Emotional Support Animals
Any person with an emotional disability qualifies to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
Emotional Disabilities, may include, but not limited to:
Depression Anxiety Bipolar Disorder
Panic Disorders Personality Disorders
Symptoms associated with emotional disabilities may include, but not limited to:
-Feelings of depression and anxiety lasting more than a few days.
-Pervasive mood of unhappiness.
-Difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships.
-Irrational fears associated with “normal” life activities.
What IS an Emotional Support Animal?
An ESA is an animal that by its presence near its handler helps to reduce or minimize the symptoms associated with an emotional disability. The animal need not be specifically trained since it is not like a service dog in that it needs to learn tasks the individual with a disability cannot perform on their own. Having the animal undergo basic obedience to ensure the safety of itself and those around the animal is enough.
ESA’s are treated slightly different from service dogs in that you may be asked to show a letter from a licensed mental health professional prescribing an ESA to you. A proprietor is within their right to ask whether your animal is a service dog or an ESA. Most of the time your ESA will be wearing a vest and have its photo ID distinguishing it from an ordinary pet, which is usually enough to enter public places without issue.
There are two federal laws which grant special rights to owners of ESA’s:
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 allows you to live / stay anywhere you like without paying extra pet fees of any kind, including places with a “no pet” policy.
The Air Carrier Access Act allows you to travel on an airline without paying any extra pet fees and the animal is allowed to be with you in the cabin. Airlines will ask for a letter from a licensed mental health professional upon check-in. Contact the airline for further details.
You can visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information