Assistance Animals

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Brady Baroness Brady Conservative

Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the Equality Act 2010 to give the same rights to owners of emotional support animals as those who own certified assistance animals.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Equality Act 2010 requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments for their disabled users and customers so that they are not disadvantaged compared with people who are not disabled. This requirement includes permitting access to assistance dogs where reasonable. If a person meets the Act’s definition of disability and has an emotional support animal to help them manage that disability, they should ask the service provider to consider allowing access to the animal.

Other than in relation to taxis, the Equality Act does not refer to assistance dogs or any other specific form of support or facility for disabled people, because each reasonable adjustment must be considered on its merits and in the context of the particular circumstances of the case. We therefore have no plans to include emotional support dogs in the Act, as this would be at odds with the basic and long-standing basis of the legislation.

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