By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Just hearing the phrase “emotional support” makes most men groan. Business owners too.
A New York City restauranteur bragged recently to The New York Post that when he got sick of tying up his beloved teacup Yorkie when he went into stores, he bought a patch that said therapy dog and voila! The dog got entrance.
Yes, restauranteur. Yes, teacup Yorkie. Feel free to insert your own jokes.
The idea of a support dog is no joke – the Americans With Disabilities Act allows service animals to enter places where pets are not normally allowed like a restaurant. In general, to be considered a service animal, a doctor must have certified that a patient is keeping the pet for health reasons and a trainer may be required to certify that the animal can perform certain tasks.
The problem is in enforcement – there’s no central agency a business owner can check to see if the tag is genuinely from the health department or agency in your state that provides them or a fake bought on the internet. So, if you own a business and are suspicious, you can ask for papers from the certifying agency.
Or, rather than risk embarrassing a patron you can just figure that anyone who says he needs a teacup Yorkie for support, probably does need emotional support.