Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud (2017)

The Steering Committee on Human Animal Interactions researched the roles of service, assistance, and therapy animals—including those used for emotional support—over the course of two years while developing AVMA professional policies for consideration by the AVMA Board of Directors and House of Delegates.

During that time, the committee noted concerns about service animal fraud raised by AVMA members and volunteer leaders.

The peer-reviewed white paper Assistance Animals: Rights of Access and the Problem of Fraud was prepared by the AVMA Animal Welfare Division at the committee’s request and provided to the AVMA Board of Directors in April 2017. It explains some of the complexities of the issue, and suggests strategies that might be used to simultaneously promote the appropriate use of assistance animals and discourage fraudulent activities.

While the report provides useful information, its contents should not be construed as official AVMA policy.