Can I Have 2 Emotional Support Animals?
According to Service Dog Certifications, you can have 2 or more emotional support animals.
The presence of a furry or a scaly or a feathery companion can provide a form of unconditional love, acceptance, and support. This is why many mental health professionals are now prescribing an Emotional Support Animal to those patients that would benefit the most.
In this post, we will discuss the number of emotional support animals allowed, the laws governing ESAs, and how a person can get a legitimate Emotional Support Animal letter.
How Many Emotional Support Animals Can I Have?
You can have more than one ESA. There are no specific rules stating the maximum number of ESAs you may have. As long as the animal(s) does not violate any state or local laws and your therapist agrees your ESAs are there for your well-being, you can have more than one emotional support animal. The number of emotional support animals you have must also make sense. For example, having one or more horses in an apartment may not be feasible.
The Fair Housing Act states that a landlord, building manager, or owner of any rental unit must make reasonable accommodations for a person with an emotional support animal. As long as this reasonable accommodation clause does not cause any undue burden to the rental unit’s landlord, manager or owner.
The health and wellbeing of the ESA must also be addressed. All animals will need to be fed, groomed and given veterinarian care. Does your budget allow for these financial extras?
Can my landlord deny reasonable accommodations if I have multiple ESAs?
There are only a couple of circumstances that may allow your landlord to reject your emotional support animals.
When it comes to multiple ESAs, it would depend on the species and number of animals that are being housed. For example; 6 large dogs that bark in a small apartment or 2 goats in a condo can be considered an undue financial burden to the property owner. Thus, challenging the reasonable accommodation clause.
How Do I Get an Official ESA Letter?
There is a simple process that needs to be followed to either make an existing pet an Emotional Support Animal or if you are going to adopt a new animal.
Step # 1 – Work with a Mental Health Professional
The law states that you must be working with a mental health professional such as a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. This mental health professional must then write you a prescription for the ESA in the form of an ESA letter.
Step # 2 – Get a legitimate ESA Letter from a Therapist
The letter is more than a few words scribbled onto your doctor’s prescription pad. The document must include or state –
- – Your therapist believes that an Emotional Support Animal would be beneficial in your treatment plan
- – The laws that protect you as an Emotional Support Animal handler
- – Your therapist’s direct contact information and licensing information
- – Written on your therapist’s official letterhead
The letter is typically only valid for one year.
Step # 3 – What if you do not have access to a therapist?
You may choose to work with a legitimate online ESA letter referral company. Not all online referral companies are the same. A few things to look out for –
- Referral services that provide “instant approval” or are priced too low (under $100) – a real licensed therapist’s time is more valuable
- Referral services that pair you with an out of state therapist
- Make sure that your therapist’s licensing information is listed on the ESA letter
Step # 4 – Register your Animal(s) and order your ESA License and Certificate
You are not legally required to have your ESAs registered, but some people chose to do so for the benefits. Certifying your emotional support animals will put you into a database, as well as provide you with custom identification cards, vest, and certificate.
Having this extra validation will help when you are applying for housing or booking a flight with your emotional support animal.
One, Two or More ESA’s Work!
When deciding how many emotional support animals are necessary, consider the space and time you have along with your finances. Once you have your ESA(s) and the letter you need from your mental health professional to make it legitimate you are well on your way to living a happier and healthier life.