What’s the difference between an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and a Service Dog?
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are animals that provide therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship. A Service Dog is specially trained to perform a task to help someone with a disability. A seeing eye dog is one example of a Service Dog. Unlike a Service Dog, an emotional support animal does not need specialized training to handle a task. Further, Emotional Support Animals come in different breeds and animal types and are not just limited to dogs, while Service Animals are either dogs or mini horses.
What are the different laws protecting Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Service Dogs?
Emotional Support Animals are protected by the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and by the Fair Housing Authority (FHA), while Service Dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.ESA’s must follow all pet policies in locations other than one’s permanent residence or on an airplane. Service Dogs do not have the same constraints and are allowed anywhere.
How do I register my Emotional Support Animal on your site?
Registration is simple and only takes a moment. Fill out the short form on our homepage you will be immediately registered. You are now free to shop, explore, and receive timely Emotional Support Animal information such as legal changes and updates.
How do I qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
Unlike Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals require no specific animal training. The law requires that the handler have a letter of prescription from a mental health professional explaining that the ESA provides therapeutic value to its owner.
We have joined forces with mental health professionals and currently offering all members the opportunity to obtain an ESA Evaluation/Prescription Letter.
Only Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin of an airplane. Many airlines will ask that you notify them in advance when travelling that an Emotional Support Animal. We recommend informing the airline immediately after booking that you have an ESA with you and let them know that your dog will be traveling with a doctor’s letter when you arrive at the airport. Some airlines require travelers to submit their Emotional Support Animal Evaluation Letter before travel. It’s always important to understand the specific airline’s rules before you travel.
My dog is very large. Do Emotional Support Animals have a size limit?
No. There is no size discrimination allowed when it comes to Service Dogs and ESA’s. ESA’s come in various shapes and sizes and airlines are required to allow ESA’s dog to accompany you to your seat regardless of the size. It’s important to note that there is no size limit for Service Dogs.
Are emotional support animals allowed in all public places?
Unlike service dogs, Emotional Support Animals do not have access rights to all public areas. However, ESA’s of certain sizes can be brought on airplanes and allowed to live in pet free housing. Service Dogs, however, are allowed to accompany their owners wherever they go.
What type of proof should I have with me when traveling or moving into a new house with my Emotional Support Animal?
The law requires all ESA’s to have a letter which written by a mental health professional. The letter states that the Emotional Support Animal provides therapeutic value to its owner and verifies the validity of the ESA.
If you do not have your ESA evaluation letter yet, you can get one from our mental health professional by purchasing it on the products page or over the phone.
Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) allowed on a plane?
An Emotional Support Animal may fly in the cabin of a commercial or private airline with their handler and the handler is not required to pay a pet fee. Airlines require an ESA prescription letter from a licensed mental health profession as well as advance notice in most cases that the passenger will be flying with an ESA.
Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) allowed in no pet housing?
Landlords and property managers must make reasonable accommodations for tenants or prospective tenants with Emotional Support Animals, even if the apartment, house, or college dorm does not allow pets. A reasonable fee may only be asked by the landlord if there is any damage to the property as a result of your animal, otherwise no other fees may be imposed. Property managers/landlords may require the tenant complete a mental health professional Third Party Verification form.
If you’re wondering whether you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you can sign up for an evaluation letter from one of our mental health professional here.
Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) required to wear any identifying clothes or a harness?
Federal law does not require Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals to wear any type of clothing or harnesses. However, we strongly encourage this since harnesses, leashes, patches and identifying items cut down on the hassles and unnecessary explanations when in public. We have found that these products drastically save time and frustration.
What if I want to register my dog as a service dog?
If you would like to register your dog as a service dog, please visit our sister site:www.servicedogregistration.org. It’s important to note the difference between the two types of dogs. Service Dogs are specially trained to perform a task, while Emotional Support Animals provide therapeutic value.
How does one get a therapy dog for anxiety or other psychological disorders?
To have your dog qualify as an Emotional Support Animal (therapy dog) a licensed mental health professional must determine whether the animal provides therapeutic value to its owner.
If you do not have your ESA evaluation letter yet, you can sign up for an assessment with one of our mental health professionals. They will complete a psychological evaluation to determine whether you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal.
Who can I talk to for legal advice?
The Department of Justice is the section of the government that deals with Service Dog and ESA Laws. If you have run into any legal issues or disputes concerning your animal please contact the DOJ for assistance.
Department of Justice: 800-514-0301 Fair Housing Act (FHA): 800-669-9777
Can cats and other animals be Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, any animal that provides therapeutic value can be considered an Emotional Support Animal. However, cats and others cannot be considered Service Animals. The Service Animal designation can only belong to dogs and miniature horses.
What animals are considered Service Animals?
Service animals are defined as dogs and miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Dogs and other animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA since they are not specifically trained to complete a task.
How do I find a doctor who will prescribe an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letter?
We offer an easy way to schedule an assessment with a mental health professional who is able to prescribe an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letter. To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for an ESA evaluation letter you can click here.
Do emotional support animals need special training similar to a service dog?
Emotional support animals do not require specialized training. However, they do require a therapist letter in order to be considered valid. Service Dogs require specialized training because they perform a specific task for their owner such as acting as a seeing eye dog or calming someone down who has PTSD.
Can the landlord charge me a pet/security deposit for my emotional support animal?
No. Landlords are not allowed to charge emotional support animals additional fees since an ESA isn’t considered a pet.
What does ESA mean?
ESA is short for Emotional Support Animal. An Emotional Support Animal is an animal that provides therapeutic support to its owner and is protected by the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and by the Fair Housing Authority (FHA).
How do I get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
A qualified Emotional Support Animal requires a letter from a mental health professional stating that the animal provides therapeutic value to its owner. We offer an easy way to schedule an appointment and select a time for an assessment with a licensed therapist. It is important to note that we do not guarantee a person’s qualification. The therapist is the one that makes the determination on a case by case basis. To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for an ESA evaluation letter you can click here.