Emotional Support Animal – Frequently Asked Questions

How an Emotional Support Animal And Service Dog Differ

There is a good chance that you have heard about emotional support animals or better known to many as ESAs (emotional support animal) and Service dogs. However, you may not know that the two are actually quite different. A service dog is an animal that undergoes special training to assist its owner with disabilities. For instance, a Seeing Eye dog would be classified as a service dog.

Emotional support animals on the other hand provide therapeutic benefits, by offering companionship and affection. Emotional support animals do not have to undergo any type of special training to perform these tasks. In fact, there are several different types and breeds of animals that can be classified as ESAs. However, only dogs or mini horses can be trained to be support animals. Of course, dogs are among the most common type of animal utilized as an emotional support animal.

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Are There Laws that Protect Service Dogs And Emotional Support Animals?

There are specially designed laws that can protect ESAs and service dogs in certain situations. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects service dogs. The Fair Housing Authority (FHA) and Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) protect emotional support animals.

Service dogs are not restricted as much as ESAs. In fact, service dogs are allowed to go anywhere. Whereas, ESAs are required to follow all the pet policies in all locations, except in one’s permanent residence.

 

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Process For Registering An Emotional Support Animal

You will be happy to learn that the registration process for ESAs is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is visit our homepage, fill in the necessary information on the short form and you will be registered almost instantly. Once your order is process, you will receive an electronic certification card via your e-mail inbox. All other items will be shipped directly to your mailing address within 24-78 hours of the initial order. After you complete this process, you will have access to merchandise and a variety of information including updates and legal changes.

Qualifying For An Emotional Support Animals

Since emotional support animals do not require any special training, the owner is required to acquire a certified letter, composed by a licensed mental health or primary care physician. The letter will explain the therapeutic benefits that the animal provides to the owner and the owner’s need for this type of support.

Our website works with various mental health professionals to offer anyone the opportunity to undergo one of these evaluation. Once you have been deemed a suitable candidate for an emotional support animal, you will receive your certification by email. The official document will also be shipped to your physical address.

Flying On An Airplane With ESAs

When flying, all animals must remain in the cargo area, except for ESAs and service animals. ESAs and service animals are the only type of animals that are actually allowed in the cabin of the plane. If you are flying with an emotional support animal, most airlines will require you to notify them advance. It is best to notify the airline of your conditions several days before your scheduled flight. Keep in mind that you may be required to present your certified letter in advance, as well. In this case, you will need to arrive at the airport at least 30-45 minutes early, so the representative can verify the document. Each airline has different rules and regulations and it is important that you read and understand them.

Is There A Size Limit For ESAs?

ESAs and service dogs cannot be the subject of discrimination. This basically means that there are no limitations on the size of the animal. Lawmakers understand that various breeds are used for service and emotional support animals. The size variances will not matter in this case, because all airlines must accept the animal regardless of size.

Can I Take My ESA In Public Facilities?

Emotional support animals are not allowed to access to all public areas. Always seek permission before taking your ESA into any public facility. However, if you are the owner of a service dog, you will be happy to know that the ADA Act protects your animal from discrimination. It is important to note that in some states, you will be required to obtain a valid service dog license from the Department of Health. Service dogs are granted permission to access all medical clinics, hospitals, motels, grocery stores, theaters, and government entities.

If I Own An ESA Do I Need Any Proof When Moving Into A New Residence?

As mentioned above, anytime you are relocating with an ESA, you will be required to present a letter of prescription to the landlord. Under no circumstances will the landlord be able to deny the ESA reasonable accommodations. Of course, it will be up to the owner to ensure the safety of others and keep the dog under their control at all times.

 

Are There Any Extra Fees For Flying With An ESA?

ESAs can have the privilege of flying in the cabin of the airplane with the handler. This applies to any commercial or private flight. You should also know that any airline is not allowed to charge you any additional fees for bringing along your ESA. Keep in mind that you will need your letter of prescription and in most cases you are going to have to present this letter in advance.

ESAs And Not Pet Housing

When it comes to renting a home, apartment, or condo all landlords are required to make the proper accommodations for tenants with ESAs. Even if the lease on the home, apartment, or condo says no pets allowed the landlord is required by law to make an exception. However, the landlord may require you to undergo a mental evaluation through a third-party health professional.

Does My ESA Or Service Animal Need To Wear Identifying Gear?

According to the ADA Act, ESAs or service animals are not required to wear any special clothing or gear. However, you should know that these items can prove to be very beneficial. For instance, if you take your service animal into a public area without appropriate gear, spectators may become suspicious. If the animal is wearing one of these harnesses or vests, everyone will instantly identify it as an ESA or service animal. This will help cut down on unnecessary explanations. At the end of the day, this special gear is going to make all of your outdoor expeditions better.

How To Register Your Pet As A Service Animal

If you are interested in registering your pet as a service animal, you can do so this by visiting our website. However, you need to keep in mind that service animals have been specifically trained to aid a disabled person in every aspect of their life. ESAs on the other hand are only there to provide therapeutic support, but this does not make them any less important.

Is There Anyone I Can Talk To For Legal Advice?

Unfortunately, there are times when you may come across an unruly landlord, manager, or staff member, who does not want to comply with the federal laws. If you run into any problems or need legal advice of any sort, you can contact the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is the section of the government that deals with the laws regarding ESA and support animals.

What Animals Can Be ESAs?

Any animal that can provide therapeutic support can be considered an emotional support animal. However, the same rules do not apply to service animals. When it comes to service animals, only canines or miniature horses can undergo the special training that is required to be classified a “service animal”.

How To Find A Doctor That Will Give You A Letter Of Prescription

There are various licensed medical professionals that can write you a letter of prescription. This certified document is something that you will have to present to the airlines and landlords, so it is imperative that you acquire one, before or immediately after you obtain your ESA. However, our website offers everyone an easy way to schedule a mental health evaluation. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, all you need to do is visit our website. Here, you will find everything you need to know about this document and process. You can schedule an appointment for your mental health evaluation during this visit, as well.

Are Landlords Allowed To Charge Me Pet Fees?

If you want to speak in technical terms your ESA or support animals is not considered a pet. Basically, this means that landlords or property owners are required by law to waive any additional fess, applied to other domestic pets. If you have any problems with the landlord or manager, you can should visit the Department of Justice website or contact them directly by phone. This government entity will be able to assist you in taking legal action to correct the issue.

Taking Care Of Your Animal

As an ESA or service animal owner, you are afforded a lot of special privileges that are protected by federal laws. However, you should keep in mind that your animal is your responsibility. This means that you need to take care of your animal in the same manner that you would take care of yourself.