Emotional support animal is a support or an assistance animal assigned to individuals experiencing mental or emotional issues.
These animals provide their owners with love, comfort and stability. They also help calm down individuals suffering from emotional disorders and alleviate their symptoms.
The most commonly seen emotional support animals are dogs or cats; however, emotional support animals aren’t just limited to these two types of animals.
You can have the following animals as your emotional support animal:
Basically, whatever brings you joy and makes your day better can act as your emotional support animal. However, bear in mind that an ESA cannot be a wild or an exotic animal who puts your life and that of others in danger.
Emotional support animals and service animals: are they the same?
No, the two don’t belong to the same category and different laws apply on them. You can’t travel with your service dog on an ESA letter.
Emotional support dogs, unlike service dogs, are not individually trained to perform specific tasks or assist their owner’s in physically performing specific tasks.
Service animals are there to assist people suffering from physical limitations and issues. Service animals are divided into the following categories:
You can fly with your Emotional Support Animal.
Imagine this: you’ve been vacationing and you came across the perfect puppy of the exact breed you’ve been looking for. Now you just have to find out what the rules and regulations are to fly home with your precious cargo — but not as cargo, as your companion.
Why you need an ESA Letter to fly with your pet
The Air Carrier Access Act was voted into law to further protect people with physical, mental, psychological, or emotional disabilities from discrimination while traveling.
That means that if an ESA owner possesses a legitimate, valid Emotional Support Letter, they have the right to fly aboard in commercial airlines having their ESA dog or another companion animal in the cabin of the airplane.
That’s right. Your emotional support dog—or any other emotional support animal (ESA) in your company—doesn’t have to fly in the freezing cargo hold and you are not required to pay any additional fees for the privilege.
Fake ESA Letter warning flags
Never buy an ESA Letter from any online site offering “Pet registration/ESA registration” or letters that are not personally signed by bona fide licensed mental health professionals or a licensed therapist. There are several signs that you’re dealing with scammers delivering bogus “ESA letters”:
The airlines have specific requirements for ESA pets and their owners. You have the legal right to fly aboard on commercial flights with your Emotional Support Animal, but there are a few things you need to do before you show up at the airport gate:
In that regard, refrain from feeding or providing excessive drinking water a full hour before departure.
You have the right to fly with your ESA pet
The Air Carrier Access Act and the American Disabilities Act (ADA) were passed by Congress with the explicit intent to make it possible for you to fly anywhere within the U.S. in the company of your ESA pet.
That means that any airline denying you passage on their aircraft because you have your Emotional Support Animal with you when you’re in possession of a legitimate ESA Letter is violating the statute.
What to do if an airline disputes your ESA Letter
Sometimes airline counter personnel don’t understand their obligations under the ACAA and the ADA, and they may deny your request for reasonable accommodation for you and your well-behaved emotional support animal. (This is why it’s important to contact the airline in advance of your flight.)
Should that happen to you, it’s a simple matter to formally request a meeting or conversation with the airline’s Customer Resolution Officer. These folks are very well versed and trained in matters regarding disability-related issues and disputes over the legal enforceability of your ESA Letter.
You have rights. When you have a legitimate ESA Letter, you need to speak up for yourself and assert those rights.
Speaking about rights, it is important for you to be well aware of another law enforced to protect the rights of ESA owners.
You have the right to live with your ESA pet
The Fair Housing Act 1988, also known as “FHA,” was introduced to protect the rights of people suffering from emotional disabilities, to name a few: depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic attacks, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), stress, anxiety, phobias.
Under the Federal Housing Act, landlords cannot deny accommodation to tenants with an emotional support animal. It’s difficult to find a pet housing facility, but the fair housing act protects the ESA owner from any sort of discrimination.
Furthermore, landlords are required to make reasonable arrangements to accommodate these emotional support animals.
Landlords with a “no pet policy” can by no means refuse accommodation to an emotional support animal owner. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made sure that the “no pet policy” does not apply on emotional support animals.
However, the landlord must ask for an authentic ESA Letter prior to lending the apartment, but they are not legally allowed to ask for an individual’s medical records.
In addition to that, landlords can’t legally ask tenants for an advance payment or pay extra charges as pet fee. And they can’t put restrictions on the type of animal, its size or breed and can’t ask for the ESA to go through specific training.
If you need a valid ESA Letter, be sure you’re dealing with professional medical and mental health care professionals who are licensed to provide you with the proper documentation.
If you’re in doubt as to the ethics or any of the offerings of online companies holding themselves out as legitimate, be sure to check with the professionals at RealESAletters.com, and they’ll be happy to help you sort things out and write an ESA letter to get you and your pet on board and in the air!
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