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.
Asking Your Doctor for an Emotional Support Animal Letter
Emotional Support Animals, or ESAs, can be any type of animal that helps relieve anxiety or provides comfort to those in need. ESAs are not the same as Service Animals and it’s important to know the difference between them as well as to know about the registration process and the benefits that come from registering your pet as an ESA. If you’re interested in registering your animal as an ESA so you can get a letter to show your landlord or airline personnel, continue reading for more information.
Getting a Doctor’s Prescription for an ESA
The first step toward registering your pet as an ESA is getting a valid Emotional Support Animal letter from a licensed mental health professional. The law states that without this letter, you will not be able to register your pet. Qualifying mental health professionals include clinical social workers, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. According to the law, you may not get a recommendation from any other type of physician or health industry representative or it will not be valid. If you see commercials or ads promoting their ability to provide you with an ESA form, be very careful as they may be fraudulent.
Conditions That Qualify for ESA Registration
To get a prescription for an ESA, you must have a psychological or emotional difficulty that impacts your daily life. ESAs help those with these types of conditions by providing companionship and unconditional love. In certain situations, they can also help those with anxiety or irrational fears by scanning rooms for danger or just by requiring care that obligates their owner to put aside negative thoughts or anxieties to take proper care of them. If you have an emotional or mental disorder, an ESA can quickly become a vital part of your life. That is why it is crucial that you get a letter that will allow your pet to live with you even in housing where animals are not normally allowed and to fly with you in the cabin of an airplane at no additional cost when other animals are required to ride in the cargo hold.
How to Tell if Your ESA Letter is Legitimate
It’s unfortunate that disreputable businesses are willing to take advantage of those with emotional disorders, but that is often the case. There are multiple websites that claim to offer legitimate ESA letters, but many are scams and the letters will not hold up if they are thoroughly examined. Not only are these letters a waste of your money, but they could also cause major problems with your living situation or on a trip if you use them to verify your emotional service animal.
A legitimate ESA letter will have all of these elements:
The letter will be written on a qualifying mental health professional’s letterhead and include their signature and the date the letter was issued.
The letter must include the mental health professional’s state where their license was issued, license number, license type, and date of the license.
The letter must acknowledge that you have been evaluated by the licensed mental health professional and diagnosed with a condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The letter must confirm that your mental or emotional disorder is having a significant negative impact on your daily life and that an ESA would have a strong positive effect on your well-being.
The letter must clearly state how your ESA will help your emotional or mental condition.
The letter must feature a specific prescription for your ESA.
The letter can include information on your pet as well as your name, but this is not required.
The letter must include an assessment of your ability to care for your ESA in a proper manner.
How to Ask Your Doctor for an ESA Letter
As stated above, only a licensed mental health professional can issue you a valid ESA letter. If you are already in therapy with a qualifying professional, you may ask him or her to write you a letter so you may register your animal. Your therapist will need to decide whether or not an ESA is appropriate in your situation. If he or she believes an ESA will help with your therapy, a letter will be issued.
Some of those who are not already in therapy may also benefit from an ESA but do not know how to get a letter because they are not under a mental health professional’s care. If this is your situation, you should seek out the help of a licensed mental health professional and explain to them why you need an ESA letter. The therapist will evaluate you and your condition to decide if an ESA will truly help with your therapy. Be aware that many physicians or therapists will want to treat you for a period of time before they are willing to issue you an ESA letter.
Some therapists do not believe that ESAs are effective in treating mental or emotional disorders and will, therefore, be unlikely to issue you the letter you are seeking. Other mental health professionals have been taken advantage of by individuals who simply want their pet to live with them or to take them on an airplane and do not have a mental health condition. If you seek out a therapist and immediately ask for an ESA letter, you may be put into this category and rejected. If you want to ask for an ESA letter in person, it’s best to seek out therapy for your condition and ask for the letter after you have been treated for a period of time. However, if you need an ESA letter right away or cannot afford prolonged therapy, you may also seek out a provider online who is willing to provide a valid letter.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter Online
If you decide to seek an ESA letter online, you must be very careful that you work only with a licensed mental health professional. Any online service that promises a valid ESA letter and does not have a licensed mental health professional on staff is a scam. Another way to tell an online service is a scam is if they offer to list your pet in emotional support animal registries. There are no official ESA registries and no one can buy a registered ESA. The only way to designate your pet as an ESA is to get a valid letter from a licensed mental health professional. Online ESA Application click here.
How to Tell Legitimate Websites from Scams
There are legitimate online services that can provide valid ESA letters for your animal—you just need to know how to recognize them. The website must offer to connect you with a licensed mental health professional who can evaluate your situation and determine if you qualify for an ESA. The service should also ask you some pertinent questions that will be forwarded to the health professional. Once the service does these two things, the therapist should contact you to learn more about your situation and review your emotional and mental status. If he or she determines that you would benefit from an ESA, you will receive both an electronic and paper copy of your ESA letter. Only then will you be allowed to call your pet an Emotional Support Animal and gain the benefits.
There are some red flags you can look for when it comes to spotting fake ESA letters. They include letters that are very low in cost as actual letters from mental health professionals involve time and energy and the cost reflects that. If you find a service offering cheap letters or bragging about the low cost, it very well may be illegitimate.
Another red flag is if the service refers to ‘registering’ your ESA. There is no requirement (or benefit) from registering your pet as an ESA and there is no legitimate registry of ESAs. If you do not have a legitimate ESA letter for your pet regardless of its ‘registration’ status, a landlord or airline will not recognize it as an Emotional Support Animal.
A third red flag is a service that guarantees instant approval and issue of your ESA letter. It takes time to be connected to and evaluated by a licensed mental health professional, therefore instant approval is not possible. If the service you are working with tells you that approval will be instant, you should look for a different service.
Benefits of an Emotional Support Animal
Once you have obtained a legitimate ESA letter for your pet, it will have certain rights that pets without ESA status do not have. An Emotional Support Animal can fly with you in the cabin of an airplane at no additional cost. An ESA can also live with you in a housing facility that does not allow pets. Your landlord is also legally obligated to waive any pet deposits or fees that are normally charged to pet owners in their housing units. ESAs do not have to undergo any special training, but they are expected to be calm and well-behaved.
If you have a mental or emotional disorder that can be helped with the companionship of a pet, you should contact your therapist or a company specializing in legit ESA letters to learn more about getting a letter for your animal.
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.
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