Sign the Petition to

Australia's Senate and the House of Representatives

There are several different legal acts in Australia relating to the status of “assistance animals” (on both the state and federal levels). There is a great disparity in the law when it comes to determining what as qualifies as a disability condition for the purpose of owning an assistance animal.

Australian laws and the government agencies charged with enforcing the rights of people with disabilities (such as the Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales) clearly recognize vision and hearing impairments as a legitimate reason for owning a “guide dog”.

However, other types of disabilities such epilepsy, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD do not receive the same recognition and treatment under the various laws of Australia (particularly at the state level).

Current laws regarding assistance animals are very limited at the state level. Whereas, at the Federal Level, the Disability Discrimination Act of 1977, and the Companion Animals Act are more liberal and broad in scope in defining a disability assistance animal.

A general medical practitioner or medical specialist should have the ability to determine the need for their patients to have an “assistance dog’ or an “emotional support animal” to alleviate the symptoms a debilitating illness.

There should be unity between state and federal laws when it comes to the legal definition of an assistance animal. It is also important have to reasonable enforcement measures in place to ensure that these laws are observed.

Conflicts (in the law) often arise between statutes such as the New South Wales Strata Management Schemes Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act, and the Federal Disability Discrimination Act.

The disposition of human rights complaints involving assistance animal complaints can have vastly different outcomes depending on whether a person files their case under state law (with the NCAT tribunal and the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board) versus filing a complaint under federal law (with the Supreme Court and the Human Rights Commission).

In the United States, medical research has shown that animals (including cats and dogs) naturally provide comfort and relief to people suffering from chronic diseases and disabling conditions such as clinical depression and anxiety disorders.

It not necessary to train these animals to provide such relief to their owners. Nor is certification required by an (accredited) animal training agency necessary.

The only requirement for a person to own an “emotional support animal” in America is a letter from a medical professional (such a licensed mental health counsellor) stating that a person has a legitimate mental or emotional disability and a genuine need for a support animal.

Under U.S. laws, individuals and businesses are required to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to the people being accompanied by “service dogs” and “emotional support animals”.

These animals are not considered “pets” under U.S. law. However, it is understood that any animal must be obedient and under the control of its handler. There are no laws that allow animals (including an assistance dogs) to be disruptive to the lives of other people.

Australia requires an even higher standard of training and certification for some assistance animals such as “home therapy dogs” and “psychiatric support dogs”. These types of assistance animals do not receive the same status as “seeing-eye” guide dogs under New South Wales law.

Signed,

Lana Love

This petition closed over 4 years ago

How this will help

Please add your name to my petition to be to help end the
confusion surrounding the legal definition of "assistance animals". 

I am asking members of Senate to amend existing assistance animals...

Please add your name to my petition to be to help end the
confusion surrounding the legal definition of "assistance animals". 

I am asking members of Senate to amend existing assistance animals and discrimination laws to give full recognition and equal status to people with disabling illnesses (diagnosed by medical professionals) requiring support animals.

Thank for your kind help in supporting me in this public campaign.

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