A recent research, on the subject of the role of emotional support animals, conducted by Dr. Phyllis Erdman, Ph.D. Professor at the Washington State University reexamined the role of this group of animals and what is the best way to apply them in the community.

emotional support animalsESA, or emotional support animal, unlike a service or guide dog, is not required to have special training in order to do its “job” but just needs to be present near the owner in emotionally difficult and stressful situations. These situations involve plain rides, classes at the university, taking tests etc. In comparison with official service and guide dogs, emotional support animals do not fall under the “Americans with Disabilities Act”.

Dr. Erdman’s research was done in a way of a survey, where 248 university counseling centers where asked about their policy for ESA and how many official requests from students they received for their ESA to be allowed in class. The numbers showed that 57% of the counseling centers never even received such a request, and 31% received requests several times a year, and only 2% on weekly basis.

They also researched about the effects emotional support dogs have on people, especially jurors when they are present at the courthouse. According to the research of Dawn McQuiston, Ph.D. of Wolford College, having a witness with an emotional support animal plays a huge role on how the jurors see the witness, and they see it as a victim all the time. According to this study, having a sweet dog standing next to the witness box can make the defendant appear more believable and sympathetic.

Read the original article, “Roles of emotional support animals examined”.

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