What is emotional support Animal and how to qualify for it?


It came under research that one in four Americans suffers from mental or psychological diseases. The recent research has also shown that the companionship of animals can reduce mental illness drastically. Therefore, psychiatrists recommend having emotional support animal. An emotional support animal is a companion and confidant animal which may prove helpful for the person who is suffering from any of the psychological diseases. An emotional support animal, as the name suggests, gives therapeutic and healing benefits to their owner by ameliorating the symptoms associated with emotional, psychological or mental disability. Emotional support animals, usually dogs, sometimes other animals like cats and birds, may be used by those who are suffering from mental, psychological or even physical disabilities.

Moreover, one person can hold more than one animals, the law does not prohibit any person to have more than one emotional support animals. However, the person must ensure that he has appropriate accommodations for the pets he is going to acquire. Even airline companies cannot refuse the person to fly with his/her ESAs. But, realistically speaking airline companies cannot afford more than three animals to accommodate.

According to research, 18% of Americans are suffering mental disabilities. However, these disabilities range from minor to major. This huge chunk of a population can benefit from the emotional support animals and make their mental health condition better.  The problems which can be ameliorated by the companionship of the emotional support animals include anxiety, trouble in sleeping, depression and many more. Moreover, such animals provide companionship and comfort to their owners in doing different types of life activities.

These “life activities” are defined by the law as “ caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working”.

Liability of landlord regarding ESAs

As for the question of a landlord is concerned, the landlord cannot deprive any tenets of enjoying the benefits of emotional support animal. Albeit, landlord is bound according to the U.S.A laws to provide the appropriate accommodation to the tenets so that he/she may equally enjoy the benefits of ESAs.

The Criterion for seeking emotional support animal.

Only such person is considered applicable for seeking emotional support animal who has a verifiable and certified disability. The person must have dually signed and verified certificate from the competent physician stating that the person is suffering from such disability and emotional support animal will be beneficial for him/her. The person competent for suggesting you to have ESA must be therapist, psychiatrist, mental health expert or psychologist.

The letter for acquiring emotional support animal must be written on the letterhead of the authority concerned. The letter must contain following conditions.

  • Valid license of health professional
  • Type of license
  • Date of license
  • The name of state which issued the license
  • The letter must have details of the mental illness from which the patient is suffering.

The laws which deal with emotional support animals are “The Air Carrier Access Act” and “The Fair Housing Act”. According to air career act, no airline company can refuse you to travel with your animal if you have a verified and valid identification. Likewise, The fair housing Act requires you to ensure the company about an appropriate and reasonable and fair accommodation for the animal you going to acquire. Likewise, the landlord also cannot deny you to have an emotional support animal until you make it sure that you are paying appropriate attention to your animal, showing any kind of negligence about the animal and that the animal is not causing any sort of disturbance for your landlord. The landlord cannot charge you extra or an advance payment.

Disorders which make you qualified to acquire an ESA.

Following are some disorders which make you qualified to acquire an ESA.

  1. Disability in learning
  2. ADD or attention deficit disorder
  3. Sexual problems
  4. Mental sickness
  5. Tic ailments.
  6. Motor skills syndromes.
  7. Bipolar sickness.
  8. Cognitive syndrome.

Training of an emotional support animal:

As for the training of the emotional support animal is concerned, it is not required any specific training. The emotional support animal only provides emotional companionship to their owners. One important thing to remember here is that your ESA does not need to be certified. You are not liable to register your ESA anywhere. Only the letter issued by your doctor is sufficient for you to have your ESA. It’s better to learn about ESAs before you proceed further as there are there are lot of fake registering companies which are luring people to register their pets.

Rensch & Rensch

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