The Senate on Tuesday (24) approved a bill that would give people with mental, intellectual or sensory disabilities the right to enter public or private spaces in the company of emotional support dogs. The proposal goes to the House of Representatives for analysis.
The adopted text specifies that the presence of an emotional support dog is permitted “in all modalities and competences of the mass passenger transport service, including in the international sphere, if the origin is Brazil”. The bill states that any attempt to deny this right will be considered an “act of discrimination punishable by stone and fine.”
The proposal prohibits the use of animals for self-defense, attack, intimidation or behavior of an aggressive nature. Nor is it permitted to use dogs for benefits of any kind. These practices are considered a “deviation of the job” and can result in the recipient losing possession of the animal and forcing them to return the dog to the training centre.
According to the bill, the minimum requirements for identification of a dog and proof that it has undergone adequate training should be regulated.
The proposal was written by Senator Messias de Jesus (R-RR) and promulgated by Senator Romario (PL-RJ). The original text received amendments from other parliamentarians, such as Mara Gabrilli (PSDB-SP) and Sérgio Petecão (PSD-AC).
In the project presentation, Mecias mentioned that the issue of dogs as support lacks specific legislation. He cites the only law in Brazil on this subject that mandates the use of guide dogs by people with visual impairments. The senator says the lack of specific regulation on an emotional support dog “caused inconvenience, even requiring judicial intervention.”
In justifying the project, the author cites cases such as the autistic teenager who was only able to board a plane from Brasilia to São Paulo after a decision of the Third Civil Court of Aguas Claras.
“The same thing happened with a young man with autism who was prevented from riding his emotional support dog, even as he demonstrated that the animal had been trained by a designated trainer, had all safety equipment, a vaccination card and other requirements, under the provisions of the decree regulating the use of a guide dog by the visually impaired. ‘ reads the text.
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The lack of a law on the subject also appears in the Romario report, which recommends approval of the text. For him, this gap brings emotional wear and tear to people with disabilities, who already face daily challenges due to their condition.
“The emotional support these animals provide to their teachers is well known. When it comes to people with mental, intellectual or sensory disabilities, the psychological and emotional benefit is even greater. There are also therapeutic approaches with animals that have shown promise, with good results on communication and interaction,” Romario wrote. Social, reduce anxiety attacks, and many other improvements in the clinical picture of people with disabilities.
One accepted amendment states that airlines must equate small pets with emotional support dogs, as long as flight safety is maintained. Another change considers health professionals’ statements to be null and void “attesting to the need for a person with a mental, intellectual or sensory impairment to be accompanied by an emotional support dog when the provisions of the law are not observed.”
There was also a text change in the section referring to the designation of the beneficiary, and a change of “person with disabilities” to “persons with disabilities”. The change is an amendment to the “Brazilian Law for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities”, of 2015.