Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Dogs Vets
How To Get a Legitimate Emotional Support Animal
A psychiatric service dog is often used to treat serious mental illnesses. However, if a human feels lonely and needs a companion and friend, an emotional support animal comes to the rescue.
For the convenience of ESA owners, we recommend that you have an official confirmation of your pet’s status.
What is the essence of emotional support animals?
The use of animals in therapeutics and helping people with disabilities is now quite a familiar situation.
Service animals, such as guide dogs, have long established themselves as reliable helpers for people with certain physical impairments.
However, a service dog can also be used in the treatment of different mental health issues.
For instance, psychiatric service dogs are often assigned to people who suffer from severe forms of depression or anxiety disorder.
There is one more type of animal helpers that is called an emotional support animal. ESA is more than just a pet. It is a companion and partner that encourage its owner in difficult situations in his or her life.
For humans, emotional support animals are a reliable psychological reliance that aids to relieve many symptoms of mental maladies, gives self-confidence, and improves the general well-being of a handler.
The indications for getting an ESA
Most often, mental health professionals recommend getting emotional support animals for people who constantly feel lonely.
Pets allow you to get rid of feelings of loneliness and obsessive thoughts, including suicidal ones, that may be related to this.
Practice shows that the owners of emotional support animals become more open and sociable. Often, handlers talk to their pets and can tell them much more than even to psychologists.
It helps to get rid of constraints and complexes that may occur because of a person’s mental health condition.
In addition, in conjunction with regular consultations with a therapist and taking medications, ESAs help to escape from many psychical maladies that worsen human living conditions.
The legal status of ESAs
The main law governing the rights of individuals with inabilities and their pets is the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is the law that defines the basic rights and freedoms that service dogs can enjoy.
Yet, ADA does not think ESA and service animals are equal, so this law does not apply to ESAs and their owners.
In fact, the only paper that states ESA’s freedoms is an ESA letter written by a therapist with expertise in emotional support animals.
What is an ESA letter?
An ESA letter is a specific document written by a licensed mental health professional, therapist, or social worker. This paper confirms the presence of a mental disorder and gives humans the right to have an emotional support animal.
A legitimate ESA letter contains all the necessary information about the specialist who has written the document.
If a person has an ESA letter that meets all the requirements, the document gives the ESA and its owner the ability to enjoy some benefits that regular pets cannot do.
If you have all the necessary documents, it is advisable to order the Emotional Support Animal ID card, which will allow you to avoid unclear situations in the future.
How to get an ESA letter?
There are two legal ways to qualify for an ESA. The first option is to visit a licensed medical professional. A specialist will estimate the psychological health state of the person and prescribe the required therapy.
It is important to keep in mind that the use of an emotional support animal is most often the auxiliary tool and only works in the case of taking medications and regular visits to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you don’t want to visit a specialist or talk about your mental inorder in person, you may use online services. They also may provide an individual with a legitimate emotional support animal letter. However, it is substantial to choose reliable websites for such purposes.
You can also qualify for an ESA online. To get an ESA letter online you have to fill out a special questionnaire about the state of your mental health.
These questionnaires are handed over to specialists who determine the severity of your mental illness and determine whether the use of ESA will be useful in this case.
After a while, ESA letters will be sent to your email. To use the ESA letter to resolve controversial animals that pet owners may have with others, you can use an electronic version of the document.
An emotional support animal registration doesn’t take much time. There are no specific criteria for selecting pets for registration as an ESA.
In fact, you can register as an ESA any animal that procures you with moral endorsement and improves your psychological and spiritual life.
Federal and state law clearly distinguishes between ESA and assistance animals, therefore, ESA’s rights and freedoms aren’t as wide as the rights of assistance animals. Yet, an emotional support animal still has some privileges.
One of the most important prerogatives of ESA owners is the right to demand reasonable accommodations for themselves and their pets.
In accordance with the Fair Housing Act, a landlord cannot refuse to give somebody accommodation because of the animal.
In addition, he or she has no right to groundlessly evict his or her tenants or take additional fees for the animal living.
Nevertheless, do not forget that quite recently amendments were made to the Air Carrier Access Act, according to which some ESAs cannot fly in the cabin with their handlers. Therefore, for air travel with your pet, it is better to choose a pet-friendly airline.
5 important questions and their answers related to getting a legitimate Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
1. What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
Answer: An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides comfort and companionship to individuals suffering from emotional or mental conditions.
Unlike service animals, ESAs are not trained to perform specific tasks. Instead, their primary role is to offer emotional support and improve their owner’s mental health.
2. How can I get a legitimate Emotional Support Animal?
Answer: To get a legitimate ESA, you must be diagnosed with a qualifying mental health condition by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker.
Once diagnosed, your healthcare provider will need to write you an ESA letter, stating that you have a mental or emotional disability and that the ESA provides you necessary support.
3. What kinds of animals can be Emotional Support Animals?
Answer: The most common type of ESA is a dog, but many other types of animals can also be ESAs. This includes cats, rabbits, birds, and more.
The main requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not pose a threat to others. The choice of animal typically depends on what is most comforting to the individual with the mental or emotional disability.
4. Can a landlord deny housing if I have an Emotional Support Animal?
Answer: No, under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in the United States, landlords are required to provide reasonable accommodations for tenants who have ESAs.
This means they cannot deny you housing simply because you have an ESA, even if they have a no pets policy. They may request to see your ESA letter as proof of your need for the animal.
However, there are some exceptions, such as buildings with four or fewer units where the landlord lives in one of the units.
5. Does an Emotional Support Animal require any special training?
Answer: No, Emotional Support Animals do not require special training like service animals do. The primary role of an ESA is to provide emotional comfort and companionship, so any animal capable of providing this can be an ESA.
However, it’s important that ESAs are well-behaved, especially in public places, to not create difficulties for others.
Please remember that while the above applies to the United States, the rules regarding Emotional Support Animals can differ in other countries. Always check the specific regulations in your location.
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