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Emotional support animal

Coatimundis, Kinkajous, Raccoons, Ringtails, Cacomistles, Olingos

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Kristina
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Emotional support animal

Postby Kristina » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:42 pm

What are the steps I can take to make my Coon a , emotional support animal.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby pat » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:11 pm

Wish I could help. but, I think it might be a little harder for a raccoon. :shrug:
can you get a raccoon legal through your state?

all I found was this:
https://www.registermyserviceanimal.com ... ments.html

don't know if it is helpful
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:24 pm

I don't think it's a good idea or will work. If it does work then it will cause a change to the law like people doing this sort of thing did to service animals did and the species will become restricted to just dogs and cats or similar and then people wont be able to have little birds ir mice or ferrets all because someone wanted to have a raccoon where it wasn't legal.

The member who keeps touting this has not done it and is just his theory it will work. If you don't mind a long legal battle maybe and in the mean time your animal may be taken away till you win and if you win they will wind up changing the laws. It's not meant for exotics. It's meant to allow people to have a normal pet who need one for mental health reasons. Saying you need a raccoon, hyena, fox or other exotic for your mental health is not going to fly.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Ana » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:36 pm

I'm not sure why it would be different, because the relationship is so similar? But I wouldn't put my kids on the line to dispute it. :/
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Sparttan117 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:07 pm

If you can get a lisenced psychologist or therapist to write a letter saying that it would assist your mental health to have your raccoon with you, it can be registered as an emotional support animal. The bond that people have with their pets isn't something that can be forced upon them the same way a type of antidepressant pill can, so no one can say "Well, the bond you have with that animal is unreasonable so that won't work." There are no laws specifying what can and can't be an emotional support animal. I saw on a vet show that there is a guy in Texas with two kangaroos, two lemurs, two coatis, and a bunch of other animals that help him with PTSD.

There are many conditions that can qualify a person for an emotional support animal. In fact, the lawbooks state that if your doctor signs off that it can help your health, you have the go ahead. As long as the animal is not unreasonably aggressive and doesn't cost a landlord an unreasonable amount of money, an emotional support animal is considered a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. When I brought up the idea of an emotional support raccoon with my therapist, he said go ahead. We talked about how studies have shown that people have lots of contact with a pet have been shown to have less cortisol (a stress hormone) in their blood, which not only reduces stress, but also takes a lot of pressure off of the person's organs. In fact, it is a very real possibility that the reason that I have type 1 diabetes might be because of extreme stress in early childhood causing an increase in the stress hormones in my blood, which might have killed off cells in my pancreas when the cells couldn't survive in that environment. A little cortisol and adrenaline can help you in a stressful situation, but too much has been proven to cause organ damage.

Also, local breed bans cannot be applied to emotional support animals. As ruled in Warren v. Delvista Towers Condominium Association, "District Court found that changing a no pets policy for an emotional support animal was a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The court also found that enforcing the county ordinance would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice."

All of this is research that I have done personally or have gotten through my doctors, so I would HIGHLY suggest double checking with a lawyer before going through with legal registration of an ESA.

TL;DR: It is actually very possible that you could get an emotional support raccoon. Consult professionals of course, but there is a very real possibility that you could get it pushed through.

Edit: Warren v. Delvista Towers rulings can be found at https://www.animallaw.info/case/warren- ... m-assn-inc

TamanduaGirl wrote:The member who keeps touting this has not done it and is just his theory it will work.

While I haven't gone through with this yet, I have consulted both a licences psychologist and a lawyer about the topic. Both have said that they believe that it can be done and the lawyer said that she believes that it is possible for me to do this and use it to bring a raccoon to Colorado (where it is normally illegal to have a raccoon).

Out of curiosity, what prompted this idea?
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Ana » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:09 pm

I'm pretty sure it's due to living and working on a state border and having the raccoon's (and the family) travel extremely restricted due to this, while
a dog or other species would be free to go back and forth.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Kagney » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:29 pm

Ok, a little off-topic here, but since you mentioned that episode of The Vet Life, I'm going on a rant...

Sparttan117 wrote: I saw on a vet show that there is a guy in Texas with two kangaroos, two lemurs, two coatis, and a bunch of other animals that help him with PTSD.

I saw this episode too, and was borderline outraged. I can't believe that kind of operation was plugged by a nationally broadcast tv show. The guy was touting his menagerie as a "kid-friendly petting zoo, working especially with autistic children." He had a friggin' zebroid in his petting zoo! I would have found it a little more acceptable if they had pointed out that some of his animals were display-only but zero distinctions were made on that front. I hate the thought of the public seeing this and thinking that these kind of animals are just cuddly, kid-safe little teddy bears. People get hurt and animals suffer when you take for granted their natural instincts. (You'll notice that the kangaroos were just babies... can't imagine those sticking around in the "petting zoo" when they're fully grown.) AND I hope to God those were only holding cages he had those poor Coatis in. One XXL parrot cage divided in the middle for two coatimundis? That's not even close to the realm of acceptability. It makes me a little sick to think that someone could have seen that and thought "that's all the space I need for a coatimundi?! And they're kid-friendly?! I'm buying one tomorrow! I saw it on a vet show, so it must be okay!"
Ok, just had to get that out...

Kristina,
Sorry I don't have any real words of encouragement. It really sucks that you're backed into a legal corner. I agree with the other members in that you could be putting your baby at risk just by trying it. If its your only option, have a LONG talk with a lawyer first, and understand that even attempting it could mean having your raccoon seized. Weigh your options very carefully before you make a move.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:02 pm

Wow that does sound like an off episode for a vet show. One of the competing petting zoos at a fair we did had a zebra but it was the sort they are in pens and you walk a path and can pet over the fence not walk through with the animals and feed like ours was and think a couple were no petting and just look as well. We had wallabies, only females and neutered males, and were fine but a full grown roo would be a risk for sure. Even the deer were sometimes a bit risky. We only had females but one time had a couple stand up and start boxing because it was starting into fall. Normally they were docile though, just tried to eat people's clothes.

---
Another concern is for other exotic owners. If you do try this and it becomes a case it will be national news because they love stories like this, like the story of the guy who took an emotional support turkey on a plane. Airlines are already talking about changing their rules on what species will be allowed under that claim due to things like that and adds fuel to the fire of the public thinking all exotic owners are nuts and irresponsible.

Maybe if you go through your lawyer and clear this emotional support animal with the city/state that has the ban first could help prevent problems arising after you get it, which could include seizing till/if you get it cleared up in court. So doing all the legal clearing first would be best to protect your animal.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:15 pm

Okay found this case I remembered from a few years ago. He tried the ESA deal saying the lynx helps with his PTSD but since it was against state and city laws he was denied anyway. They we "kind" and gave him a month to move or put her down instead of seize right away. Most places will just seize them and here is precedent it wont work for exotics. A precedent case like this will usually be used to decide your case.

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-city/i ... p_pet.html
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Sparttan117 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:33 pm

TamanduaGirl wrote:Okay found this case I remembered from a few years ago. He tried the ESA deal saying the lynx helps with his PTSD but since it was against state and city laws he was denied anyway. They we "kind" and gave him a month to move or put her down instead of seize right away.

I understand that an ESA is not a sure shot, but I also have a backup plan. In Colorado, you can apply to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for a scientific collection permit for scientific research.

As someone who is going into veterinary medicine, has a background working at a zoo for over a year, and who will be volunteering at a wildlife rehab center this summer, I have a lot of experience around exotic animals. I have plans to test whether or not a raccoon could be used as a diabetic alert animal in college. The raccoon does have a great sense of smell and their paws also have chemoreceptors (nerve cells that sense chemicals like what animals have in their noses (that's how they can tell if something is food when they pick it up)), which they could use in the same way diabetic alert dogs use their nose to detect hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) through bodily hormones that the human body produces in response to blood sugar levels being abnormal. They have all of the tools required and they are smart enough to be trained to perform tasks. Even if the animal cannot be registered as a service animal, the experiment would be only to prove the animal's capabilities, which would be fair game for a scientific collection permit. All of this, howeverb, only applies to my situation. This is just an example of something that I would call a backup plan to an ESA registration. If it's worth risking, its worth making a backup for to minimize the risk involved.

Also, make sure you contact legal professionals before using something like this to bring an animal somewhere. No matter what you see on here, a lawyer and psychologist will be a far better resource to seek advice from. All we can do is point you in the right direction. Although we can set you on the path to success, a lawyer and psychologist are the only ones who would be qualified to take you on the legal path regarding this topic.

TL;DR: I plan to register a raccoon as an emotional support animal, but that is not my only plan to ensure its legality. ALWAYS have a backup in these situations where the animal could be euthanized if the law doesn't work in your favor.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:43 pm

If you could manage to get the permit for a study on a coon being an alert animal that would be neat. Pua used to wake me when my blood sugar was low and not leave me alone until I ate something. Now that she sleeps away from me she just wakes me for her to have treats but back then she'd not take treats and not leave me alone till I ate something, was pretty cool. Not diabetic but used to suffer from low blood sugar drops to the point actually passed out before(not had issues in ages so maybe finally "grown out of it", my dogs never seemed to care.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Sparttan117 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:13 pm

TamanduaGirl wrote:Pua used to wake me when my blood sugar was low and not leave me alone until I ate something.

This is a perfect example of how animals can sense when something's wrong and will alert those they consider to be a friend of what's wrong. With the proper training, especially considering how smart raccoons are, I'm sure that they could do the same (which I also have a personal interest in as a type 1 diabetic, but bias aside, it could be useful).

In training animals, both what I've found and what zookeeper have told me, positive reinforcement is usually the best motivator and food is one of the best forms of positive reinforcement. What are some good foods to use to use as positive reinforcement? I know this is slightly off topic, but the idea of coming up with a backup in case registering an ESA doesn't work out is still a good idea.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Juska » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:28 pm

From what I understand, people who actually benefit from one are typically "prescribed" an animal along with the ESA sign-off. As in, they get a new animal that is destined to be the ESA. Sort of like a service animal but not for a specific purpose or trained for a task.

A landlord might still kick someone and/or their animal out whether or not it's an ESA, with the notion that they won't/can't take them to court over it.

Which is what happens in many cases I see of people trying to get ESA sign-offs for pet rats/ferrets/rabbits/mice to keep them, after they've been hiding the animal from their landlord when they've already signed a lease that prohibits pets. Or sometimes the landlord decided to change the lease to no pets all the sudden. They can typically barely afford to feed the animal(s), let alone get kicked out, find a place to stay temporarily that allows pets, then bring a lawsuit against the landlord. They usually just get rid of the animals and stay in the apartment. It's sad, and I see it all the time. On top of that I'm pretty sure you can't get an ESA for an entire colony of rats, or if you have more than one dog/cat/etc.

I also don't think it guarantees a landlord has to rent an apartment or whatever to the person with the ESA if they apply/inquire about moving in. It just makes it so you can't be removed from your current housing because you have an ESA.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Sparttan117 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:23 pm

Juska wrote:.A landlord might still kick someone and/or their animal out whether or not it's an ESA, with the notion that they won't/can't take them to court over it.

Which is what happens in many cases I see of people trying to get ESA sign-offs for pet rats/ferrets/rabbits/mice to keep them, after they've been hiding the animal from their landlord when they've already signed a lease that prohibits pets. Or sometimes the landlord decided to change the lease to no pets all the sudden.

The process or getting an emotional support animal requires you to let the landlord know first and get approval before bringing the animal. The maximum that most courts will let a landlord wait before forcing the landlord's hand is two weeks as otherwise it would violate the 5th Amendment right to a speedy trial (two weeks is the most commonly referenced time that qualifies as speedy in a domestic trial/contract).

Then, if you have a letter from a psychologist saying that the animal provides therapeutic care, the landlord can only deny the animal if the animal is proven to be aggressive without provocation or if it costs them tons of money to accommodate the animal. If the landlord has to create a horse stable for an emotional support horse, that is unreasonable, but if the animal can be kept from damaging any permanent part of the property that the animal's keeper cannot replace, it is seen as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. However, the animal's keeper has to handle any damages caused to the property as if the keeper's (hypothetical) child did the damages. Also, if there are less than five living units in the building AND the landlord lives in one, they can deny the request.

As for an animal providing therapeutic care, blood tests have shown that the same calming hormone is released when spending time with pets as is released into the blood when people spend time with family, especially children, which reduces chemical stress on the entire body. As I've stated above, too much cortisol (stress hormone) over a long period of time in the blood has been proven to cause organ damage (RIP the insulin cells in my pancreas). That is why people who have a lot of stress tend to live shorter lives. It is a scientifically measurable connection. That is one of the reasons why there are so many health benefits for high stress jobs, such as military and police (although physical trauma is another one).

TL;DR: ESAs qualify as a reasonable housing accomodation under the Fair Housing Act as long as you can get a lisenced therapists to say that it provides a medically therapeutic benefit (which all pets do really), it doesn't provide a direct threat to others, the landlord doesn't have to permanently modify their building to accomodat the animal (thus incurring an unreasonable expense to the landlord), and the ESAs keeper is willing to take on all damages caused by the animal the same way they would with a child. If there are more than 4 apartments in a building or the landlord doesn't live in the building as well, the most they can legally make you wait for acceptance is two weeks under the 5th Amendment right to a speedy trial or civil dispute.

Edit: Wow, that's long for a TL;DR. The whole point of TL;DR is "too long; didn't read" to sum things up quickly, but I guess with legal stuff, there is no summing things up quickly :lol: . This is why legal battles are a pain, but any reasonable landlord will let you have any ESA as long as they don't have to mutilate their building and you can control the animal.
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Re: Emotional support animal

Postby Kagney » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:05 pm

I have to be honest on this one... I agree with TG's original assessment.
TamanduaGirl wrote:I don't think it's a good idea or will work. If it does work then it will cause a change to the law like people doing this sort of thing did to service animals did and the species will become restricted to just dogs and cats or similar and then people wont be able to have little birds or mice or ferrets all because someone wanted to have a raccoon where it wasn't legal.

ESA's are meant for people with legitimate disabilities. These people NEED their animals to function normally in day to day life.
After doing a little research of my own, I just ended up with a bad taste in my mouth at the thought of trying to abuse this law. Its like someone finding a work-around to get on disability because they just don't want to work. They CAN work, and they know it, but its just easier to sit back and collect. And because there are people who do this, it makes it more difficult for the people who genuinely need it to receive it.
It is our responsibility as exotics keepers to know the laws of our state and local government and to abide by them. If animal X isn't legal where you live, then you can move. If its not important enough to you to make that kind of adjustment, then you don't want animal X as bad as you thought. End of story.

No one is disputing the multitude of benefits animals provide us... we're on the extreme end of the pet spectrum here, we know it better than most. But because we love our pets, we must protect them by following the law and respecting special circumstances like ESA laws that are meant for people who truly need animals to function.

(None of that was directed specifically at you Kristina, just throwing out my two-cents in a general)

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