Zorn bills would clarify need for emotional support animals

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday introduced legislation to regulate the prescription of emotional support animals and requests for reasonable accommodation for the animals in housing.

“This legislation would not impact the use of service animals or people who have a clear need for an emotional support animal,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The goal of this reform is to continue to support those who legitimately benefit from an emotional support animal while stopping those who are abusing the system just to get around rental property rules concerning pets.”

Senate Bill 610 would specify that someone cannot falsely represent themselves to housing providers as a person with a disability for the purpose of allowing a pet in a rental property as an emotional support animal. The bill outlines a standard for proper documentation of the need for an emotional support animal and potential penalties for violating the act.

Under the bill, the Department of Civil Rights would serve as the reporting body to accept complaints and reports of false representation via a telephone hotline.

SB 609 would provide a clear distinction in the law between emotional support animals and service animals.

SBs 608-610 have been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee for consideration.