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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.
Emotional Support Animals are protected by two federal laws, the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), while Service Dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 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.
Emotional support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act, which prevents landlords from discriminating against people with disabilities.
The Air Carrier Access Act protects owners of emotional support animals from discrimination by commercial airlines, and allows them to bring their ESA’s in the cabin of the aircraft free of charge, even if the airline does not normally allow pets.
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 will connect you with a licensed mental health professional that specializes in ESA evaluation and certification as required by federal law.
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. Most 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. 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. Each airline has its own rules, forms to be filled out and procedures for traveling with an ESA animal. Our clients need only log into their account and enter their flight information and a prescription letter good for air travel will be delivered to their phone.
Federal law requires 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.
Can the landlord charge me a pet security deposit, additional rent or fees 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.
No. Federal law does not require Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals to wear any type of clothing or harnesses.
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, however, you will not charged a fee if you fail to qualify or are unsatisfied for any reason.