Emotional support animals and service animals play a valuable role in their human’s lives. Physical, psychiatric, intellectual, sensory, and/or mental disabilities can all be helped by the presence of a support animal. Emotional support animals and service animals are not the same, and they aren’t both covered by the ADA. To better understand your emotional support animal, and its coverage by the ADA, take a look at the following FAQs.
What Is An Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal can be any animal that provides benefit to someone with a disability—as determined by their doctor. For an emotional support animal to be prescribed, the owner must have a verifiable disability. Emotional support animals are usually dogs, but they can be cats or other animals, even pigs. Emotional support animals do not need specific training. They do, however, need a note from a medical professional stating that they benefit their owner.
Are Emotional Support Animals Covered by the ADA?
They are not. In order to be covered by the ADA, an animal needs to be considered a service animal. Emotional support animals, because they’re not trained, don’t qualify as a service animal. Even a note from a doctor stating that the animal provides emotional support doesn’t qualify an emotional support animal as a service animal. Some public establishments will allow emotional support animals inside, but not every establishment will. In order to be legally admitted, your animal needs to be a service animal.
What is a Service Animal?
A service animal helps their disabled owner in some specially trained way. This can include fetching dropping items, reminding their owner to take medication, pulling a wheelchair, or pressing an elevator button. These tasks have to be specially taught, and every service animal has to be trained. Some examples of service animals include: hearing or signal dogs, seeing eye dogs, psychiatric service dogs, seizure response dogs, and social signal dogs. Each of these animals are specially trained to perform unique tasks, such as turning on lights or notifying the owner of a knock on the door.
Why Are Emotional Support Animals Not Covered by the ADA?
Emotional Support Animalsare a valuable part of a medical treatment plan. They are considered therapy animals, but they are not considered service animals. The main reason the ADA doesn’t cover therapy animals is their broad definition. Most service animals must be a dog in order to qualify, and they must be properly trained to handle public environments. Most emotional support animals are not trained to handle public situations and their presence can’t be covered by federal laws. Unless the definition and required training, for an emotional support animal become much more rigid, emotional support animals cannot be covered by the ADA.
Where Can I Bring My Emotional Support Animal?
Although not covered by the ADA, your emotional support animal can still accompany you in certain situations. A pet can’t ride on an airplane, but your emotional support animal can, as long as they have appropriate documentation and are well-behaved. An airline does have the right to refuse an animal if it’s noisy or restless. College residence halls and dormitories are also legally required to admit emotional support animals as of 2013. Since emotional support animals may still bark or smell strangers, they are not permitted in every public building, but they are permitted in college dorms and on flights. Often, a well behaved emotional support animal can be admitted into a public building, as long as you have permission from the owner or person in charge.
If you suffer from a certain medical condition and feel that you may benefit from having an Emotional Support Animal contact Mango Clinic Miami by calling 786-391-0269 or by visiting our website and scheduling an appointment with one of our Board Certified physicians. You can also complete our ESA Online Form to expedite the process.
Many people who are not in the military or don’t have close loved ones in the military believe that once a veteran comes home from war, he or she is no longer in danger and can resume a normal life. However, those who are in the military life know better. A veteran returning from combat rarely transitions easily back into civilian life. S/he may be plagued with a number of physical, mental, and/or emotional problems. In some cases, an Emotional Support Animal (or ESA) can provide the comfort, security, and support these veterans need to heal.
Challenges Veterans Face
The most widely-recognized mental health condition suffered by combat veterans is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those with PTSD can experience symptoms such as chronic anxiety, insomnia, sleep apnea, irrational fears, an aversion to loud noises. Oftentimes they experience difficulty or an inability to connect with or relate to others who did not experience the same traumatic events as they did. Some PTSD patients are successfully treated with counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, or medications. However, others do not respond well to traditional treatments or find that additional therapy is needed.
In addition to PTSD, veterans often experience depression, addictions, anxiety disorders, violent outbursts, and other negative consequences due to their exposure to battle-related trauma. Those who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or blast-related exposure are subject to even more symptoms such as cognitive or memory issues, headaches, inability to process information, and an increased risk in developing dementia.
It is estimated that 8.5 to 14 percent of vets returning from battle experience PTSD or severe depression. Furthermore, 20 percent report experiencing a head injury severe enough to cause a concussion. Fortunately for these veterans, an ESA animal can have a number of positive effects on their conditions and help them on the road to recovery.
Why Emotional Support Animals Can Help
ESAs are any type of animal that can be used for comfort and companionship for those individuals with mental or emotional disorders. Though they are not specially trained as Service Animals are, Emotional Support pets can still be of enormous benefit to those suffering from battle-related issues.
Many veterans have a difficult time connecting with friends and loved ones when they return from the battlefield. Having an animal as a companion can be incredibly soothing as the veteran can experience unconditional love and undivided attention from their pet. They do not have to explain why they feel the way they do or justify any irrational thoughts or behaviors. Having a non-judgmental presence to talk to, spend time with, and grow closer to often helps the vet make the transition to re-connecting with their loved ones.
Vets can also benefit by taking care of an animal’s needs. The necessity of feeding, taking a pet for walks, and grooming an animal can provide meaning to a vet’s life and help them focus on something other than their own problems.
It has also been proven in studies that animal-assisted therapy such as the presence of an animal—especially a dog—can help those with sleeping issues. Patients usually get more deep sleep by mitigating anxiety. Dogs can also wake a vet from a nightmare or if they are displaying visible signs of sleep apnea.
Though Emotional Support Animals do not qualify for many of the benefits that Service Animals do, they can still accompany their owner to many public places and be allowed into housing where other animals are normally not allowed. To register your pet as an Emotional Support Animal, you must have a diagnosed mental or emotional disorder and be evaluated by a qualified physician. If you qualify, you will be issued a letter that you can use to distinguish your pet as an ESA so you can keep it with you to provide comfort and support.
Obtaining Your Emotional Support Animal Prescription
If you are a veteran and suffer from PTSD or other emotional disorder talk to a doctor at Mango Clinic to find out if you qualify for an ESA prescription. Call Mango Clinic Miami at (786) 391-0269 to schedule an appointment with a Board Certified physician. You can also complete a simple ESA Online Form to have a doctor contact your via Telehealth.
Did you know that an estimated 61.5 million Americans suffer from some type of emotional or mental disability? Extreme stress, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are just some of the issues impacting some people’s lives. While they may be helped with therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, there are some with emotional disorders who can also benefit from the companionship of a pet. Emotional Support Animals are those pets that are designated by a mental health professional as essential to their owner’s mental health and benefit from several concessions in housing units and on airlines. If you have an emotional disorder and want to find out more about emotional support pets, here is what you need to know.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional Support Animals are different from service animals, which are required to have specialized training and/or experience in order to help their owners. Emotional Support Animals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, may sometimes perform tasks that require training but others provide assistance that requires no training. Any type of animal can be used as an Emotional Support Animal as long as they are providing the comfort and support their owner needs to treat their condition. Dogs and cats are very common ESAs, but others have used pigs, birds, hedgehogs, or even miniature horses as emotional service animals.
What Laws Are Related to Emotional Support Animals?
When you have a pet that has been certified by a mental health professional as an ESA, you will benefit from concessions in two laws: the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act. If you are considering going through the process of getting an ESA letter for your pet, you should be aware of how these laws will apply to you.
If you do not have an ESA letter and want to take your pet on an aircraft, you will be charged extra to have your pet in the cabin with you or your pet will be required to ride in the cargo hold. Under the Air Carrier Access Act, if you have an ESA letter for your pet, the airline cannot prevent you from keeping your pet in the cabin, require advance notice to allow you to keep your pet in the cabin, or charge you extra for this benefit.
The Fair Housing Act requires that landlords make reasonable accommodations for those with Emotional Support Animals even in housing communities that restrict pets. A resident who is in possession of a valid ESA letter cannot be denied housing because they have a pet unless that resident is neglecting the pet or the pet is doing significant damage to the housing unit.
To get these benefits for your Emotional Support Animal, you must have an ESA letter that meets all the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may get one of these letters either by meeting with a qualified mental health professional in person or you may be referred to one through a valid online service that helps connect you with a therapist who can write you an ESA letter.
How Do I Get a Valid ESA Letter?
Valid ESA letters must be issued by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist, therapist, licensed clinical social worker, or psychiatrist. Many of these professionals will either require that you are a patient of theirs undergoing therapy or, if the process is done online, they will go through your medical records and interview you to determine your need for an ESA.
Some of the qualifying conditions to get an ESA letter are depression, anxiety, panic disorder or panic attacks, personality disorders such as borderline or bipolar disorder, fears or phobias, social anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
With your certified ESA letter, you will be recognized as a patient or a patient on a case-by-case basis under the care of a licensed mental health professional for emotional or mental disabilities. The letter also verifies that your disability significantly limits your daily life and affects your ability to perform everyday tasks. Finally, the letter will state the need for your emotional support animal as a necessary part of your therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Emotional Support Animal Letters
Do I Need to Get My ESA Certified?
Certification for an Emotional Support Animal is not only unnecessary, but it is technically impossible. There is no recognized registry for ESAs and ‘registering’ your animal will not give it any special privileges. To designate your pet as an Emotional Support Animal, you need only get a valid ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional. If you are working with a company that says they sell registered Emotional Support Animals or official ESA certifications, you are likely being scammed.
Can I Get an ESA Letter Online?
Yes, you can get an ESA letter online from an online company. However, you must be careful and look out for red flags that would indicate the service is not legitimate. The online company must connect you with a licensed mental health professional as that is the only valid way to get an ESA letter. If the service offers to ‘instantly’ approve you or tells you that your letter will be cheaper than other services, you are probably not working with a legitimate company.
Can I Buy an Emotional Support Dog or Other Animal?
No. Owners of animals are certified with ESA letters, not the pets themselves. If you see any ‘registered’ or ‘licensed’ Emotional Support Animals for sale, those who are selling them are not legitimate. Only those with valid mental or emotional disabilities can be approved to have an ESA and that approval can only come from a licensed mental health professional who has evaluated and/or treated you for your condition.
What Type of Animals Make the Best ESAs?
This is a question without an easy answer because those with emotional or mental health disorders get support from different types of animals. In many cases, the ideal ESA will be the pet you already own. If you have a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, or any other animal that gives you comfort and helps you manage your symptoms, you have the right Emotional Support Animal.
If you have a mental or emotional disorder and do not currently have a pet but think one might help you, your best bet is to go to a shelter. Spend some time with the dogs, cats, or other animals at the shelter and see which one offers you the most comfort. In many cases, dogs or cats make excellent ESAs because of their naturally loving temperaments, ability to be in the home, and because they do not need the specialized care that a more exotic pet would require.
What is the Difference Between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals?
Service animals and Emotional Support Animals are not the same. Service animals must be specially trained to perform duties for their owners. In many cases, the owners of service animals are physically disabled. Service animals can be trained to assist those who are blind or deaf or who are in wheelchairs or who experience debilitating mental disorders.
Service animals are allowed by law into any private establishment while Emotional Support Animals are not. It is much more difficult and expensive to obtain a service animal as they must fit certain training criteria before they can qualify. Some service dogs perform psychiatric services for those with severe emotional or mental health issues while others perform more physical tasks for those who are hearing, seeing, or otherwise physically impaired. Because they perform crucial services for those with disabilities, service dogs have much more public accommodation than their ESA counterparts.
What is the Difference Between Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Dogs?
Emotional Support Animals provide valuable support and comfort by simply acting as a companion to their owners. Because they have one owner and can be with their owner at all times, the bond between owner and ESA can grow very strong. In contrast, therapy dogs are not usually owned by the people they provide treatment too.
Therapy dogs are usually brought into hospitals, nursing homes, or other facilities where treatment is being given to individuals with emotional or physical ailments to provide comfort. Service dogs may also be used in areas where a disaster, such as an earthquake or bombing, has occurred to provide support and comfort to survivors. Because they are not technically considered ESAs or service animals, they are normally not given the same accommodations as either group of animals.
Owners of ESAs must be careful never to misrepresent their animal as either a service dog or a therapy dog and must respect the laws that govern their pet.
Asking Your Doctor for an Emotional Support Animal Letter
If you are currently seeing a mental health professional for an emotional or mental disorder, it’s likely that your doctor is already aware of the many benefits of Emotional Support Animals. More than likely, if you bring up the possibility of obtaining one, he or she will be more than happy to issue you a verified letter.
If you are not currently seeing a mental health professional, you can still obtain a verified ESA letter. There are numerous online services that will provide you with a connection to a mental health professional who can go through your health records, evaluate you, and determine if you qualify for an ESA. If so, they can provide the verified letter that you will need for your pet to receive ESA benefits.
With your verified ESA letter, your Emotional Support Animal can live with you in housing units, homes, condos, dormitories, or any other form of public housing. All of these facilities are included in the Fair Housing Act to accommodate you as a resident or student.
Obtaining an Emotional Support Animal letter from a legitimate provider is a must for those who truly need an Emotional Support Animal. Sadly, too many individuals are finding that the letter they have obtained online is not valid. And unfortunately, finding out the letter is invalid typically coincides with an event that is already highly stressful.
For instance, airlines are not allowed to charge owners of emotional support animals additional fees, and your animal will be allowed to remain with you for the duration of the flight instead of being held with other pets. However, an ESA letter that is from a scam website can mean hours of lost time at the airport arguing about your need for a support animal.
Landlords are also prohibited from charging a person with an emotional support animal letter additional pet fees or deposits, and your rental application cannot be denied due to your ownership of an emotional support animal. Once again, those who may have obtained an ESA letter from a scam website may be unhappy to find that they are denied the ability to rent or must pay an extra fee.
If you attempt to present a fake document to a landlord, they are within their right to deny your application or charge you additional pet ownership fees. It is also illegal to misrepresent an animal as an emotional support animal, and some states may issue a fine if a person attempts to use a fake ESA letter. Sadly, it can be difficult to tell illegitimate ESA letter sites apart from the rest, and many have a very professional appearance.
An ESA letter carries a certain amount of power, but before you purchase one, you should learn the difference between legitimate and illegitimate letter providers.
How Does One Attain a Legitimate ESA Letter?
In order to ensure your ESA letter is legit, you must be seen in person by a licensed medical doctor. Offices like Mango Clinic in Miami offer either standard appointment setting or walk-in care for those with harder schedules. You can also apply for an ESA letter online through Mango Clinic.
Mango Clinic is fully legitimate medical practice with locations in Florida, New York, and California. All of our physicians are licensed to practice medicine in the state of California, New York, and Florida.
What Does TherapyPet.Org Do?
Simply Googling Support Animal ESA letter brings up hundreds of suggested websites. For instance, TherapyPet.Org offers a free online assessment; lets a customer select a letter that seems to fit the bill and then can chat online with a licensed therapist about the nitty-gritty. Oh, and they promise to get that letter out to you within 24 hours. What service… right?
When you see the tiny green lock just to the left of a website’s URL address, it signifies that the site is secure.
– Is the website registered in the US?
Take a minute to check the domain of a website that you might be questioning. For instance, some scam websites are not even registered in the United States which can be a red flag, like Therapypet.org, which is registered in the Bahamas. Also, pay attention to how long the website has been around. Sites that are only a year or two old might be shady.
– Does the website provide info about the “medical staff” or information about their state licensing information?
Any website offering visits with real therapists should offer information about their trained medical staff. It just makes sense, if only to put potential customers at ease. Sites that do not offer such detail are often contracting with out-of-country doctors who are not licensed in the United States.
– Does the site offer to register your pet with a state database?
There is no national database for registering support animals. If the website you are looking at claims this is part of their ESA letter package, it could be a scam.
– Does the company running the website request information about your specific pet?
Many scam websites are noticeably out of date with claims such as Therapypet.org’s claim of “bypass breed and size restrictions”. Customers who believe the website and purchase an ESA letter from them may be surprised to show up for a Delta flight with their pit bull-type service dog only to find that Delta has changed its policy and they are not allowed to fly.
Also, many scam websites do not ask details about your specific pet before providing the scam ESA letter. All ESA letters must include information about your pet and its role in your therapy to be valid. Legitimate providers know the importance of a service or support animal and as such, take great care to stay up-to-date on current policies.
Stories About Fake ESA Letter Mills
There are many false ESA letter mills in existence, but they can be spotted. These sites are a dime a dozen, and here are some testimonials from pet owners who trusted such sites:
After attempting the take her emotional support cat on a flight to Miami, the author of this blog was shocked when the attendant at the airline desk refused to accept her letter. The letter, which was purchased online, was not valid because it lacked information about her disability and was not endorsed by a licensed mental health professional.
Ripoffreport.com is a valid website to search if you are wondering if a website is valid or not. One simple click brought up several negative reviews for TherapyPet.Org.
In this story, the writer registered a stuffed animal with the one site for $65.00, proving not all ESA letter sites are legitimate.
Pet owners should be wary of sites like these – a fake ESA letter is just a click away.
Why Choose ESA Letter form MangoClinic
Here at MangoClinic’s cost and expertise make it the best place to obtain an official ESA letter from. Making sure you are getting a verifiable and legal ESA letter can mean the difference between peace and happiness and stress and anxiety in many situations. Let our medical professionals help.
Is it Difficult to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter?
Do you have a mental or emotional health condition and believe that a pet could enhance your therapy? If so, you are not alone. Many mental health professionals believe that animals can have a beneficial effect on their patients. These animals have been dubbed Emotional Support Animals and benefit from laws regarding housing and airline travel. If you have a legit ESA letter, your pet can live with you regardless of the landlord’s pet policy and with no additional fees. In addition, your ESA can travel in the cabin of an airline with you and the airline may not charge you any fees.
Many people think it is difficult to get an ESA letter. They believe their Emotional Support Animals need to be specially trained like Service Animals to qualify, but this is not true. ESAs need not have any special training and they can be any type of animal. The only requirement is that you have a mental or emotional health condition that can be verified by an LMHP and that you get a legitimate letter written by a mental health professional. Here is more information on how you can get an ESA letter from Mango Clinic in-person or online. Emotional Support Animal in Miami.
Conditions and Types of Animals That Qualify for ESA Letters
An ESA letter is written for you and not for the animal. That means you don’t even have to have an animal in mind yet when you request an ESA letter. You must, however, have a legitimate mental or emotional condition that affects your quality of life. Examples of conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, social anxiety, phobias, or bipolar disorder.
As for the types of animals that can be ESAs, most people choose to use the pets they currently have as Emotional Support Animals. These are typically dogs or cats as they are the easiest to care for and travel with and also provide the greatest amount of emotional support. However, any animal can qualify as an ESA and there have been many birds, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, and even miniature horses that have been used as Emotional Support Animals.
How to Get an ESA Letter
The process for securing an ESA letter is not difficult, especially if you are currently experiencing stress, anxiety or depression. Simply explain to a doctor why you think an animal would enhance your therapy and why you need them to travel with you or live with you in housing that otherwise would not allow animals. If the ESA doctor sees a legitimate need for an ESA, he or she will most likely be happy to write the esa letter.
However, even those who are not currently receiving therapy can also receive an ESA letter. There are many reputable companies online that can connect you with a doctor who can provide you with an ESA letter. The physician will go through your health records to determine what condition you are suffering from and will interview you to see if you are a good fit for an ESA. If so, he or she will issue you a legitimate ESA letter that can be used to show your landlord and/or airline you are traveling on. To start your legitimate online ESA prescription application click here.
How to Spot a Fake ESA Letter
Not all online services are reputable, though. There are some red flags you can look out for that can serve as warnings of a scam. If the company offers to ‘register’ your pet as an ESA, they are probably not legitimate. ESA letters are written for you, not your pet, and there is no recognized ESA registration in the country. Other signs of a scam are if the company says they will provide you with a cheap ESA. Since legitimate ESA letters take the time and effort of s doctor, they are not cheap. If you feel you are working with a company that is not legitimate, you should either do more research or choose a different company.
Choosing a Legitimate ESA Letter Company
Choosing a legitimate ESA service does not have to be confusing or difficult. Make sure the company you are working with has a physical location and that they have Licensed Mental Health Professionals on staff. Mango Clinic, for example, has both of these. They are also available seven days a week, their letters are valid in all states, and they offer a complete money-back guarantee. You can apply at their clinic or online. Best of all, they offer continued customer service after you get your letter just in case you require any assistance.
If you have a pet or want to get a pet to help with your mental or emotional issues, you should look into getting an ESA letter. This will ensure that you never have to be without your source of support no matter where you live or travel to.
Cherished pets can be enormous sources of support and comfort to their owners. For those who are experiencing mental or emotional health issues, they can be especially helpful in providing relief from suffering and offering unconditional love. In many cases, an individual who suffers from an emotional or mental disability can get a special letter from a licensed mental health professional that designates their pet as an Emotional Support Animals (or ESA). Are you curious about what an ESA is and how you can get a verified letter so that your pet can benefit from the laws regarding ESAs? Read on for answers to frequently asked questions regarding Emotional Support Animals.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An Emotional Support Animal is not the same as a service animal, which requires special training and certification. ESAs do not have to be trained and can be any type of animal including a cat, dog, bird, hamster, reptile, or even a miniature pony or pot-bellied pig. Your ESA must be well-behaved and house-broken and cannot pose a danger to your neighbors or members of the general public. However, they do not need to perform any special tasks to be considered an ESA. Many people already own a pet that provides them with the support and comfort they need and will get a letter to certify their current pet as an ESA so they can benefit from housing and airline laws.
The main purpose of an ESA is to provide companionship, comfort, and support for their owners who are experiencing a mental or emotional disability. ESA may help those with PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, or other types of major emotional issues.
What Types of Animals Can Be Emotional Support Animals?
As stated above, almost any type of animal can qualify as an ESA as long as they provide the emotional support and comfort needed by their owner. Dogs and cats are the most common types of ESAs. Though some breeds are better at providing comfort than others, there is no legal requirement for your ESA to be a certain breed or type of animal. Dogs and cats make popular ESAs because they are the most popular types of pets in the United States and also because they are relatively easy to take care of and travel with. In addition, dogs and cats are easier to share physical contact with. This physical contact is often what provides the support and comfort their owners need.
It is legally possible for birds, rats, rabbits, snakes, monkeys, hedgehogs, and other animals to be certified as ESAs. However, they may pose a hazard to public safety, be difficult to care for or travel with or be insufficient in providing the physical comfort their owners need. Each case is evaluated individually by a licensed mental health professional to determine if the animal is providing sufficient comfort and support to qualify as an ESA.
How does ESA Dogs Differ from Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs?
There are many differences between emotional support dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. An Emotional Support dog is specifically for those suffering from emotional or mental disabilities and is not trained to perform certain tasks. Instead, they act as a companion and source of emotional support to their owners in the form of therapy. For a person to designate their pet dog as an ESA, they must have a valid letter from a licensed mental health professional.
Service dogs, on the other hand, are specifically trained to help individuals with impairments such as seizures, hearing loss, visual impairment, post-traumatic stress disorder, or mobility impairments. They must be trained and certified as service dogs and benefit from being able to go anywhere their owners go.
Therapy dogs are typically not owned by the person they are treating. Instead, their owner takes them to facilities or locations where their support is needed such as nursing homes, hospitals, or mental health facilities. The therapy dogs are a source of comfort and support to those they visit with, but they do not stay with the individuals they are helping and go home with the owner after their visit concludes.
What are the Laws, Rules, and Regulations Related to ESAs?
There are two primary laws that relate to Emotional Service Animals.
The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 (FHA) states that those with ESAs must be able to keep their pets with them even if they live in a housing facility with a no-pets policy. The landlord must also make suitable accommodations for their animal and cannot charge any extra fees such as pet fees or deposits related to the animal. ESAs must also be allowed into any ‘common area’ in the facility.
The second law is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). This law states that no airline can refuse the owner of an ESA or the ESA itself from air travel and that the ESA can travel in the cabin with its owner. The owner is also exempted from fees that may otherwise be charged to those who travel with pets. Passengers who intend to bring their ESAs with them on a flight should contact the airline prior to travel to verify their pet and alert the airline of their status.
Can I Own More Than One ESA?
Yes. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) makes allowances for those individuals who require more than one ESA to assist with their therapy. However, if you own more than one ESA, you may have to check with your landlord or airline if you plan on living with or flying with multiple ESAs.
Do I Need an ESA Letter?
To benefit from the laws that protect ESAs and their owners, you must have a valid Emotional Support Animal letter written by a licensed mental health professional. This letter must be written by an LMHP who has treated you or who has conducted a thorough health screening and determined you would benefit from an Emotional Support Animal. Most landlords and all airlines will require a valid ESA letter before they grant you the legal benefits of owning an ESA.
How Do I Qualify for an ESA Letter?
If you have an emotional or mental disability such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other similar conditions, you may be able to qualify for an ESA. If you are currently seeing a licensed mental health professional, you can simply tell your therapist that you believe you would benefit from an ESA and ask them to write a letter verifying your condition and that your treatment would be enhanced by an ESA.
If you are not currently seeing a mental health professional, you can find a service online that will help connect you with one. Once you have been connected with an LMHP who is licensed to practice in your state, he or she will conduct a thorough health screening to determine what type of mental or emotional disability you suffer from and that you would benefit from an ESA. If you qualify, the LMHP will write you an ESA letter so you may benefit from the laws governing Emotional Support Animals.
How Can I Determine if My ESA Letter is Legitimate?
Unfortunately, there are many online companies who take advantage of those with mental or emotional disabilities and provide fake ESA letters. Once you know what to look for in an ESA letter, you can easily determine if the service you are working with is legitimate.
First, the service must have a licensed mental health professional on staff. You can ask for verification of this before you go through the process of paying for your ESA letter. Second, the LMHP must conduct a thorough health screening before they offer to write you an ESA letter. Without this screening, your letter will not be valid.
If the service says they offer ‘quick’ or ‘cheap’ ESA letters, it may be a good indication that they are not a legitimate service. ESA letters involve time and effort and therefore a cheap or quick alternative is generally invalid. You should also be aware that any service that offers to put your animal on an ‘Emotional Support Animal Registry’ is not legitimate. There are no official registries for ESAs and your ESA is not required to be registered anywhere to benefit from ESA laws.
Can My Request for an ESA Letter Be Denied?
Just because you ask your therapist or an online LMHP for an ESA letter does not guarantee you will get one. The mental health professional must legally perform a thorough health screening on you to determine what type of mental or emotional disability you suffer from and if this disability would be improved by the presence of an ESA. If the LMHP cannot verify your condition or does not think that an ESA would help your condition, your request for an ESA letter will be denied.
What Public Places Can I Bring My ESA to?
Your ESA can accompany you to any pet-friendly location throughout the world. In some cases, you may also be able to bring your ESA to locations that otherwise restrict the access of pets. For example, if you believe having your ESA with you in your place of employment is necessary for your therapy, the Fair Employment and Housing Act would apply and your employer would need to make suitable accommodations for you to bring your pet to work. You will also be able to have your ESA with you in your college dorm room or housing facility and you may also be able to take your pet with you to class in some cases.
When traveling, you are legally allowed to have your ESA with you in the cabin of the airplane and will not be charged any extra fees for doing so. Many hotels will also accommodate ESAs for their guests, though they are not legally required to do so. If you plan on traveling and staying in a hotel, always call first to find out if you will be able to keep your ESA in your room with you.
When it comes to restaurants and stores, you should always check their policies before attempting to bring your ESA in. While some restaurants and stores are pet-friendly or willing to make accommodations for ESAs, they are not legally obligated to do so. It is always smart to call ahead to see where your ESA will be welcome.
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If you believe you have experienced discrimination in renting or buying a home, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities, you can file a complaint with HUD. Click here
Life with an Emotional Support Animal is better. Your Emotional Support Pet helps you deal with emotional or mental disorders you’re struggling with and they get the honor of being your helper. Your life is made better by the presence of your ESA, and you’re legally protected when it comes to keeping your ESA near. You might have some questions about renting and when an emotional support animal is allowed. Here is what you need to know if you plan on keeping an ESA in your rental apartment or home.
Do I Have to Tell My Landlord About My Pet Before Signing?
No. You are not legally required to tell your landlord about your Emotional Support Animal, even if the building doesn’t ordinarily allow pets. Emotional Support Animals have special legal privileges. You shouldn’t keep your Emotional Support Animal a secret, however, and it will help inspire mutual trust if you tell your landlord ahead of time. Legally, however, you aren’t required to tell them anything about your ESA before signing.
Do I Need to Tell a Landlord If My Pet is Dangerous?
Yes. In most cases, your Emotional Support Animal is protected by law, and your landlord can’t discriminate. Your landlord has legal rights too, however. If your animal compromises the safety of other tenants in your building, the safety of their property, or if your ESA causes the landlord undue financial hardship, then your landlord can deny you and your ESA residency. Your landlord can evict you under these circumstances, and if you think your ESA might fall into one of those three categories, you should let your landlord know.
Do I Need to Tell My Landlord the Dog’s Breed?
No. You can feel free to share this information, but any dog is protected by law if they’re an Emotional Support Animal. Even a building that only allows small dogs can’t refuse your golden retriever or German shepherd. Emotional Support Animals are exempt from weight or breed discrimination, so you shouldn’t worry if your emotional support animal doesn’t fall under the building’s usual requirements.
Do I Need to Show a Landlord Proof that My Pet is an Emotional Support Animal?
Yes. Once your landlord knows you’re moving in with a pet, you’ll need to provide him or her proof of your animal’s service. In order for your animal to qualify as an Emotional Support Animal, you should have a letter from your doctor or therapist. It’s within your landlord’s legal rights to see this letter and to demand proof that your animal is, in fact, an ESA.
Do I Need to Explain My Disability?
No. In fact, asking any personal questions about your disability is illegal on the landlord’s part. You don’t need to share any personal information about your disability, how you got it, what it is, or how your Emotional Support Animal helps you cope. You legally have a right to keep this information private, and you can refuse to answer personal questions if your landlord asks them.
Your Emotional Support Animal doesn’t enjoy all the same rights as a service animal. Since your Emotional Support Animal isn’t as carefully trained as a service animal, they may not be let into all public buildings. You do, however, have a legal right to your Emotional Support Animal in your housing situation. Unless your Emotional Support Animal is dangerous or destructive, then your landlord is legally required to let them live with you. Whenever you move into a new building, it’s important to know your rights ahead of time and know what to tell your landlord.
To schedule your in-person or online appointment call Mango Clinic at (305)776-2898