Emotional Support Animal (ESA): Complete Expert’s Guide
Published on: 06/01/2022Home »
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However, animals have been serving the human race long before the Pandemic. Whether we talk about hustling millennials, young children, adults in their mid-years, or lonely senior citizens, assistance animals have proven beneficial for all.
Over the years, acknowledging their significance, they were referred to as Emotional Support Animals.
If you do not know about emotional support animals and their difference from pets, keep reading this article.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
As per Wikipedia,
An emotional support animal is an animal that provides relief to individuals with “psychiatric disability through companionship.”
Therefore, ESAs are the animals that aid individuals suffering from emotional or psychiatric disabilities with their love and companionship. 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;
- 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.
- Evoke 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Curb 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What is the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal?
Emotional Support Animals and Service animals indeed have some similarities, but their roles are both 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;
- Help in crossing the street
- Guiding the owner in the crowd
- Reminding the owner to take medications
- Bringing items like newspapers, towels, water bottles, etc.
- Alerting the owner in case of danger
- and lots more.
Unlike Emotional Support Animals, all animals cannot qualify as service animals; only dogs and miniature horses are considered service animals.
|Assist owners suffering from an emotional, psychiatric, or mental disability.||Assist owners suffering from a physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric, or mental disability.|
|They don’t require any special training.||Only trained animals can qualify as service animals.|
|The Fair Housing Act and American Rehabilitation Act protect ESAs.||The Americans With Disabilities Act(ADA) and Air Carrier Access act protects service animals.|
|You can choose any animal as an ESA.||Only miniature horses and dogs can be service animals.|
Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) are the service animals solely used to treat Psychiatric disabilities in disabled individuals. PSDs are different from emotional support animals in the fact that they are trained. You can self-train or get your dog trained by some professional to make it your PSD.
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 (FHAct), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Fair Housing Act
According to the Fair housing act, rights and obligations:
“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.
Air Carrier Access Act
Earlier, the DOT(Department of Transportation) obliged airlines to allow emotional support animals on the planes and restricted them from demanding extra pet fees for flying under ACAA(Air Carrier Access Act).
However, ACAA withdrew all the protection it used to offer in 2021. For that very reason, DOT has given a green flag to airlines, and now, it’s up to them if they want to allow ESA flying or charge them like a normal pet.
Click here to check airlines that still allow ESA flying.
Note: PSD and service animals are still allowed to travel in aircraft. Psychiatrically disabled individuals can travel with their trained dogs if they have PSD Letter signed by state-licensed health professionals.
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.
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What makes an emotional support animal?
Almost any animal can qualify as an ESA, irrespective of their breed, size, or weight, and they do not need any special training. Therefore, you can qualify your pet as an ESA if you fulfill the conditions mentioned below;
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
- Panic Attacks
- OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Sexual disorder
- Developmental coordination disorder
- 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.
What is an ESA Recommendation Letter for?
An ESA Letter, a.k.a Health professional’s recommendation letter, is legitimate proof of your disability. This letter gives you the legal authority to benefit from Emotional Support Animal Laws.
An ESA letter is a legitimate document signed and written by a licensed mental health professional on official letterhead. It is a kind of prescription letter for an Emotional Support Animal. This letter proves the patient has an emotional support animal as a part of the ongoing treatment for curing mental or emotional illnesses.
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 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 dog an emotional support dog?
With the Fast ESA Letter, our team of professionals is always ready to help you to resolve your every doubt. We make sure with our services that you will not have to face any trouble whether this is your first time or not. You can receive a recommendation directly from licensed professionals in just 24 hours. All it takes is three clicks. Here’s how you can get started:
Step – 1 Fill up and Submit ESA Evaluation Form Online.
To begin with, fill out the online evaluation form with your medical details and describe your emotional support animal.
Step – 2 Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.
Afterwards, A Licensed Mental Health Professional will review the form. Based on your answers, they will approve your request and sign a recommendation letter for you.
Step – 3 Get Approved, and Obtain Your ESA Letter Instantly via Email.
Once your emotional support animal letter is ready, you will get your certification online almost instantly in your email inbox! You can download or print your ESA letter and present it to the landowner.
It is that simple. Really. As long as you can follow simple, easy-to-understand directions, your ESA letter is only 24 hours away!
Go ahead. Try it now. You’ll be startled at how easy it really is. So get your ESA letter today and then live with your ESA pet – in comfort and stress-free
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Emotional Support Dog?
What does an emotional support dog do?
What is the best dog breed for emotional support?
You can choose almost any breed as an emotional support dog breed as your ESA. There is a wide range of breeds to choose from like;
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Corgi and many more.
All these breeds have different traits. Click here to check different emotional dog breeds to compare and choose the one that fits best for you.
What airlines allow emotional support animals 2022?
- Volaris Airlines
- Latam Airlines
- Westjet Airlines
It would be best to confirm it before booking a flight by contacting the airlines and asking if they allow ESA travel or not.
Do airlines have to allow emotional support animals?
No, most of them do not allow emotional support animals on their flights. After the withdrawal of protections by ACAA for Emotional Support Animals, the Department of Transportation no longer obligates airlines to allow ESA travel. Therefore, most airlines consider ESA as ordinary pets. However, the same is not in the case of PSD and service animals, as they are still allowed to fly without paying any extra charges.
For more information, Regarding PSD travel, Click here.
How many emotional support animals can you have in an apartment?
As such, there is no rule regarding the number of emotional support animal allowed in apartments. You can have as many ESAs (emotional support animals) as you want, as long as;
- You have an ESA letter for your ESAs
- You have enough space and finances to pet your desired number of emotional support animals.
- Your request for reasonable accommodation is reasonable.
Therefore, the landlord cannot deny you to have more than one emotional support animal. However, as mentioned earlier, your request should be reasonable. For example, Keeping seven dogs in a one-room rental apartment would be totally impractical, and for sure, the landlord will have to deny your request in that case.
Can a puppy be an emotional support animal?
How do you train an emotional support dog?
Still, you can teach your Dog some simple tricks like; sitting, standing, catching a ball, and basic ethics like behaving around people, bathroom manners, etc.
Are cats allowed to be emotional support animals?
Can I have 2 emotional support cats?
What cat is best for emotional support?
- Persian cat
- Maine coon
- Persian, etc.
You can compare the traits of these cats and pick a cat to make your emotional support animal.
How can I get my cat to be an emotional support animal?
Apply on Fast ESA letter to get the ESA letter signed by your state’s licensed health professionals.
How to register a dog as an emotional support animal for free?
In order to savor benefits under ESA laws, you need to get an ESA letter signed by your state-licensed mental health professional. Fast ESA Letter can help you with this. Our process to get an ESA letter goes as follows;
- Apply on our site by filling up an evaluation by mentioning your pet and medical health details.
- Based on the details of your evaluation form, get evaluated by our licensed health professional.
- If approved, we will send your ESA recommendation letter by email.
You can download this ESA letter and show it to your landlord to stay with your ESA without paying extra charges.
What small animals are good for anxiety?
What animal is best for anxiety and depression?
The cat acquires the top spot for treating anxiety and depressive disorders because they don’t require much attention and offer extreme love and compassion.
What type of animal is best for emotional support?
What is the best Dog for a child with anxiety?
What is the most common emotional support animal?
How do emotional support animals help with PTSD?
FAST & SECURE ONLINE ESA EVALUATION
Designed to simplify the process to get a Bona fide ESA Recommendation Letter from Licensed Mental Health Professionals.
Our Simple 3 Step Process For Your ESA Evaluation
1. Fill-up and Submit ESA Evaluation Form Online.
2. Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.
3. Get Approved, and Receive Your ESA Letter Instantly via E-mail.
Get An Emotional Support Animal Letter to Certify Your Pet Today
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