Frequently Asked Questions

Emotional Support Animal Registration: What You Should Know

Dogs have been sharing their lives with us for more than 14,000 years. This is just an estimate. These pets have helped, protected, and entertained humans. According to the US Human Society, around 40% of the American households have one or two dogs. Even if we don’t count dogs, around 35% houses have cats as their pets. From this you can have a pretty good idea of the importance of pets, especially dogs for us.

Now, let’s get to the point and talk about the term emotional support animals. An ESA is a pet or dog that offers therapeutic support to a senior or disabled citizen through affection, non-judgmental regard, companionship and so on.

In America, if a doctor realizes that a patient with a certain disability can benefit from an ESA, they may request the patient to have an ESA or travel with a dog. This may help the patient get some relief and enjoy their time.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An ESA is a type of therapy animal that assists people with mental and emotional disabilities. ESA’s are not trained to perform a specific task such as alerting its owner to take medicine. Rather, they are assistance animals that help their owner’s mental health. An emotional support animal letter signed by a mental health professional is required to consider an ESA legal. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects the rights of emotional support animals.

Are emotional support animals allowed to go anywhere?

While service dogs can accompany their owners in any public setting, emotional support animals do not have the same access rights. ESA’s used to be able to fly on planes and were protected by the Air Carrier Access Act via the Department of Transportation. However, in January 2020 the law changed and now it is up to the airline to determine whether they allow ESA’s to fly free of charge and in the cabin. Most major US air carriers have changed their rules as it applies to support animals. The Fair Housing Act protects emotional support animals allowing owners to wave any associated pet fees.

Thus, ESA’s are allowed in college dorm rooms, apartments, and certain hotel accommodations. ESA’s may be found in certain work environments, Still, a prescription letter signed by a doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist is required. These locations are not allowed to charge extra fees for your assistance animal.

Do I have to meet with a therapist to receive an ESA letter?

Yes, a person must meet in person or via an online secure HIPAA compliant video for an ESA assessment with a licensed doctor or therapist to receive a valid ESA letter. Companies that offer automatically generated letters via questionnaire without requiring a face-to-face meeting are illegal. Beware that these types of companies are under scrutiny and that buying a letter without meeting with a therapist or doctor may lead to fines or worse in certain states.

ESA Registration takes pride in working with a group of therapists across the US who follow the law. It is important to note that service animals do not require ESA letters and are not governed by the Fair Housing Act.

Just because one purchased an ESA letter does not mean they will be granted a letter from a therapist. Companies are not allowed to guarantee an ESA letter or offer a refund should a letter a client not qualify. Companies that do this should not be trusted and reported to state and national authorities.

Where can I get an emotional support animal?

ESA’s are not trained to perform a specific task. Whereas seeing eye dogs are service dogs for the blind, ESA’s offer support for people dealing with emotional issues. This may include depression, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, or other factors that impact a person’s everyday life. To make your dog into an ESA a letter from a licensed therapist is required. This prescription letter is a requirement and typically a detailed mental health questionnaire must be filled out followed by one or more sessions with a therapist who will then determine qualification. Certain therapists won’t write prescription letters for any animal other than an emotional support dog or cat. Is it up to the therapist to determine whether they would accept an exotic animal as part of their emotional support animal prescription.

What are the best ESA products?

ESA’s, like most companion animals, have a wide variety of products for their owners. Leashes, vests, and ID’s are not legal requirements for emotional support animals, but provide the public with easy to identify tools to help owners and pets. Some of the most popular products are harnesses that can be used in apartment rental units or on campus.