It’s essential that you register an emotional support animal right away because waiting to do so can cost you when it’s time to move!
When you register your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA), you gain certain rights that would otherwise not apply to you (contact a lawyer for details on these rights).
You may fear getting a pet because most landlords and property managers don’t allow tenants to have pets – but what if you knew how to register your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA)?
Many people who suffer from mild-to-severe anxiety or loneliness find emotional support animals (dogs usually) quite soothing and helpful.
The presence of these caring, devoted animals helps their owners navigate through the struggles of their troublesome feelings and/or emotions.
Here’s the ultimate guide in all things related to ESAs: from what they are and who can qualify for them, to how to certify and how to register an ESA!
Who qualifies for an ESA?
People who suffer from various illnesses such as PTSD, panic attacks, depression, phobias, etc., – illnesses that substantially affect and have an impact on a person’s major life activities (like sleep, work, etc.), can talk to a licensed healthcare professional or therapist who will then determine if an ESA can help with their condition and alleviate the symptoms they are experiencing.
If the health care provider (licensed) determines that ESA will help with their issue, then that person classifies for ESA!
ADA does not apply to emotional support animals
Keep in mind that ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act does not recognize emotional support animals in the same way they do service dogs and therefore they do not have the same rights and privileges.
In some situations, places where service dogs may be allowed, emotional support animals may not.
For example, in restaurants.
ESAs however, are allowed to accompany their owners in their homes without having to pay any fees or deposits, even if the building has a no-pet policy.
This is covered under the Fair Housing Act.
Additionally, emotional support animal rights apply in the travel area too.
Meaning, ESAs are allowed to travel without the use of a carrier or added fees on planes.
True, this has been quite a burning, controversial subject, but for now, ESAs are allowed on planes.
Where can you get one?
Unlike service dogs that are required to specially be trained to perform tasks for their owners, emotional support animals do not need to be specially trained as they provide comfort and support through companionship.
As result, almost any animal can be registered as an emotional support animal.
That said, bear in mind that the animal you choose for your ESA, should be manageable by you.
This means you can easily take care of them, without causing additional stress for you.
Consider your living situation, environment, and condition before choosing your ESA.
For example, a big, hyperactive dog may not be the best fit for someone with excessive anxiety who lives in a small apartment!
Make sure that you and your potential ESA are a good fit for each other.
How to register an emotional support animal
Currently, there is no official registration database for ESAs.
However, you can obtain a registration letter for your ESA from a certified mental health professional such as a therapist.
This letter should be legitimate – meaning written by a qualified physician or mental health provider, have their license number, signature, and date of the letter signed on it, as well as provide a clear explanation as to why you require an ESA.
Once you get your ESA registration letter, make sure you bring it with you and keep it readily available as you will be asked to show it when boarding planes or for housing.
Additionally, you can get a little ESA vest for your animal to help others know your pets registered!