Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals And Pets In Punta Gorda, Fl

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals And Pets In Punta Gorda, Fl

62% of Americans own a pet, and a third of them own multiple. But what's most interesting about the statistic is that half of all pet owners view their fur friends as family members.

As a result, many of the applicants for your rental property in Punta Gorda, FL, will have pets. The problem is that not all pets are equal, and some technically aren't pets in the conventional sense. Tenant fur babies include service animals, emotional support animals, and, well, normal pets.

Knowing the difference between these types of animals is key to obeying the law and maintaining your policies. Let's discuss each in detail.

Service Support Animals

A service animal is not technically a pet. This is an animal, typically a dog, that has highly specialized training to assist a disabled person. In order for it to be a service dog, that person must have an ADA-recognized disability.

Service animals assist their owners in critical everyday tasks. They help them navigate their local city, such as safely crossing the street. They also assist them medically in the home, such as waking them if they fall unconscious.

Service animals can sometimes add stress to a landlord's life. Tenants do not have to report them. Denying an application because of a service animal is illegal.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support vs. service animal: what's the difference? Well, emotional support animal laws are not quite as protective or strict as for service animals. In addition to this, an emotional support animal can be any animal a doctor prescribes for mental health treatment.

Emotional support animal registration is required when applying for an apartment. If you do allow animals, an ESA still needs an emotional support animal letter from a licensed medical professional.

A person cannot just declare that they have a self-prescribed emotional support animal. The animal may well provide emotional support, that much is true. But the tenant won't be able to cry foul if you deny their application.


Pets are exactly what you think they are: animals people keep for pleasure. Anyone can own a pet without a license, so there are no protections for pet owners searching for apartments.

You can deny someone for having a pet. Or, you can penalize them for keeping one without your knowledge when you discover it during inspection.

Of course, it's probably a good idea to allow pets on your property. This will attract more potential tenants, and retain the good ones if they are pet owners. Pet-unfriendly properties often get skipped over by apartment hunters.

Learn More at PMI Singray Homes

There are two main types of support animals separate from pets: service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals get legal recognition from the ADA to help their disabled owners. Emotional support animals have fewer protections, but unlike pets, they do require a letter of authorization.

PMI Stingray Homes in Punta Gorda, FL, has been in the industry for 20 years. We use state-of-the-art technology to manage your properties. Schedule a consultation to become one of our happy customers.