An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published March 21, 2020


One of the few bills that passed in this year’s legislative session was SB 1084 – EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS – sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz.


Over the last few years we have seen an ever increasing number of lawsuits and arbitration cases between owners and associations dealing with Emotional Support Animals (short: ESA).


It looked like more and more owners living in No-Pet communities – it was their choice to move to one of these communities – to use a loophole called ESA to circumvent the No-Pet rule. It looks like doctors easily wrote prescriptions claiming that their patient was in “need” of an ESA.


This concept – you could even register your ESA on the website and got an official-looking certificate – did serious damage to people in need of a service-animal (like a seeing-eye dog) because people were often mistaken about the difference between a trained service animal and a lap-dog called ESA.


Because of the increasing number of cases the Florida legislature dealt with this serious issue and passed SB 1084 – the Emotional Support Animal bill.


The bill intends to clarify the terms of an emotional support animal, prohibits the falsification of information and/or other fraudulent misrepresentation regarding the use of  ESA and (finally!) provides penalties for misuse.


Hopefully this bill, once signed into law, will stop owners from abusing the system by calling their lap-dog an Emotional Support Animal.


CLICK HERE to read the bill history and the Enrolled version of the bill.