Emotional Support Animals

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Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are untrained pets that help a person deal with emotional or psychiatric disabilities through love and companionship. Almost any animal, including dogs, cats, and miniature horses, can become an ESA.
Updated on October 30, 2023
Emotional Support Animals

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional Support Animals are animals that help their owners mitigate the symptoms of their disabilities through care, love, and comfort Researchers believe that these animals provide therapeutic benefits that further alleviate symptoms of emotional or psychiatric disabilities in humans.

Irrespective of breed, size, or weight, any animal can be an emotional support animal. An individual can choose any one from different types of animals. Some people prefer traditional pets like dogs and cats, while others also like to pet rabbits, turtles, peacocks, fish, etc. These animals don’t require any special training.

What Are the Benefits of Emotional Support Animals?

As already mentioned, Emotional Support Animals are very beneficial for individuals with emotional or psychiatric disabilities. Considering this, the alleviation of overall emotional or psychiatric disabilities is because of the comfort, love, companionship, and support they offer, which makes them a perfect emotional support animal.

Some of the benefits of emotional support animals are;

  • ESA Offers a Promising Company – When you are lonely or feel alone even after being surrounded by people, an ESA can be your promising friend who will always be there for you. You can easily overcome the feeling of loneliness with an ESA by your side.
  • ESA Evokes Your Responsibility trait – It is a known fact that keeping a pet in the house, taking care of it, preparing meals for it, bathing it, etc., makes you more responsible and accountable; the same is in the case of having an ESA.
  • ESA Improves Your Physical Health – When you have an ESA in your house, taking it for walks or playing with it will naturally level up your physical activity. The rise in physical activity will indirectly improve your heart health, balance cholesterol levels, etc.
  • It is a Give and Take Relationship – The love and care you give to your Emotional Support animals, they will provide to you a lot more than that. Your ESA will love you the most and want nothing but your happiness back.
  • ESAs Curb Your Anxiety – Whether it is social anxiety or anxiety that comes up with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) or any other type of anxiety, petting an ESA can alleviate anxious feelings and make you feel calm, relaxed, and loved.
  • ESA Helps You Heal from depression – When depression can make it impossible to leave your bed, being surrounded by your emotional support animal will give you courage in these challenging times and support you to heal quickly.
  • ESAs Help Overcome Trauma – Many people have cured their years of trauma by petting an emotional support animal. Childhood Traumas due to sudden incidents or years of abuse are most challenging to overcome, but an ESA can help you with this too.
  • ESA Also Assist in Other mental disorders – Along with Anxiety, stress, trauma, and depression, an emotional support animal can also alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders like Phobias, Panic attacks, Eating disorders, etc.

How To Get An Emotional Support Animal?

Your dog must have a letter from a qualified medical professional to be certified as ESA.

What is the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal?

Emotional Support Animals and Service animals indeed have some similarities, but the roles of both are different at the core.

Talking about Service animals, these are the animals specially trained to assist their disabled owner in performing daily activities. Here, the disabilities could be physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric, or mental. Now the assistance in daily activities could be:

  1. Helping in crossing the street.
  2. Guiding the owner in the crowd.
  3. Reminding the owner to take medications.
  4. Bringing items like newspapers, towels, water bottles, etc.
  5. Alerting the owner in case of danger.

Unlike Emotional Support Animals, all animals cannot qualify as service animals; only dogs and miniature horses are considered service animals.

Emotional Support Animal VS Service Animal

What are the laws around emotional support animals?

As per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing authorities are obliged to allow emotional support animals under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Fair Housing Act

“The Fair Housing Act prohibits this discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual harassment), familial status, and disability.”

Here the disability could be physical or mental either. A disability that limits an individual from performing normal life activities. Therefore, the landlords cannot discriminate and deny the request for reasonable accommodation to a disabled individual under the fair housing act.

A reasonable accommodation request can also be an emotional support animal for a disabled individual. Therefore, the landlords cannot;

  • Deny assistance animals in the building,
  • Demand extra pet fees to keep the ESA in the building,
  • Demand the ESA parent to get their ESAs specially trained,
  • Question about the details of a person’s disability.

With that being said, federal laws do not provide any protection if the emotional support animal harms the landlord’s property or other tenants. The landlord can charge for the damage and even ask to remove ESA from the building by giving an extra 10-day notice in these cases.

Section 504 of the American Rehabilitation act

Section 504 of the American Rehabilitation Act states that disabled individuals cannot be discriminated against by the housing that receives federal financial assistance.

Therefore, schools or college dorms are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with a disability or denying their request for reasonable accommodation.

The housing authorities face the same obligation under Section 504 of the rehabilitation act that they cannot;

  • Deny assistance animals in the building,
  • Demand extra pet fees to keep the ESA in the building,
  • Demand the ESA parent to get their ESAs specially trained,
  • Question about the details of a person’s disability.

Similarly, housing authorities can waive the access of an emotional support animal to no-pet buildings if the ESA harms the housing property or other tenants.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits any kind of discrimination against disabled Individuals in the United States. The protections offered by the ADA are somewhat similar to the Fair Housing section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination against race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability(added later.) However, the difference lies in that the ADA solely protects Disabled Individuals.

Another difference lies in the range of the ADA, which is much wider than the FHA. The ADA protections extend to other areas of public life other than public accommodations, including transportation, employment, education, etc.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) manages that employers would not violate the ADA by discriminating against employees based on their disability. Similarly, the United States Department of Transportation makes sure that all the transit authorities in the U.S. make every necessary effort to make public transit vehicles and facilities convenient for disabled individuals as per the ADA.

You should also know that Any state or local government, company, business, and even non-profit organization that serves the citizens must allow Service animals with disabled individuals. For example, service animals are allowed in public places like malls, stores, restaurants, local government agencies, schools, universities, and colleges.

How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

To qualify for an emotional support animal, a person needs to determine that they have the conditions of mental or physical disability.
To know if the person has a disability, many licensed mental health professionals follow the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM. This manual is frequently used by practitioners worldwide to make accurate diagnoses.

Condition-1: You Should have a Qualifying Condition

To qualify for an emotional support animal, you should have at least one disability that is substantially limiting your ability to perform daily life activities;

Here is the list of some of the disabilities mentioned in DSM-V;

  • ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance-related disorders (alcohol, drugs
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic Attacks
  • OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Sexual disorder
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Phobias
  • PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Learning Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Autism and many more.

If you have any one of the conditions, you can definitely qualify for an emotional support animal. However, only a licensed health professional has the right to decide whether your illness is appropriate to have an ESA or not.

Condition-2: The Animal Should Help You With Disability

The animal you choose as an assistance animal must provide you comfort and support to cure your mental or emotional illness.

It doesn’t need to be some unique animal. You can choose any pet from a local pet store, adopt a street dog/cat or even get one from your family or friend.

Select any type or breed of animal. Dog, cat, rat, squirrel, peacock, goldfish, or any other animal that you believe can help you with your mental disorders or emotional struggles.

You can make a normal pet your Emotional support animal if you get an ESA letter from a licensed health professional.

How to Make Your Pet an Emotional Support Animal?

At Fast ESA Letter, a team of doctors is always ready to help you. With our services we assure that you will not have to face any trouble at any stage of the process. You can receive your recommendation directly from licensed professionals in just 24 hours. All it takes is three clicks.

About the Author

Lisa Tevis

Lisa Tevis

Lisa is a talented professional writer at Fast ESA Letter, fueled by a deep passion for animals. With a natural affinity for their well-being, Lisa combines her writing skills with her love for animals to create engaging and informative content. As a proud pet parent, Lisa shares her life with two beloved dogs, who have enriched her understanding of the human-animal bond. Through her work, Lisa aims to raise awareness about emotional support animals (ESAs) and their positive impact on mental health.

More on Emotional Support Animals

Can I Bring an Emotional Support Animal to School?

Can I Bring an Emotional Support Animal to School?

On college campuses, emotional support animals are permitted, but the policies differ from school to school. People with psychological problems such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, eating disorders, and insomnia can benefit therapeutically from having emotional support animals.

Where Can I Take Emotional Support Animals?

Where Can I Take Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals offer excellent assistance to their owners by providing comfort, support, and companionship that make living with mental health conditions easy.
In this blog, we’ll provide a detailed guide on where emotional support animals are allowed and places where they’re not allowed to accompany their owners.

Emotional Support Animals for Kids

Emotional Support Animals for Kids

Emotional Support Animal for any age category with any mental disorder would work the same as an adult registering for an ESA. Now a day young kids had also started to suffer from various psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, Autism, Dyslexia, etc. Hence, It is an alpha topic to discuss. Who wants their children to suffer from any mental ail. Thus an Emotional Support Animal gives a lot of support to kids who suffer from mental disorders.

How to Ask Doctor for Emotional Support Animal

How to Ask Doctor for Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) plays a vital role in an individual’s life that is living with a disability or suffering from anxiety, depression, or any mental health issues. Just like any other health issue, talking about your mental health is also crucial. People generally feel shy regarding talking about their mental health. It gives them an embarrassing feel to talk about their mental condition. When it comes to visiting a specialist in this regard, they generally feel low about concerning a doctor for their mental issues.

Looking To Apply For an Emotional Support Animal Letter

Apply for your legitimate ESA letter online and get approved by a State Licensed Mental Health Professional. All done from the comfort of your home.

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