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Old 24.03.2018, 23:31
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Emotional Support Animals

Dear EF community,

I have been offered a job in Zurich, and am strongly considering taking it. However, I have an Emotional Support Animal - an 8 year old pit bull mix. He is certified here in the US.

I have read through all the information regarding the unfortunate existence of BSL in the Zurich Canton (and elsewhere), but questions still remain.

Are there ANY exceptions on ESAs in the ZH canton? Are there organizations that know more about animals for disabilities?
Even if I am forced to live outside ZH, I might need to be bringing my dog with me into ZH, and this causes some issues as well I presume.

I appreciate any information you might have. Thank you in advance!
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Old 24.03.2018, 23:41
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

I don't think so. Emotional support animals aren't really a thing here I'm afraid. You rarely see guide dogs here, never mind any other kind of support/assistance animals.

You could contact the Zurich canton veterinary office to find out, but even if there is I think you might get a lot of hassle when out and about with him.
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Old 24.03.2018, 23:48
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

Here's an article about guide dogs for people with autism. It's all in German, but you could try it in Google translate, or simply scroll down to the dog trainer's name, just below the photo. You could try writing to him, in English or in German, to ask his advice. Disclaimer: I don't know him; I just googled.

The person on this forum who knows a great deal about dogs and the rules is meloncollie. Until she replies to your question, you might like to have a look at the "sticky" threads in https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corner/, for example https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...rocedures.html, to see if the answer is in there.
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Old 25.03.2018, 01:01
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

You cannot bring a pit mix into canton ZH. As far as I know there are no exceptions, even for assistance dogs.

If you want to be absolutely sure - because as with everything in Switzerland there is always a whole lotta YMMV goin' on - write to the Cantonal Veterinäramt at:

Veterinäramt
Kanton Zürich
Zollstrasse 20
8090 Zürich
Work Telefon 043 259 41 41
Fax Fax 043 259 41 40
https://veta.zh.ch/internet/gesundhe...e/kontakt.html

FYI, the other long thread the discussion centered around the terminology, whether or not an American Bulldog could be at risk of phenotyping. In your case you know your dog is a pit mix, so your dog definitely falls under the banned list 2.

You might come across references to Wesenstesting to grandfather the List 2 dogs who were legally resident in the canton when the ban came into force in 2010. That exception only applied to those legally resident dogs, and has long since expired. After the ban came into force no dogs of List 2 breeds/mixes may be born, nor are allowed to move into the canton.

Visitors with a List 2 dog can get a 30 day per calendar year permit to allow temporary stay in ZH, but that likely will not be sufficient if you need your dog at work, day in and day out.

And, be aware that even with a permit your dog could be required to be muzzled and on lead at all times.

Assuming you can handle working in ZH without your dog, the sensible option is to live in one of the surrounding cantons. Which is actually a good thing - there are lovely places to live less than an hour away.

The 'best', as in non BSL, cantons commutable to Zürich city are ZG, SZ, SG, LU. Of those, ZG and SZ (specifically Ausserschwyz) have much lower taxes than ZH, so, salary and individual situation dependent, you'd stand to gain there as well.

Other surrounding cantons, AG, TG, SH, GL, require an application for a special permit, some also require Wesenstesting or continued education.

Summaries of the cantonal laws can be found here:
https://www.tierimrecht.org/de/recht/hunderecht/

If you are considering seeking a special permit to allow your dog to live in one of the surrounding BSL cantons, do you speak German? You may need to, or you may need someone who can be your point person to deal with the bureaucracy. Please do not underestimate this. I know of one case where a dog was refused a permit because the owner, misunderstanding the requirements due to the language barrier, did not dot the Is and cross the Ts. Sadly, it's the dog who pays the price for an owner's mistake.

Something to keep in mind: Even with a permit, an owner of a listed breed in a BSL canton must be confident, strong and secure, ready to advocate for his or her dog in the face of prejudice or harassment.

Do you think your dog could truly do his job in an anti-SOKA atmosphere? Do you think the anti-SOKA attitudes of the majority would add to your own difficulties?

Why go through that, why force yourself to live that way, when you can live in one of 4 nearby cantons without BSL? Why make your life more difficult than it need be? Look for housing in ZG, SZ, SG, LU.

---

Generally speaking, officially recognized therapy dogs go through a rigorous selection and training process here.


The second question in your move decision will be if emotional assistance dogs as they are defined in the US are officially accepted here. If so, then would your dog's training and certification be sufficient? If not, then what it would take to get your dog certified as a therapy dog in Switzerland?

The leading organizations involved in training assistance dogs (in more traditional therapy areas) are:

http://www.therapiehunde.ch
http://www.blindenhundeschule.ch/en/social-dogs.html
http://www.lecopain.ch

If these organizations can't help find the answers to getting your dog certified here you they likely could direct you to those who can.

Googling around I found another organization that according to it's website advocates for assistance dogs. I've not heard of this group before (which means nothing, no judgement) so this is really only information. But contact them as well for advise, hopefully they might be able to help you.
https://www.swisshelpdogs.ch0

As an aside, I met a US tourist with an emotional assistance dog here. Now, the tourist experience is wholly different than that of a resident, but she said that she had not encountered any resistance or skepticism. Bear in mind, though, that one anecdote does not a dataset make.

---

Wishing you all the best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 25.03.2018 at 03:58.
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Old 25.03.2018, 08:48
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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...You rarely see guide dogs here, never mind any other kind of support/assistance animals...
I see them quite often beng trained in Basel. They must be going somewhere!
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:04
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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I see them quite often beng trained in Basel. They must be going somewhere!
Likely the very good folks from the Blindenhundschule Allschwil. In addition to training guide dogs for the blind they also train mobility assistance dogs, autism support dogs, and 'social dogs'. The latter is what we in the US might know as PAT dogs (Pets As Therapy).

I see a fair number of guide dogs out and about. I am continually awed by the skill of these wonderful dogs and the many people behind them, from the program breeders to puppy fosters, to the trainers and support folks to the folks who adopt retired dogs if needed. Rearing a guide dog or assistance dog from birth to service is a huge undertaking from a host of dedicated folk. We can be thankful that there are such fantastic resources to do so in Switzerland.

By the way, if one is so inclined and if one's home and lifestyle are suitable, the Blindenhundschule is always looking for suitable puppy fosters to help raise the pup in it's first year. This is a challenging, but also immensely rewarding undertaking:
http://www.blindenhundeschule.ch/en/...ster-care.html
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:06
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

Ok! I´ll bite. What the heck is an emotional support animal?
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:09
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Ok! I´ll bite. What the heck is an emotional support animal?
An American invention, used as an excuse to get aardvarks and things into planes.
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:14
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Ok! I´ll bite. What the heck is an emotional support animal?
It's a great new invention, that Google thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_support_animal

Quote:
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal that a medical professional has determined provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one characteristic of the disability. Emotional support animals, typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability. To be afforded protection under United States federal law, a person must meet the federal definition of disability and must have a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has that disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability. An animal does not need specific training to become an emotional support animal.[1]
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:20
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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It's a great new invention, that Google thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_support_animal
Seems a cynical workaround to get your pet into places they wouldn't be allowed otherwise
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:33
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

I think for some people it can help, but as usual the question is how many of these special "pets" are really doing the job and how many are simply pets and people trying to exploit the system (if it's a proper ESA pet then they don't pay to fly).

Interesting articles:

https://www.vox.com/science-and-heal...-research-dogs

https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how...support-animal
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:40
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Seems a cynical workaround to get your pet into places they wouldn't be allowed otherwise
Well I guess you could argue that pets are an emotional support for 90% of owners. In the end though we are talking about extreme cases though like people with depression or any medically recognised disability that find a pet helpful to cope with their condition.
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:46
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

AFAIK, honey badgers are allowed in Kanton Zurich. I suggest you upgrade your evil, child-killing canine to this capensis species. Apparently, they are very supportive emotionally.



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Old 25.03.2018, 10:50
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Ok! I´ll bite. What the heck is an emotional support animal?
It's a special niche under the umbrella of service/therapy animals.

The value an animal can bring to one's emotional health has long been recognized - heck, any pet owner knows how, after a particularily trying day, one's pet can bring the stress levels down, make you feel 'whole' again.

Take that a step, heck, an order of magnitude further.

People who are battling certain emotional issues can be helped by animals specially trained to assist help them. For instance, emotional support animals are used extensively in helping victims of PTSD, notably returning soldiers, or the dogs who are trained to help those with autism. These dogs are trained to recognize signs that their owners are about to enter a panic attack or other crisis, help get them into a safer, calmer state.

The work is similar to all branches of service dogs.

The 'classic' service dogs are guide dogs for the blind, assistance dogs for the deaf, assistance dogs for those who are mobility impaired. But the range of service dogs goes quite a bit farther.

There are seizure dogs, who not only can often anticipate a seizure and get the person into a safe position before the fall but also are trained to alert humans to get help, to protect the person during a seizure. There are dogs whose heightened sense of smell can help to detect cancers.

Among the therapy dogs there are several specialties. In addition to autism support dogs as above, there are dogs who are trained as palliative comfort dogs to help the dying. There are dogs who are trained to visit and comfort children in hospitals. There are dogs who are trained to comfort and 'connect' with Alzheimer's patients. My own father benefited greatly from the visits from these special dogs; they could reach him when he had lost connection to the rest of the world.

Truly wonderful animals, doing much needed work. The people and programs behind them are to be admired.

Notice I slip into saying dogs - that's just my world, but ESAs can be many different species.

Years ago I volunteered with RDA, Riding for the Disabled, a British charity. This program was developed to help children with physical as well as mental or emotional difficulties. Some of the children connected with the horses in a way they could not with people, some of the mobility challenged children experienced the world with out the usual barriers they faced, from a different perspective than they otherwise had. This form of therapy can accomplish amazing things.

---

Unfortunately there will always be people who exploit a good thing. You may have read reports of the trend of people claiming that any and every animal is an emotional support animal, purchasing fake certificates over t'internets. Apparently it's gotten out of hand, with people bringing untrained animals on airplanes. This is a travesty, as it makes the 'real' assistance dogs' jobs harder because idiots have cheapened the image in the public mind. The remarks of the last few posters shows how this extremely valuable work, preformed by trained and certified animals, has been degraded. A terrible shame, as legislation enabling these trained and certified dogs to do their jobs, to help the people who need them, is currently in jeopardy. As always, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin a barrel.

---

But don't be swayed by the idiots and cheats - trained and certified ESAs are real, an extremely valuable resource and help for those who need them - often the only meaningful help available.

Thank goodness for these fantastic animals, and the people behind them.
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Old 25.03.2018, 10:55
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Well I guess you could argue that pets are an emotional support for 90% of owners. In the end though we are talking about extreme cases though like people with depression or any medically recognised disability that find a pet helpful to cope with their condition.
In America, just buy one online
https://www.google.ch/amp/s/amp.theg...flying-housing

And really?
https://www.independent.co.uk/travel...-a8190576.html

I'm sure there are genuine medical reasons, but I'd suggest a lot of piss takers.

We're also pet owners. But I wouldn't force them into public spaces
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Old 25.03.2018, 12:41
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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...Assuming you can handle working in ZH without your dog, the sensible option is to live in one of the surrounding cantons. Which is actually a good thing - there are lovely places to live less than an hour away...
OP doesn't mention nationality in the profile or the post. Keep in mind that in most cases, non-EUs must live in the canton where they work. They need permission from both cantons if they want to live outside the working canton. Just another wrinkle to consider if OP is non-EU.
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Old 25.03.2018, 12:50
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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As an aside, I met a US tourist with an emotional assistance dog here. Now, the tourist experience is wholly different than that of a resident, but she said that she had not encountered any resistance or skepticism. Bear in mind, though, that one anecdote does not a dataset make.

---

Wishing you all the best.
This. I would like that OP will start from this presumption, that it's do-able and Swiss people are reasonable. Often times, many things are easier in practice than in theory, so the sooner she writes to the appropriate organisations or institutions, giving full details of her dog and the certificates she currently possesses, the more chances she'll have to go through all of these - stress free, and with a positive outcome.


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Thank goodness for these fantastic animals, and the people behind them.
One of them in my area, it's a pleasure to talk with his owner when I'm out for a walk with my kid.
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Old 25.03.2018, 12:54
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

Well, location is US so assumption is that's their nationality. Could be wrong of course.

Other things they need to consider if they are American or hold a Green Card:

The US tax system is based on citizenship, not residency as elsewhere in the world, so you would still have US tax filing obligations and could end up owing the US tax on top of local ones. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Also any foreign, i.e. outside of US, bank accounts which come to more than the aggregate figure of $10,000 at any time of the year have to be reported on an FBAR form.

Getting said bank account here as a US citizen or Green Card holder is not easy. Only 3 banks will consider US tainted clients: UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance. This is due to the US's FATCA law which requires banks worldwide to report accounts of US citizens/Green Card holders to the IRS so you would need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to do this before the account would be opened. Since it cost plenty to set up the system, most banks here simply threw their US clients out and refuse to accept any new ones.
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Old 25.03.2018, 13:12
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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It's a great new invention, that Google thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_support_animal


Maybe I should rephrase, what I wanted to say is that I can´t get my head around the concept of an emotional support animal, especially one that is not trained to be anything else other than maybe decorative. I also can´t imagine anybody needing an animal as described by the OP to cling to when they start to go to pieces, it seems a good way for an angsty person to get bitten. And yes I can use the google too you know, it´s just that Meloncollie´s answer makes more sense.
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Old 25.03.2018, 13:35
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Re: Emotional Support Animals

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Maybe I should rephrase, what I wanted to say is that I can´t get my head around the concept of an emotional support animal, especially one that is not trained to be anything else other than maybe decorative. I also can´t imagine anybody needing an animal as described by the OP to cling to when they start to go to pieces, it seems a good way for an angsty person to get bitten. And yes I can use the google too you know, it´s just that Meloncollie´s answer makes more sense.
I used to work with a professor that was bipolar (in the States). She had a dog for an ESA and had to fight with the employer to have it allowed at work. Her performance and student reviews had been getting worse and worse, so rather than fire her they thought okay, maybe the dog will help. And it did. Having him with her kept her calm. When she would start to feel anxious she would pet him and get her focus back. Most of the students liked having a dog in the classroom. He was some sort of sheep herding dog though, not a pit bull.

OP - Kudos to you for doing your homework in advance instead of waiting to see what might happen and then winding up disappointed.
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