thursday, “Where the presence and comfort of that animal can provide relief of anxiety, relief of depression, relief even of a physical mobility impairment.”
But there are fakers out there.
State Senator Jean Leising, a Republican from Oldenburg, said “There was an apartment owner in the Lafayette area that had someone come in that had two cats and 10 rats. They said they were their emotional support animals. That’s how far and extreme it has gotten.”
Which is why State Senator Jean Leising created the bill that Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed into state law. Leising says under the new law, if someone’s disability isn’t obvious, their potential landlord can ask them for written proof from a doctor or licensed healthcare provider that they need the animal.
“I’m hopeful that it will eliminate people form trying to say that two cats and 10 rats are needed for them, because it doesn’t make sense,” Leising explained.”
Sally Irvin founded Indiana’s Canine Assistance Network . They train accredited service animals.
Irvin explained “I think it’s a huge step in a good direction.”
Leising explained “I don’t think anyone that has a true emotional support dog for instance, is going to have a problem getting documentation from their healthcare provider.”
Irvin said she feels like the new law stops people from using legit-looking emotional support animal registry websites where you pay a few bucks and get a letter that looks real.
“The bill does something pretty magnificent,” Irvin explained. “They said when you get a letter from your doctor or nurse practitioner, or psychologist, it needs to be someone that has an ongoing relationship with you.”
Irvin said she hopes the new law brings some peace of mind.
“Hopefully this bill will allow legitimate users of an emotional support animal some security in knowing the ones that are not playing by the rules are not going to be there to disrupt their dog.”
The new law takes effect July first.