Studies have shown that keeping pets help you in relieving stress. However, there are certain restrictions for a pet owner.
Some landlords do not allow keeping a pet in their building. Sometimes pets are also not allowed in public places. Emotional support animals are not like pets. An emotional support dog or any other animal will be a service animal and not a pet.
An emotional support animal is only prescribed for those patients who suffer from some sort of mental disability.
In our daily routine, while it is easy for some to cope with the stress, some people cannot deal with anxiety and depression. Emotional support animals are prescribed for those patients who suffer from some mental disability.
Emotional support animal, therapy dog or any other service animal is not considered to be a pet.
A service dog is not like an ESA dog. It might seem like that they perform the same functions since they are used for the comfort of their owners. But it is an entirely different scenario. The service animal is individually trained according to the needs of its owner.
An emotional support animal (ESA) is restricted to the mental comfort of the owner. Since that is the main reason why we have emotional support animals. An ESA provides mental comfort to the ESA owner by helping him relieve stress.
When we talk about service animals, they are trained for the physical needs of their owners. A person with a physical disability can also qualify for a service animal. A person who is visually impaired or blind can qualify for a guide dog or a person with hearing loss or disability can qualify for a signal dog.
Other tasks can include pulling a wheelchair or reminding the owner to take his medicines. Emotional support animals are for the people who suffer from some mental illness. The training they need is to behave well and respond to their owners’ commands.
How do you qualify for an ESA letter?
An emotional support animal letter is prescribed by a licensed mental health professional only to the people who qualify as mentally disabled. But your family doctor or any other doctor like a cardiologist cannot recommend you for the emotional support animal.
There are thousands of mental health professionals in the United States. If you need a companion animal for yourself, all you have to do is contact one of these therapists. They can write an ESA letter for you.
Any of the licensed therapists can provide a legitimate ESA letter. To get an ESA letter, the person has to take an appointment with a licensed therapist. He will then assess if the person suffers from any sort of mental illness.
If a person suffers from any of the following mental illness or any emotional disability, then he can qualify for an emotional support animal:
Legal Rights for the ESA Owner
The ESA letter enables the owner with certain legal protections regarding his emotional support animal. If the landlord has a policy of no pets, even then the owner of emotional support animal can keep his support animal in the building.
If the building is not a pet housing facility, it does not matter. Since an ESA or service animals are not considered as pets. The Fair Housing Act protects the emotional support animal owners from any sort of discrimination in getting an apartment.
The owner of the building or the landlord can also not ask for the pet fee of the support animal since the emotional support animals are not considered as pets.
According to the Fair Housing Act, the owner of the building also cannot discriminate against the person with a disability in obtaining a house. If he does so, it will be considered as a violation of federal law which is a punishable offence.
Americans with Disabilities act also allows the ESA owner to keep their support animals with them in public places even if there is a “no pet” policy.
Emotional Support animals are not considered as pets so even if the policy of no pets is legal, the disabilities act (ADA) allows the emotional support animals to accompany their owner in public places.
They can also not ask the handler to pay any charges for the support animal. But some public places might ask for the license of the proof that the emotional support animal is certified.
The law also protects the emotional support animal owner from any sort of discrimination in the office or his employment place. If needed, the employer also has to allow the support animal or the service animal in the office for the owner’s support.
In case, the disability of the handler is not very obvious to the employer then he might ask for the documentation and the license of emotional support animal or service animal. But if the support animal is not properly trained or can be a threat to any other person in the office then the employer has a right to not allow the support animal in his premises.
Americans with Disabilities act also allows the students who need an emotional support animal or service animal in the educational institutes if needed.
The colleges and educational institutes are bound by law to allow the support animal to accompany the ESA owner in college or school and in places allowed to the public.
While travelling, the ESA owner can keep his support animal with himself. According to the law, you cannot deny a person with a support animal for travelling. It is also forbidden if you make the owner of the support animal sit in a specific spot.
In addition to that, you also cannot ask for any sort of pet fee for the support animal. The “no pet” policy also allows the support animal to accompany the owner while travelling.
The airlines also have to allow the support animal owners to keep their support animals in the cabin. According to the Air Carrier Access Act, any airline cannot deny the ESA owner access to transportation.
ESA Owner Responsibilities
The laws allow the support animal owners with certain privileges, but the owner of the support animal is completely responsible for the support animal.
Just like the pet care, ESA owner has to regularly take his support animal to the veterinary clinics for their proper grooming and hygiene. It is required by law that the support animal should be properly vaccinated.
The owner should be aware of veterinary clinics by looking up for vets near me so that he can take good care of his support animal. The owner is also responsible for the behavior of his support animal.
If the service dog or support animal unnecessarily barks at people or can be a possible threat to others, then the owner might not be allowed the company of his support animal.
If the behavior of support animal is not controlled then the employer or educational institutes can the deny the access of support animal onto their premises.
The owner should also have proper documentation and a legitimate ESA letter so that he can provide the documents if needed. You don’t need an ESA registration. All you need is a valid and legitimate ESA letter.
Do not fake an ESA letter
Since an ESA letter makes almost easy for the owners by providing access to public places, helping in accommodation and travelling, educational institutes and offices, it is a punishable offence if you fake an ESA letter.
If a person is caught with a fake ESA letter, the penalty can cost more than a fine of $100,000 and specific time imprisonment or community service according to the state.
ESA can play an important role in the life of a disabled person. It is important to know the benefits of support animals in accordance with the laws. If you want to keep a support animal, it’s all you want to know about them.
Benefits of keeping an emotional support animal
When you adopt an animal for yourself, you are saving it as well.
What do these selfless creatures want from us? Just a lot of love and affection.
They help you deal with your mental problems. In return, you are helping them by taking proper care of them and giving them your time and love. That is all they ever want.
Adopting an animal is a win - win situation. You find someone in your life that motivates you to get out of bed every morning and take care of them, no matter how lazy you are feeling. They get a partner for themselves who loves them and takes care of them.
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