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Brust: Emotional support animals are a hinderance to everyone

This column is one half of a head-to-head. Read the opposing view here.

I am not one to disregard mental or physical disability. If one’s state of body or mind requires a service animal to function, they have that right. People with disabilities should be able to have that aid because they cannot function without it. The merit of service animals and their owners is tainted when a person reduced to their anxiety feels the need to take their emotional support animal with them wherever they go. Emotional support animals should never be allowed in the classroom.


Shaming anxiety, depression or any other mental disability is not my goal. These are real mental issues people go through, and as someone who suffers from anxiety I get the appeal of having a furry companion by my side in the classroom. However, it’s just a ridiculous concept. Just like most of the population, I recognize my anxiety and do not allow it to define me. If you actually feel the need to have an animal to emotionally support yourself, congratulations, you just bent your knees to your mentality. Having a dog is cool and is a proven to boost moral and endorphins, but that doesn’t mean you need a pooch following you around disrupting others.

You do not need an animal to support you emotionally throughout your day at school unless diagnosed by a doctor. Last year I sat in a lecture hall with not one, but four adorable pups lying about the lecture hall. As cute as they are, I don’t need a retriever barking in the corner during my anthropology lecture. It doesn’t need a lot of context: having your animal in a lecture hall is distracting and rude. If every person with anxiety or depression was walking around with Lassie on their hip, every second of the day our lecture halls would be filled with dogs. Do not compromise the learning of others because you ‘need’ an animal to emotionally support you.

Not only is it distracting to 75 or more students, but it’s insulting to those with actual disabilities who need service animals. A blind or deaf person assigned a service dog deserves that right and should not have to bare insult from it. Yes, have your emotional support dog… at your house and in your personal life away from the classroom. Personal comfort shouldn’t come at the cost of diminishing the abilities of others.

You do not need an emotional support animal. It is a comfort, a luxury that many can never have. Don’t play into the oh-so redundant ballad of the ‘snowflake’ generation. The reason why millennials are looked at as weak is because we look to comfort as a buffer for everything. An emotional support animal is a Band-Aid, not a solution. Go ahead and get a dog if you need it emotionally, that is your right. It is not your right to disobey university policy and infringe upon the learning of all your classmates. That is weakness.

If CSU were to allow emotional support animals in classrooms it would be a zoo. So many people have disabilities and are able to control and work with them without disrupting others. Dogs basically make everyone happy, and of course most would benefit from having a dog around them 24/7. Having an emotional support animal in the classroom infringes on other students abilities to learn, insults the purpose of service animals and makes you a weakling.

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Comments (12)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
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  • L

    LaRaeFeb 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    “I have anxiety so I get it, and the rest of you are weaklings!” See similar “arguments”such as: “I have a black friend so I get it…racism isn’t real anymore, cry babies!”

    Nevermind researching a subject before writing an article anymore…suddenly every entitled and arrogant conservative who feels “offended” and “inconvenienced” by the rights afforded to “weaklings” is an expert on mental health, race, etc.

    The Collegian publishes some of the most amateur writing and ill-informed pieces I have seen in what is supposed to be respectable journalism. Folks have the freedom to spout off ignorant fodder and call it “journalism” all they want, but CSU should really stop giving these people a platform. It’s embarrassing for everyone.

  • M

    MichelleFeb 22, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    This is an absolutely terrible and offensive article that comes from a close-minded point of view. I respect differing points of view, but this is just disappointing.

  • V

    Vaylor AyalaFeb 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I have OCD! My ESA is essential to my ability to function as a normal human being. I find this article very offensive. And for the record I don’t take my ESA everywhere with me. She doesn’t attend classes but if I needed her to i don’t think it would be wrong of me to do so. I don’t think have a dog that can help me when I have panic attacks and need to calm down is a bad thing. It doesn’t make me weak or a “snow flake” it makes me intelligent because I know I need help if I want to make it as an adult. I unlike you am smart enough to understand that.

  • K

    Kathleen IvyFeb 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Brust, you undermine any good parts of your article with your ignorant and prejudice comments regarding mental and emotional disabilities. By stating that you do not intend to shame others, and then following with shaming statements weakens everything you wrote and seriously damages your credibility. Your true feelings flamed out in this diatribe.

  • A

    AlisonFeb 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Here’s a link to my blog post on why this was the most disgustingly unintelligent piece you could have chosen to publish in CSU’s Collegian. I’m sorely disappointed in Allec’s disrespect towards those suffering from legitimate mental illness, and although I am completely open to reading pieces from those with opinions different to mine, publishing uneducated hate speech is not what a college raving about their diversity and accepting community should be publishing.

    Have a lovely time reading my response. Maybe consider inviting your authors to do their research next time they decide they’re qualified enough to completely discount legitimate mental illnesses. Also I suggest getting a diagnosis from somewhere other than WebMD – just a little tip for Ms. Brust.

    • C

      CamaroFeb 21, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Your section on what it takes to have an ESA is incorrect. The link you provided is to what is universally regarded as a scam website. It gets people to pay for things they don’t need, and have no legal standing whatsoever. Registering on there does not make an animal an ESA. To have an ESA you need to have 2 things according to the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Notice: FHEO-2013-1

    • A

      Allec BrustFeb 22, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Thank you for your concern Alison. For the sake of your blog post I would like to point out I have been clinically diagnosed with anxiety. I appreciate the tip.

    • J

      Jason “Wizard” CavanaughFeb 22, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Let’s not try to redefine “hate speech” as something which offends you.

      When I was in school, from the entirety of kindergarten through the end of high school, I encountered ONE service animal.

      It is much more common to see people bringing animals these days where they do not belong because they simply claim it’s necessary for them to have one, and it’s usually (IMO) bull****.

      Don’t abuse the ADA because you want a cute animal.

    • C

      CamaroFeb 23, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Here is the link to the FHEO notice. Nsarco is no different then the other site you used. It is always best to find a .gov source since this is about what the federal regulations say.
      Another very good resource is the Michigan State University’s College of Law website dealing specifically with animal laws. Here is their guide to ESAs in housing, including some examples of case law on what is and what is not an ESA.

  • C

    CamaroFeb 21, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    The author seems to not understand what an Emotional Support Animal is. An ESA mitigates a person’s disability through its presence, unlike a service animal which is trained to perform a task to mitigate the person’s disability. So the statements “If one’s state of body or mind requires a service animal to function, they have that right.” and “If you actually feel the need to have an animal to emotionally support yourself, congratulations, you just bent your knees to your mentality.” are truly a ridiculous concept.

    My son is on the Autism spectrum after finding out how service animals are able to help with that we got a cat as an ESA as we were living in no-pet housing at the time. When he would become overstimulated and mentally lock up we would get the cat and use it as behavior disruption. It worked well while at home while we waited to get him a service dog. The service dog was trained in a few different behavior disruption techniques and which to use depending on the situation, as well as other tasks that have helped.

    ESAs should not be covered under the ADA and allowed public access because they do not having the training that service animals do, if they did they wouldn’t be ESAs they would be service animals.

  • B

    Brianna TomciFeb 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Calling people with mental disorders “weaklings” isn’t exactly the best thing to do considering I struggle with two of them every single day and I’m the strongest person I know. Horrible article

  • P

    PaigeFeb 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Tomi Lahren, is that you??