Emotional support animals (ESAs) refer to dogs and other pets that provide emotional support and comfort to their owners on a daily basis. ESAs legally must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional like a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
Emotional support animals differ from service dogs in a few key ways. Service dogs have been trained to perform specific tasks for individuals, and as such, as usually granted access to anywhere their owner goes. Emotional support animals do not require any specific training, although owners should make sure they’re well-trained in public. ESAs are not granted access to establishments such as restaurants or malls like service dogs are.
Individuals with ESAs are afforded some additional rights, such as the ability to live in otherwise non-pet-friendly housing under the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the Air Carrier Access Act allows both service animals and ESAs to accompany their owners in the cabin of an aircraft during flights. Emotional support animals provide a valuable service to those who need it, but misrepresenting a pet as an ESA is both unethical and illegal in some states.
The Fair Housing Act protects a person with an emotional support animal and allows them to live in homes, apartments, condos, etc. where pets are not allowed. A person cannot be legally charged a deposit or other fee for their ESA.
An Emotional Support Animal Doesn't Need Special Training
Because the presence of an emotional support animal pet is what is effective to help a person with an emotional disability, the pet is not required to have any specific training.
How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal
It's not difficult to qualify for an emotional support animal. A licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychiatrist, MD, etc.) must determine that your anxiety, depression, PTSD experience, or other emotional challenge is disabling.
Our mission is to provide veterans that suffer from a variety of ailments with emotional support animals free of charge. Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will fund our mission.