Archive for the ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Category

Are you confused when it comes to emotional support dog requirements and about assistance animals in general?

There is a lot of information out there regarding this important subject, and some of it is misleading or just plain false. If you want to designate your dog as an emotional support dog (ESD) or an emotional support animal (ESA), it’s important to understand all of the requirements, rules, and regulations.

In this post, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about emotional support dogs/animals.

1. What is an Emotional Support Dog?

An Emotional Support Dog (ESD or ESA) is a pet or animal prescribed by a licensed therapist to provide a health benefit for those that suffer from an emotional or mental disability.

Emotional Support Dogs have rights that normal pets do not:

An ESA has access to almost all types of housing regardless of no-pet policies. ESAs are protected under the Fair Housing Act so that they can live with their owners. Under this law, an ESA owner cannot be charged an additional fee for having an animal in their home. 2. Can I qualify for an Emotional Support Dog? Emotional support animals help people with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more.

You may qualify for an emotional support dog if you have emotional or mental illnesses. If you suffer from one or more mental illnesses listed below, you may qualify for an emotional support dog.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Learning Disorders Autism General Anxiety Disorder Gender Identity Bipolar Cognitive disorders Depression Severe anxiety Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or any of the illnesses listed above, you may be interested in having an official Emotional Support Animal. If you do not have access to a therapist, the next step is to learn more about how to get an ESA Letter online.

3. Emotional Support Dog Training Requirements

An Emotional Support Dog does not require specialized training, unlike a Service Dog that does require extensive training. They must perform specific tasks to aid in their handler’s disability. Emotional Support Dog requirements are:

Your ESD must be well behaved and under your control at all times. Your ESD cannot threaten the health and safety of others.

Although not required by law, your emotional support dog should also be spayed or neutered as this eliminates mating-related aggressive behaviors and also has the added benefits of not having litters of puppies.

4. Emotional Support Dog Registration Requirements

The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require you to register your emotional support dog. People may prefer to register their dog since it helps with landlords or other members of the public you may encounter your ESA. In addition to registering your emotional support dog, you may also be interested in ordering a custom assistance animal handler identification card or certificate. Some building owners and employers train or require their employees to ask for this information even though you are not required to share it with them.

5. Where to get an Emotional Support Dog Certificate

An ESA letter is commonly referred to as an Emotional Support Dog Certificate. You must have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional recommending your need for an emotional support animal. An Emotional Support Animal Letter must include:

The ESA letter typically cannot be dated later than one-year of submission The ESA letter should be on your therapist’s official letterhead The ESA letter should include the therapist’s license number, date, and direct contact information

If you have a certificate without a legitimate ESA letter, landlords may not honor and respect your rights as an emotional support animal handler.

6. Emotional Support Dog Vest Options Emotional support animals can live in “no-pets” apartments and condos without being charged extra fees.

An emotional support dog does not need to wear a special vest. However, some handlers prefer to have one. The ESD vest is a great way to identify your canine as a “working” dog and will help eliminate the confusion and questions you may encounter from the public. This is not to be confused with a service dog vest. You may also choose to allow your Emotional Support Animal to work as a Therapy Dog to help others in stressful environments. A certified therapy dog is not the same as an emotional support animal and has different requirements.

7. Can my ESD go into restaurants or markets with me?

No, by law, your Emotional Support Dog will not be allowed into restaurants, markets, or any place where food is sold or served. Even if the employees want to allow access, they are legally required to turn you away due to health regulations. Only Service Dogs have public access rights to places such as restaurants and markets. Service dogs have specific rights and regulations; read more about Service Dog rules here.

8. Where can my Emotional Support Dog go?

Under Federal Law and emotional support dog requirements, you will be allowed to bring your ESD into “no pets” policy apartments/housing without being charged any additional fees.

9. Are there breed or weight restrictions for Emotional Support Dogs?

No, your emotional support dog can be of any size and breed. This rule even protects breeds that are commonly discriminated against, such as Pit Bulls or Dobermans. You may even have more than one emotional support animal if your therapist recommends it.

Emotional Support Dogs Work

Now that we’ve answered these common questions about emotional support dogs, you may be eligible for your own ESD. If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from an ESD, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your mental health professional to get the process started. If you do not have access to a therapist or may be intimidated by seeking support, read more about how to get an ESA letter online. Emotional Support Dogs work!

Can Cats be Emotional Support Animals? 

Cats make wonderful pets. But did you know they can also provide those with emotional challenges the added support they need to live a full life?

In this article, we will explore the following:

What is an emotional support cat? The ESA certification and registration process Types of animals that can be service animals and emotional support animals What an ESA letter is and why it’s necessary What the laws have to say about having more than one emotional support cat 1. Emotional Support Cat Provides Comfort

An emotional support animal can be of any species, including cats. An emotional support animal or ESA does not require any special training. An ESA is there to provide a person with an emotional or mental disability the support they need to live a normal or better life.

Cats can be beneficial as an emotional support animal as some breeds of felines are very human orientated. This means they love to spend time with their human companion. Some of these cat breeds include the Persian, the Ragdoll, the Abyssinian, the Burmese, the Maine Coon and the Exotic Shorthair. However, that doesn’t mean a mixed breed feline (Moggy) cannot be just as loyal and dedicated to their human.

2. Legitimate Emotional Support Cat Registration

Although it is not required by law to register your feline as an ESA, some people choose to do so for its many benefits. These include having access to custom ID cards, certificates and even vests to identify the cat as an ESA. If you already have an ESA letter for your Emotional Support Animal, you may register your cat here.

Can a Cat Be a Service Animal?

Unfortunately, no. The job of a service animal falls to canine species and miniature horses. These animals need to be specifically trained to do a task for a disabled individual. This can include picking up dropped items, opening doors or alerting the person to a drop in their blood sugar or of an oncoming seizure. Even though cats can be highly intelligent and trainable, the depth of training needed for a service animal is usually beyond the scope of the feline species. Most importantly, even if you trained your cat to perform services for you, they will not be protected under the ADA.

However, you still have rights under Federal Law with your emotional support cat. Landlords must reasonably accommodate your ESA, even if they have a “no pets” policy. The landlord cannot charge you extra for your ESA, but your cat must be well behaved and not pose a health or safety issue to other tenants. 

3. Emotional Support Cat Certification

All that is needed to make your cat a legitimate emotional support animal is a letter from a therapist or mental health professional. In order for an ESA letter to be accepted by “no pets” housing, the letter must be written and signed by a licensed healthcare professional. The ESA letter must also be written on the therapist’s own letterhead, with his/her license number and the place/date it was issued. In addition, the ESA letter must have been issued within one year of the time of submission.

If you do not have access to a therapist in your own area or they do not understand the benefits of animal therapy, you may seek support from a legitimate online resource. We have a helpful post on getting your ESA letter online here.

4. How Many Emotional Support Cats Can I Have?

Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) people with diagnosed mental or emotional disabilities are allowed to have an ESA. Landlords and/or building managers must make allowances for ESA’s in “no pets” policies buildings, but this could be nullified if there were too many animals (cats) to keep the residence safe for both tenants and animals. Since the FHA does not specify how many ESA a person can have, as long as the number is reasonable to your therapist, you can have more than one.

Cats can be wonderful emotional support animals. 5. Emotional Support Cats Can Work, Too

If you are suffering from an emotional or mental disability, then an emotional support cat may be “just what the doctor ordered.” Cats can make loving, dedicated and supportive ESA’s that can help you get on with the rest of your life. Check with your therapist or mental health professional to see if you qualify for an emotional support cat. You may also seek support from an ESA letter referral service. 

When seeking rented accommodation, it is not uncommon to find that landlords or housing providers have imposed a ‘no pets’ policy as part of their agreement. This is usually due to many factors such as noise, potential damage to their property, or simply due to insurance restrictions. While the majority of renters have to abide by this policy, there are some situations where individuals are allowed to keep animals in accommodation where a ‘no pet’ policy is imposed.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that disabled persons may live in accommodation with their service animals, even where pets are not usually allowed. This is because service animals are extremely well behaved due to their extensive training, and are not considered as pets. As emotional support animals are prescribed to individuals as a therapeutic treatment for their psychological disorders, some landlords will allow them to live with their owners despite a ‘no pet’ policy, but they are not always obliged to, and will not always allow this. So what can you do if your landlord does not accept your emotional support animal?

Emotional Support Animals Do Not Have the Same Rights as Service Animals

Animals have long been used to medically assist humans with various needs, such as a service dog to aid a blind or visually impaired person with navigation and protection, or an emotional support animal to provide affection and companionship as part of a treatment plan for anxiety issues. These animals both provide a similar service, but are not regarded equally in the eyes of the law.

Service animals are trained specifically to assist with an individual’s disability and are recognized by the ADA. Emotional support animals, however, are not ADA approved animals and therefore are not exempt from certain restrictions such as access to public places or private establishments in the same way that service animals are.

While applying to rent private accommodation with a ‘no pets’ policy can be a relatively straightforward process for owners of service animals due to the ADA, the same process can be a little more tricky for people with emotional support animals. Not to worry though! The Fair Housing Act protects owners of emotional support animals to live with their ESA in most housing situations.

Some landlords may be okay with Emotional Support Animals, and some might not

Because landlords are not obliged to accept emotional support animals when processing your application in the same way they have to with service dogs, you may have to accept that some accommodation may be off limits to you if you do not have documentation or an ESA letter from a licensed therapist.

Whether you already have an emotional support animal and are seeking new accommodation, or already live in accommodation with a ‘no pet’ policy and have been assigned an emotional support animal, you may face a few barriers regarding your application. Please continue reading to find out how to protect yourself from uninformed landlords. 

How Can I Get an ESA Letter Online?

What to do if my Landlord says “NO” to my Emotional Support Animal?

If you provide the correct documentation from a licensed therapist and your landlord is still insistent about not allowing your ESA, you have a few options.

You can contact the HUD and file a complaint You can contact a lawyer and have them write a strongly worded letter to your landlord You can contact an ESA advocate that will point you in the right direction All hope is not lost thanks to the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

When can apartments not allow my emotional support animal? There are certain circumstances where landlords are not obliged to accept Emotional Support Animals, such as:

Buildings that have four or fewer dwellings of which the landlord is the occupant of one Single family accommodation rented or sold without a real estate broker

Thankfully, an accommodation that does not fall under these categories are not imposed by such restrictions and must consider all service animal or emotional support animal applications.

While service animals are looked upon more favorably in these circumstances, the fact that emotional support animals are technically not pets goes a long way when a landlord processes your application.

Should your landlord decide not to accept your emotional support animal, and if your accommodation doesn’t come under one of the above categories, then you should provide them with a letter from a licenced mental health professional, which, under the Fair Housing Act, should be sufficient proof of your need for an emotional support animal for your application.

If for any reason you are unable to obtain a letter from a licensed mental health professional, there are many services available to provide sufficient proof after a successful assessment. One such service is ESA Doctors who can determine your eligibility for an emotional support animal.

Although applying for an apartment is usually a straightforward process for individuals with emotional support animals, without the need to jump through hoops to be allowed to live with their animal, sometimes the process can be a little trickier than it ought to be. By providing a letter from a licensed mental health professional such as your psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist which verifies your need for an ESA, you should have little problem making a successful application under the Fair Housing Act.

See if you qualify for an emotional support animal.