Special Provisions for ESAs in San Francisco
Commercial Establishments & ESAs
The protections for ESA’s are limited to commercial airline travel and housing. If a disabled individual wants to bring his ESA into a commercial establishment, he has no legal right to under Federal law, and it is up to the discretion of the establishment whether to allow the ESA in with the individual.
It’s important to train your animal so that it doesn’t bother other people, as there are still establishments that will allow let them to accompany you–but it is up to the establishment.
Rights in Government Buildings for San Francisco ESAs
The ADA made a rule change in March 2011 that applied only to service animals, limiting the type of animal covered by the ADA as a dog or miniature horse trained to perform tasks related directly to a person’s disability. San Francisco decided to maintain a broader interpretation of the laws, consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Amendments’ Act, allowing that service animals can be of any species and thus be afforded appropriate rights.
While the ADA does not grant the rights for ESAs to enter government buildings for ESAs, this right is afforded to San Francisco residents. ESAs are given the same rights as service animals when it comes to: City and County buildings, agencies and departments such as City Hall, Department of Public Health or the County Clerk; Contracted agencies and programs such as public health clinics, case management or mental health services; and Public or private housing, including SROs, homeless shelters and residential treatment programs funded by or contracted with The City.
To obtain a California Assistance Dog tag from San Francisco Animal Care and Control, city residents have to provide a letter from their psychotherapist or physician recommending an emotional support animal.
San Francisco Animal Care & Control
California registers service animals through each county’s animal control department, or related agency. Service animals get an “assistance animal” tag. All counties use a narrow definition of service animal (ADA) except for San Francisco, where an assistance animal can include an ESA. In San Francisco, the assistance tag is available for both service animals and ESAs.
To obtain a California Assistance Dog tag from San Francisco Animal Care and Control (ACC), city residents have to provide a letter from their psychotherapist or physician recommending an emotional support animal. ACC is located at 1200 15th Street in San Francisco. The phone number for ACC is 415-554-6364.
Assistance animal tags or vests are not required by law, but they are an easy and noticeable way for officials and landlords to identify a service animal.