People suffering from emotional or mental disabilities are legally allowed to keep emotional support animals ESA to help alleviate their symptoms.
An emotional support animal is a companion that has therapeutic benefits for people suffering from psychiatric or emotional issues. They provide a sense of love, comfort, and support to their owner and helps mitigate their symptoms.
The primary condition to qualify for an ESA is that the person must be certified as mentally disabled by a licensed mental health professional.
If you think that you can benefit from an ESA, then here is everything on how to get an emotional support animal.
How to get an emotional support animal letter from your doctor?
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Prescription
If you suffer from an emotional disability and you think that having a pet by your side will help your mental state then you can qualify for an emotional support animal.
“How do you qualify for an emotional support animal?”
Provided that a licensed mental health professional diagnoses you with a mental disorder, some of which are:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Anxiety, depression
- Panic Attacks
- Stress disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Fear and Phobias
- Postpartum Depression
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Any other Psychiatric condition
If an individual suffers from the above-mentioned disabilities, then they can qualify for an emotional support letter.
An emotional support animal is different from a typical pet as they have a purpose to fulfill. Although they aren’t specially trained to perform specific tasks like a psychiatric service dog, they still help with their owner’s symptoms. Which is why there is a need for proper documentation (ESA Letter) to keep an ESA.
If you already have a pet, you can have it certified as an ESA with the help of an ESA letter. However, if you want a new ESA you can adopt one from your local pet shelter after getting your ESA letter.
The types of animals allowed as ESA's are:
- Miniature horses
All domestic animals that don't pose a threat to others and yourself can qualify as an ESA. Although it is better to confirm whether your pet is an exotic animal or not.
How to get an Emotional Support Dog?
The process of getting an emotional support dog is the same as getting any other animal. The main prerequisites of becoming an emotional support dog owner are the same as for any other animal. Many people think that getting an emotional support dog is different than getting an emotional support cat, which is wrong.
How to Get Your Dog as an Emotional Support Animal?
If you want to get your dog as an ESA, get a valid emotional support animal letter on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional. Don’t worry about how to get a dog registered as an emotional support animal. The only document you need is an ESA letter.
The next question that people usually ask when getting an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional is where to find an emotional support dog or animal from? There are a number of places, like pet shelters and breeders, where you could find an animal to be your ESA.
How to Get an Emotional Support Cat?
Other than dogs, cats also make great emotional support animals. They make great pets and ESAs for people who are looking for a little independent animal. However, to get the ESA certification for your cat, you will have to go through the same process.
- Ask the therapist to check your symptoms
- Talk about your condition and how the cat will be useful for you
- Take any tests, online or in-person
- Get the letter, if cleared
The process to get an emotional support cat is simple and you will not have to go through a lengthy process for it.
What is an ESA Letter?
An emotional support animal letter is a prescription written on a mental health professional’s letterhead. It states that the patient needs an ESA for their well-being. Remember that only a licensed mental health professional can prescribe an ESA letter, which includes:
- Psychiatric nurses
- Licensed therapists
- Clinical social workers
- Professional counselors
You can’t ask your family doctor or any other kind of medical doctor to write a valid ESA letter for you. This letter is prescribed after assessing an individual’s symptoms and whether or not having an ESA will benefit them.
Having an ESA letter gives an ESA owner certain rights under state and federal laws. This enables them to accompany their pets everywhere.
Components of an ESA Letter
ESA owners need to show their ESA letters to several authorities and people in order to accompany their four-legged friends everywhere. This letter helps show that the individual has been prescribed an ESA due to their mental condition.
When you ask your therapist for an ESA letter make sure that it has the following components:
- Your name and details of your animal (breed, type, etc.)
- A confirmation that you are suffering from an emotional disability and that an ESA will help your condition.
- A brief description of how having an ESA will benefit you.
- It must be printed on a mental health professional's letterhead with their signature and the date of issuance.
- It should also include the mental health professional's details. Their name, license type, license number, date of license, state.
- A recommendation for an emotional support animal.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter Online?
People with mental disorders don’t feel comfortable leaving the comfort of their home, some don’t prefer interacting with others. Unfortunately, these people do not know how to get an emotional support animal and the ESA letter.
To help such people there is an option of getting their ESA letter online. You can find several websites providing ESA letters online, however, it is your responsibility to look for the one offering a legitimate letter, such as RealESALetter.com.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter for Anxiety
The process of getting an emotional support animal letter for anxiety is the same as getting for any other mental illness
To order from RealESALetter.com, all you need to do is fill out a questionnaire regarding your personal information, and. Once that is done, a licensed mental health professional assesses your symptoms.
After they review your application, if you qualify for an emotional support animal, your letter will be delivered to your mail inbox.
Are All ESA Letter Providers Real and Legal?
Unfortunately no, there are a number of online services that claim to be genuine ESA letter providers.
Here’s how you can look out for illegitimate websites, offering fake ESA letters:
- They offer to register your pet (There is no such thing as ESA registration.)
- Offer delivery within one-two hours
- Don't require assessment from mental health professional
- They offer ESA letters to everyone
- No follow-ups policy
How Does an ESA Letter Benefit You?
Americans with disabilities act (ADA) enables the ESA owners with legal protections. ESA owners can keep their emotional support animals in apartments, offices, and even while traveling.
Following are a few privileges provided by an ESA letter.
A “no pet” policy does not apply to emotional support animals. If the landlord has a policy of “no pets,” even then the ESA owner can keep his pet in his apartment. Even if there is no such policy, the landlord has to make special arrangements for the ESA owner to accommodate the emotional support dog/animal.
Your building owner can also not ask for any pet fee or surplus charges from the ESA owner. Emotional support animals are not considered pets according to the law. Any law or policy for the pets is not applicable to the emotional support animals..
The landlord can also not discriminate against a person with an emotional support animal. The Fair Housing Act does not allow any sort of discrimination against a mentally disabled person. The violation of any law will be considered a federal offense.
In the same way, federal laws also enable the ESA owners to keep their emotional support animals in the office or their place of employment. The Disabilities act prohibits any sort of discrimination against a person with an emotional support animal.
The employer cannot discriminate against a person with a mental disability if he is eligible for the job. This rule also applies when it comes to education.
If a student has a mental disability, the educational institute cannot restrict him from bringing along his support animal. The support animal should be allowed in the school or any other place that is accessible to the general public.
Emotional support animals should also be allowed in public places even if they have a no pet policy.
Air Carrier Access Act
According to ACAA, emotional support owners can make a request to the airline to allow them to carry their ESA as cargo or in a carry-on. If the airline allows, the owner will have to pay a certain amount of money.
If it is a service animal, then according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the owner has to submit a form and can fly with their service animal. The reason behind this is that service animals help their owners with specific disorders, unlike ESA only provides emotional support.
Do not Fake an ESA Letter
An ESA letter is a legitimate document for the ESA owners. It provides the ESA owner with legal protections according to the laws of the United States.
An ESA letter can help emotional support owners with almost everything. They can keep their emotional support animal along with themselves in their apartment. Also, while traveling, in the office, and even in their school or college.
One should never commit the crime of faking a federal document of such a degree. Just like the violation of ESA laws can put anyone in danger, faking an ESA letter is also considered a violation of the law and is a punishable offense.
If a person is caught faking an ESA letter, he can be charged with a fine of almost $100,000 or even more in some states of the United States. Or imprisonment of a few months or community service depending upon the laws of the state.
Responsibilities of an ESA Owner
An ESA letter allows the ESA owners to take along their partner to almost every place. However, the emotional support animal owner is completely responsible for his support animal.
An ESA owner is supposed to properly groom his support animal along with taking special care of his hygiene. It is also required by law that the emotional support animals should be properly vaccinated.
If your employer or your educational institute feels that your emotional support animal can be a threat to anyone, they reserve the right not to allow the support animal onto their premises.
The emotional support animal should also be properly trained. Any aggressive behavior, unnecessary barking towards others will be considered a threat. Make sure that you train your emotional support dog, to have them easily accompany you everywhere.
Getting an emotional support animal is the first step towards a healthier mental and physical life. Your ESA will provide you with unconditional love and support, making your life normal again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does insurance cover emotional support animals?
Yes, insurance covers emotional support animals just like normal pets. If your ESA harms the property or bites a person, insurance will cover it.
How long does it take to get an emotional support animal?
It takes almost a week to get an emotional support animal, and 1 to 5 business days to get an emotional support animal letter if you qualify for it.