For someone struggling with mental health issues, having an emotional support animal can save their lives. Emotional support animals provide essential assistance in addition to the non-judgmental, unconditional love that animals already freely give, from companionship and regular stability to acting as a trusted guide through anxiety-inducing social situations.
According to the specific language we say, emotional support animals—are often abbreviated as “ESA.
In this article, we will dive into what it means to have an emotional support animal, how to become eligible for one, how to register an ESA, and many more.
How to Register for an ESA?
There is no such ESA registry or governing body to get your ESA letter. Instead, a letter from your doctor or a mental health professional, such as a therapist, can attest that you require an emotional support animal to lessen disability-related impairment. Your specific impairment must be included in the letter, along with how the pet supports you. The letter should:
- Be authentic, i.e., written by a licensed doctor or mental health professional on business letterhead.
- Include the signature, date, and the license number for the provider.
- Justify your need for an emotional support animal in detail.
Please keep your letter handy once you have certified your ESA because it can be needed when you live with your pet in a rented apartment.
What is The Main Difference Between the ESA Letter and the ESA Registration?
There’s no such ESA registry for your emotional support animal. A website that offers to “register” your pet in a registry or database is known as an ESA registry is (usually for a fee). This is not necessary and is not required by law. An emotional support animal cannot receive any legal advantages by being registered. You should not trust in those websites or company who says that the registration is important for your pet.
Only a legitimate ESA letter from a qualified mental health practitioner, such as a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist, licensed counselor or mental health nurse, qualifies a pet as an official ESA.
How Much Does it Cost to Register an Emotional Support Animal?
Your dog must have a letter from a qualified medical professional to be certified as ESA. The organization, however, decides how much it will cost to register your dog as an ESA. Some websites and companies charge between $100 and $150 to do the examination. A scam therapist who has the credentials to write an ESA letter should be avoided.
Difference between ESA/ Service/ Therapy Animal
Many people get confused between emotional support animals, service animals, and therapy animals. But the significant difference between all these animals is:
Emotional support animals are animals that provide assistance to their owners by being a source of their happiness, pleasure, and comfort. These animals are not trained specifically to perform tasks or duties for their owners. Emotional support animals can be any animal, as the main purpose of an ESA is to provide companionship to their owners. Emotional support animals are not allowed to enter public places, but as the ESA are protected by the Fair Housing Act, they have equal rights to live on any property of their choice.
Whereas a service animal is a trained animal that performs different tasks or duties for its owners. Only dogs can qualify to become service animals. But it’s important to choose the right type of breed for your mental health condition because not every dog is suitable for performing daily duties. Also, service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners in public locations like restaurants, theatre, grocery stores or malls etc, because they are given protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Therapy animals are also called ‘comfort dogs,’ as the main focus of these dogs is to provide unconditional love to people living in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, retirement homes, and more. Like service dogs, therapy dogs are also trained to perform different tasks for their owners. Therapy dogs are not provided legal protection under the ADA, which does not allow them to visit public places with their owners.
Emotional Support Animal Rights
Travel and lodging are the two main spheres of emotional support for animal rights. Emotional support animals may be used to get around rental properties’ no-pet rules because they are allowed to fly without a carrier or additional cost.
You may have noticed that there is some disagreement regarding the legitimacy of ESA as a result of these allowances, particularly when it comes to air travel. However, right now, emotional support animals and those who care for them have some legal protections beyond those afforded to regular pets and their owners. And these rights are priceless for those who depend on their ESA for financial help.
Emotional Support Animal Housing Policy
Your furry family members are allowed to live in buildings that forbid pets, and animals with their owners. Because you have an ESA, landlords cannot demand any fees or deposits from you. Building regulations that apply to typical pets are not relevant to ESA. This means, for instance, that landlords cannot place limitations on the breed or weight of ESA.
If you have submitted an ESA letter, your landlord is also not permitted to inquire about private information about your illness. When it comes to specifics about your diagnosis and medical background, you have a right to privacy and secrecy as an ESA owner.
Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against renters who utilize animals for help, including emotional support, under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). However, they may do so if you don’t have the letter. Although unnecessary, you might also get your animal a vest that identifies them as an ESA.
Looking To Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?
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.
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