An emotional support animal (ESA) is a sort of animal that provides comfort to a person suffering from a disability symptom or consequence. Emotional support animals are not considered pets in the United States, and they are not restricted by species.

Whether they’re helping their owner deal with the side effects of ADHD or overcome panic attacks, emotional support animals are wonderful companions for those with disabilities and going through difficult situations. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about these furry friends and how the title of emotional support animal is given. Here’s everything you need to know about it.


The basics of  emotional support animals 

What are emotional support animals?

At their most basic, emotional support animals are companion animals that help comfort people by offering affection and keeping them company. They are often encountered alongside people with emotional or psychological disabilities.

What are emotional support animals used for?

The definition of an emotional or psychological disability that necessitates the use of an emotional support animal varies by country and even by location. These animals can help with PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADD and ADHD, as well as intellectual and learning difficulties.

Emotional support animals and service dogs

Emotional support animals and assistance dogs differ significantly in that the former are not taught to perform specialized tasks. They exist to bring comfort, but an assistance dog is trained to aid its master with duties that he is unable to complete due to a disability.

Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Dogs

Emotional support animals also differ from therapy dogs. Like assistance dogs, therapy dogs provide psychological or physiological services to people who are not their owners or masters. They are often brought to hospitals, palliative care units, schools or nursing homes, among other places, to interact with people and patients, and to lift their spirits.

No training is required

Since emotional support animals aren’t technically trained to perform specific tasks, they aren’t automatically allowed in a variety of public spaces like restaurants, stores, and schools. The situation is different for assistance and therapy dogs, since the laws regulate and authorize their access to almost all public places, except food processing places.

Any pet can be an emotional support animal

The majority of emotional support animals are dogs, but some may prefer a cat, miniature horse, rabbit, small bird, and even a turtle. In contrast, service and therapy animals are usually dogs.

A matter of security

Another intriguing fact is that practically any pet, regardless of age, can become an emotional support animal. They must, however, be well-trained so that they do not endanger their owners or others in a public setting. They’re supposed to calm down the person they’re serving, not aggravate them.

Laws governing emotional support animals

You can’t just go out and get a new pet and call it an emotional support animal. In order for your furry companion to be considered an emotional support animal under the law, there are specific standards and restrictions that must be followed. It is not, however, required to present a certificate stating that it has been taught to execute a specific duty or function.

Certification is mandatory

The first step for your companion to be recognized as an emotional support animal is to have a diagnosis of emotional or psychological disability. A psychologist or therapist can provide this validation, as can a certified mental health professional.

Seek help from health professionals

A physician or family physician can give mental health care, but their opinion on an emotional handicap is insufficient. If a person is not currently being treated by a psychologist or therapist, they must first meet with one to acquire an official diagnosis.

The ins and outs of the letter related to the emotional support animal

The expert in question will prepare a letter on their office letterhead detailing the diagnosis once a person has been diagnosed with an emotional disability. The professional’s address, license number, and the date the letter was written should all be included in the letter.

When will you need to submit the letter confirming your emotional support animal’s certification?

You may need to produce this letter when you bring your emotional support animal to public places. It could also be required when you rent an apartment or if you live in a building where pets are generally not tolerated. Depending on the country, you will also need to present this letter if you want your pet to travel with you in the cabin of an airplane.

Emotional support animals on airplanes

Speaking of airplanes, some countries don’t allow emotional support animals in the cabin of an airplane, including the United States. In January 2021, the US Department of Transportation revised its rules and removed requirements that required planes to allow these furry friends on planes. (Assistance and therapy dogs are still allowed, however.) This means that if someone with an emotional support dog takes a flight to or from the United States, they cannot have their animal remain with them. .

Get an Emotional Support Animal Certification Letter Online

It is very easy to get a letter that someone needs an emotional support animal online. Online therapists are able to provide these letters if needed. A person does not need to attend in-person therapy to receive a diagnosis of emotional disability. Online resources are especially useful for people whose physical disabilities limit their ability to get to medical appointments.

Beware of fraudulent letters!

If someone gets a letter confirming emotional support animal status online, it is imperative to first verify the legitimacy of the organization. No one should have to pay for the registration or certification of an emotional support animal, and letters should not be approved instantly (without verification of the person’s mental health status).

Don’t forget to renew your letter

Letters confirming emotional support animal status don’t last forever. The only time you won’t have to provide a recent letter is to maintain your apartment rental. If you had a valid letter when you signed the lease, it is enough to prove your companion’s status. Also, just like a prescription must be renewed, a therapist must recertify a person’s documentation every year.

No need to have a jacket…

Although some believe that the vest is required to confirm the status of their emotional support animal, this is not always the case. An owner can use it to emphasize the particular role of his companion, but it is not obligatory.

The advent of fake emotional support animals

The popularity of emotional support animals has surged in almost every country in the world, leading some people to claim that their pet is necessary for their mental health… when it isn’t. case. As a result, in many places, claiming an animal is an emotional support animal without having the necessary documentation to prove it has become a criminal act.

When access can be denied

Even if a person has the proper documentation showing that their furry friend is a certified emotional support animal, the person and their companion may be denied access to a public place if the animal behaves unruly or is considered as a threat to other customers and people. This is why emotional support animals should receive proper training.

Furry friends forever

It is wrong to say that a person will always need an emotional support animal. Studies show that pets are beneficial for everyone’s mental health and well-being, but in many cases it’s a temporary need. Indeed, the love of their furry friend and the support of a therapist could help patients deal with the challenges they face on their own.

Emotional support animals Emotional support animal ESA certified

How to register an emotional support animal ?

Emotional support animals do not have an official registration database. Any request for an ESA allowance, on the other hand, must be accompanied by a letter from a licensed mental health practitioner. This letter must include the following information:

  • Be genuine, that is, written on professional letterhead by a trained physician and/or mental health care practitioner.
  • Include the license number of the provider, as well as their signature and the date the letter was signed.
  • Make it clear that an emotional support animal is required.

If you do not yet have a mental health care provider, you have two choices: book an appointment with one and have your letter sent that way, or use an online letter service.

It’s now shockingly easy to qualify for emotional support pets and with this official ESA letter website , it’s easier than you’d think. Check out American Pet Services now!


American Service Pets

American Service Pets is a website that allows individuals to connect with qualified psychologists in their state and have a doctor examine their eligibility for an emotional support animal based on their medical condition via tele-psychology. American Service Pets has no influence over these decisions, and its staff do not have access to any patient medical information. Their letters of emotional support are compliant with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) .

American Service Pets debuted in California and Colorado in 2024. We’ve grown their network of psychologists to cover over 80% of the United States in the previous 18 months. Their ESA letters comply with both the Air Carrier Access Act and the H.U.D. So, if a pet owner wishes to fly on any major airline or rent an apartment, condo, or house without having to pay any additional costs for their pet, their doctor’s signed ESA/PSA letters make it possible. Females between the ages of 21 and 34 who rent and own a dog or cat are the best candidates for ASP. It’s also useful for pet owners who travel. BBB accreditation, 1,400 5-star ratings, and in-house customer service give American Service Pets legitimacy, which leads to increased conversion rates.

As the nation’s leading all-in-one online solution for approving emotional support animals for housing and travel,get your official ESA Approval Letter here.

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More About Emotional support animals

A service animal is not the same as an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals do not require any training and do not need to be formally trained. Service animals are trained to do certain duties, such as assisting a blind person navigate, but emotional support animals do not require any training and do not need to be formally trained. educated to execute tasks that help people with mental illnesses An emotional support animal is any animal that provides support, comfort, or aid to a person through companionship, unconditional positive regard, and affection.

People with mental illnesses in the United States may be excluded from certain federal housing and travel requirements if they have an emotional support animal. They must fit the federal criteria of impairment and the animal must provide emotional support that alleviates specific symptoms or effects of the disability to qualify for this exemption. A letter from a licensed health care provider confirming that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the disability’s symptoms or effects is usually required.


Emotional support animals are typically cats and dogs, however other animal species may be used. When deciding whether to allow an emotional support animal in a rental property, it is necessary to conduct an individualized assessment of the specific service animal to determine whether it poses a direct threat to harm or would cause significant property damage, rather than assuming that an animal is excluded based on its breed or species. Although a wild or unusual animal that poses a heightened danger of sickness or potential aggression on other persons may be barred, courts have accepted guinea pigs and miniature horses as emotional support animals.

Some airlines will accept emotional support animals if they are properly documented.With proper certification from a veterinarian and/or mental health counselor, some airlines will allow emotional support animals, and small animals such as cats and dogs may be held in the passenger’s lap during the journey.

Emotional support animals are not required by law to wear a tag, harness, or any other sort of apparel indicating that they are emotional support animals.

Tasks and training

Emotional support animals do not need to be trained in any way.
Emotional support animals do not require any training. They are typically not trained beyond what would be anticipated of a similar sort of animal. Emotional support animals are not required to perform any responsibilities that a companion animal of the same species would, and they may exhibit unwanted behaviors such as defecating or peeing in inappropriate locations, growling and barking at people, or biting them.

Badly trained emotional support animals, as well as improperly trained pets misrepresented as emotional support animals, endanger the health, safety, and function of people and trained service animals.

The proprietors

In order to be qualified for an emotional support animal in the United States, the owner must have an emotional or mental disability that has been certified by a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other registered mental health care provider.These can be imperceptible handicaps.

The change in the owner’s sanity must be serious enough to result in an impairment, rather than just discomfort or a wish to have a pet. Furthermore, in order for the provider to certify the animal without deception, the presence of the emotional support animal must provide a meaningful advantage that distinguishes between the person functioning sufficiently and not functioning adequately.

ESA Letters 

An emotional support animal letter, often known as an ESA letter, is a document that allows people to be accompanied by a support animal in situations where dogs are not permitted, such as in rented housing. A psychologist, psychiatrist, licensed mental health professional, or physician must write the letter. An ESA letter does not have to be issued by the recipient’s primary care physician, and some physicians may send patients seeking an ESA to psychologists or other experts.

The medical or mental health practitioner who issues the letter is currently required by the US Department of Transportation to give therapy to the passenger. Airlines may require certification to be presented on the letterhead of a mental health professional or doctor certified that particularly addresses the passenger’s mental or emotional ailment if the certificate or letter is older than one year. It’s unclear whether these regulations apply to accepting ESAs after the most recent amendment.

Several emotional support animals

Despite the fact that there do not appear to be any cases involving numerous emotional support animals, the essential needs for this type of accommodation would be the same. If a person with a handicap requested more than one emotional support animal, they would require paperwork from their psychologist or another certified healthcare expert to back up their request. The practitioner will be expected to show that each support animal has helped to lessen particular handicap symptoms.

False statement

Some people have misrepresented their dogs from companies like ESAs in order to avoid additional payments, such as paying a pet deposit in a rental apartment or extra baggage fees for transporting a pet on a plane.This is one of the reasons why the Air Carrier Access Act will be reviewed in December 2020.

It is illegal in some US jurisdictions to give a letter, record, or certificate to someone who is not disabled. Making false claims that their animal is a service animal or that they are a handler who trains a service animal has become illegal in many places. Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, as well as New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington State, have passed laws criminalizing the misrepresentation of service and service animals.

Housing in the United States

People with mental disorders in the United States have legal protection against housing discrimination under two federal statutes: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) of 1988. These statutes, along with corresponding case law, establish the general rule that a landlord may not discriminate against people with intellectual disabilities in the rental unit, and that the landlord must provide reasonable accommodations to allow a person with a disability to enjoy and use the rental unit. Under both the FHAA and Section 504, persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation, such as a waiver of a “no pets policy,” for any service animal, including an emotional support animal.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

In 1973, Congress passed Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which stated unequivocally that discrimination against people with disabilities in any program receiving federal funds was illegal. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued regulations to implement the law in 1988. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states:

No otherwise qualified individual with a handicap in the United States…shall be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or discriminated against in any program or service simply because of their disability. an activity that receives government subsidies.

This law established the norm that public housing authority may not deny residence to a disabled person purely because of his or her condition, and that if reasonable accommodations can be made for a disabled person, the owner must make the accommodations. Although the statute does not directly contain the term “reasonable accommodation,” case law and HUD rules interpreting the statute have read it into the statute.

The renter must: and the housing authority must receive federal financial aid in order to prove that a “no pets” waiver for an emotional support animal is a reasonable accommodation under Section 504. According to the courts, “otherwise qualified” indicates that the tenant must be able to complete the program’s standards notwithstanding the disability. Furthermore, the renter must be able to adhere to the rental’s basic guidelines, which include cleaning up after the animal and walking the animal in authorized locations.

The courts in Majors and Whittier Terrace established the fundamental principles that a tenant can be “otherwise qualified” under Section 504 while being unable to comply with a “no pets” policy, and that a waiver to a “pet-free” policy can be a reasonable accommodation under Section 504. Several courts, however, have consistently concluded that a tenant who asks an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation must show a link between his or her capacity to function and the animal’s presence. Several courts have refined the required link between the impairment and the emotional support animal.The Court for the Northern District of California, for example, concluded in Janush v. Charities Housing Development Corp (ND Ca., 2000) that appropriate accommodation is a matter of fact, not species. A Massachusetts trial court concluded that there were more reasonable accommodations to ameliorate the consequences of a person’s disability than retaining an emotional support animal in Nason v. Stone Hill Realty Association (1996), and thus dismissed the tenant’s application for a preliminary injunction. The emotional anguish that a person will experience if they are forced to give up their emotional support animal will not justify a request for reasonable accommodation, according to the courts.

This statute does not encompass private housing providers since a breach of Section 504 required the housing authority to receive federal assistance. Until 1988, when Congress passed the Fair Housing Act Amendments, this legislative gap existed.

Changes to the law on equitably distributed housing

While Section 504 applies solely to housing authorities that receive federal financial aid, the Fair Housing Act applies to both public and private housing authorities. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), which was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, focused on housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or sex; however, revisions to the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHAA) in 1988 broadened the scope to include individuals with disabilities.

According to the FHAA, it is unlawful to “discriminate in the sale or rental…of a dwelling to any purchaser or tenant because of a disability of that purchaser or tenant, a person residing in or intending to reside in such dwelling after it has been sold, leased, or made available, or any person associated with such purchaser or tenant.” It is also discriminatory to: “refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations are essential to offer a person with a disability an equal chance to utilize and enjoy housing, including public and common-use spaces.” As a result, the FHAA, like Section 504, compels landlords to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants.

Furthermore, the FHAA’s section 3602(h) defines a disability in relation to a person as follows:

  • a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more of this person’s main activities of daily living;
  • a record of having such a disability; or, alternatively,
  • Assumed to be suffering from such a deficiency.

The term “major life activities” has been interpreted broadly to include “activities of critical importance to daily life,” such as “seeing, hearing, marching, breathing, performing manual tasks, taking care of oneself, learning, speaking, and reproducing.” The FHAA is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); the general prosecutor and individuals can apply for it.

To establish a prima facie case of housing discrimination under the FHAA, the locataire must have an admissible handicap, the propriétaire must know or should reasonably be expected to know about the handicap, handicap adaptation may be required to allow the locataire to use and benefit from the housing, and the propriétaire must refuse the request, for example by refusing to renounce the “no animals” policy.

The second element, that the landlord knew of the disability or should have known, places an affirmative onus on the tenant to seek reasonable accommodation, such as a waiver of a “no pets” policy for an emotional support animal. A renter can meet this burden by providing a letter from their doctor or mental health professional stating that the renter has a mental disability, explaining that the animal is required to mitigate the effects of the disability, and requesting that the animal be allowed in the rental unit as a reasonable accommodation for the mentally disabled. Owners have the right to obtain paperwork that proves their emotional support animal’s need. Under federal law, the basic mental pain that would arise from having to surrender an animal due to a “no pets” policy will be prohibited.Instead, there must be a connection, or nexus, between the animal and the disability. The link between the animal and the disability is analyzed as part of the third element of an FHAA housing discrimination case, known as the necessity requirement, and requires that the housing improve the quality of life of a disabled tenant by improving the effects of disability.

As long as the accommodation requested does not constitute an undue financial or administrative burden for the owner, or does not fundamentally change the nature of the accommodation, the owner must provide the accommodation.

Despite the fact that the Fair Housing Act applies to both multi-family and detached single-family homes, a landlord’s sale or rental of a single-family property is exempt from the law. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule. The first is that if an individual owns more than three single-family residences, the exception will not apply. The use of a real estate agent or broker to rent the residence is another exception to this rule.

For a landlord’s breach of the FHAA, a tenant may be awarded actual and punitive damages, injunctive relief, and lawyers’ costs at the discretion of the court.Although most owners give ESAs with the same reasonable accommodations as a service animal, there have been instances where this has not been the case. There have been a few court instances, such as the Kenna Homes case in West Virginia, where the court ruled that a landlord’s requirement that a service animal have some type of training is not a violation of fair housing laws.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) allows people with disabilities to bring their service animals into public places. However, the ADA only extends these protections to dogs that have been “individually trained” to “perform duties for the benefit of a person with a disability,” which is the definition of service animals under 28 CFR. § 36.104. Because emotional support animals are generally not trained for an individual’s specific disability, and emotional support animals may not be dogs, they do not have ADA protections. A public place may therefore refuse the admission of an emotional support animal.

Housing providers must comply with both the FHAct/Section 504 reasonable accommodation standard and the ADA’s service animal provisions in situations where both the ADA and the FHAA/Section 504 apply simultaneously (for example, a public housing agency, sales or rental offices, or housing associated with a university or other educational facility).

The lack of training for emotional support animals has also led to controversy in the courts. Specifically, there is controversy over whether the ADA’s definition of a service animal, with its training requirement, applies to reasonable accommodation claims for animals under the FHAA. However, HUD administrative judges ruled in favor of emotional support animals, despite their lack of training, as reasonable accommodations. Additionally, several courts have also ruled that untrained service animals are reasonable accommodations under the FHAA, yet there are cases that have detained a service animal, in order to be considered an accommodation. reasonable under the FHAA, must be trained.

Emotional support animals Emotional support animal ESA certified

The owners

Many landlords have “no pets” policy for their rental homes, and even those who do allow pets have limits on the types and sizes of animals tenants can bring in. rental. Even when a tenant requests an accommodation for a mental or emotional disability, many landlords are hesitant to waive their pet laws and limitations. Most landlords, on the other hand, cannot legally refuse a renter who has a certified need for an emotional support animal, nor may they charge that tenant a pet fee.

Landlords may fear that waiving a “no pets” policy for one tenant will inspire many others to report mental illnesses and the need for emotional support animals. Landlords may believe that as more tenants have animals on the property, the smells and sounds of animals may deter other tenants from renting and thus reduce the value of the rental property. Landlords may also believe that making exceptions to a “no pets” policy for a tenant’s emotional support animal may confuse other tenants who don’t understand why a person was allowed to have an animal. when they weren’t. However, if a tenant documents the need for an emotional support animal under fair housing law or state law and the landlord is not exempt from those laws, the landlord must authorize the tenant to own an emotional support animal. The FHA does not have a conclusive definition of what type of animal a service or companion animal should be, and the animal does not need to be trained to perform a specific task to be considered a service animal. emotional support or companion animal. This means that dogs, cats, birds, and other types of pets can be considered emotional support.

Pet deposits

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice have ruled that “providers may not require persons with disabilities to pay additional fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.” In 1990, a HUD administrative judge ordered the owners of an apartment complex to charge a disabled person a pet deposit. The judge ruled that an auxiliary aid, such as a service dog, guide or signal dog, may be necessary to give the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling, including the spaces public and common. Therefore, when a tenant qualifies for a service animal or emotional support animal, a landlord cannot charge the tenant any additional fees in connection with the animal’s presence in the rental property. This prohibition extends to pet deposits and fees, even when such fees are charged to other tenants with pets.

A landlord may charge a tenant for damage to a rental property caused by the tenant’s emotional support animal and may deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant’s security deposit, but may not increase the security deposit based on the Tenant’s possession of an emotional support animal.


The landlord’s responsibility to enable a tenant to own an emotional support animal may be subject to exceptions. Owner-occupied buildings with four or less rental units, for example, are not subject to federal fair housing laws. Private owners of single-family dwellings sold or rented without the assistance of a broker, as long as the owner owns no more than three single-family dwellings, as well as dwellings operated by private organizations and clubs that restrict occupancy to members, are also exempt from the Fair Housing Act. State law exemptions may be more restricted than federal exemptions.

Even where the Fair Housing Act applies, circumstances may arise where a landlord can prevent a tenant from owning an emotional support animal.

  • If a tenant’s emotional support animal compromises the safety of other tenants or their property, or if the animal poses a danger to other tenants, the landlord may not have to allow the tenant into the unit or waive a “no pets” policy.
  • If the Tenant becomes unable to properly care for their emotional support animal, the Landlord may be able to restrict the Tenant’s continued possession of the animal.
  • If a tenant neglects their emotional support animal and the neglect reaches a level where the animal is in danger, then there may be a basis for law enforcement or animal control action. If an animal is neglected, local law enforcement or animal control may intervene.
  • If there are other, more reasonable alternatives to mitigate the effects of the disability, and the tenant has not provided proper documentation of an emotional support animal, a court cannot compel a landlord to waive a policy. No Pets as an Accommodation of Renter’s Disability.
  • Even though he has the right to own an emotional support animal, a tenant remains subject to all the other provisions of the lease, including any obligation to maintain his residence in a hygienic manner. A landlord can also evict a person with a disability if that person does not comply with legitimate tenancy rules that apply to all tenants.

If the accommodation requested (i.e. waiving a “no pets” policy for an emotional support animal) places an undue financial or administrative burden on the landlord, or fundamentally changes the nature of the accommodation , the landlord may not have to provide the Reasonable Accommodation. However, because the burden of allowing emotional support animals is generally modest, most owners have failed to argue a denial of waiver of a “no pets” policy on the basis of a extreme burden claimed.

University residences and dormitories

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development notified its regional offices on April 25, 2013, that public institutions must follow the Fair Housing Act, which includes permitting emotional support animals in dorms and university houses. [34] Colleges in the United States, such as St. Mary’s College in Maryland, were attempting to accommodate students with verified emotional support animal needs as of 2015.

Employment opportunities for emotional support animal in the United States

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities under current ADA standards. This implies they must make some concessions for service animals that accompany their owners to work. SEZs are not service animals by law, therefore one wonders if these exceptions apply to them. There have been legal cases both in favor of and against the use of ESAs in the workplace. This field is currently in flux, and until legislation are enacted to specifically handle this issue, cases will have to be decided on an individual basis. Currently, a person can use their ESA at work if they can show documents to prove their need, which is called a “reasonable modification.”

Air travel in the United States

Emotional support animals are no longer required to travel on US airlines with their disabled owners.

The US Department of Transportation said on December 2, 2020, that the Air Carrier Access Act would be revised, removing the requirement for airlines to accept ESAs and enabling them to be treated as pets. After the final ruling, this took effect 30 days later.Previously, the Air Carrier Access Act established a procedure for amending pet policies on board aircraft to allow a person with a disability to travel with a prescribed emotional support animal, provided they has the appropriate documentation and that the animal is not a danger to others and has not exhibited disruptive behavior (e.g. jumping on people, barking or growling, urinating or defecating in the stall or door, etc. ). “Unusual” animals, including all snakes and other reptiles, could legally be refused.

Most airlines have decided to treat ESAs as pets under new DOT standards. As long as customers have the right paperwork, Volaris, Westjet, and Air Canada have continued to accept EES at no additional expense.

Many people who do not have mental disorders have tried to get their animals on planes and pass them off as emotional support animals, with the exception of former allowances for emotional support animals. One of the motivations for the change of the law was this.

Although an airline is no longer required to allow emotional support animals, the same is not true for service dogs, however, it is for miniature service horses.

Emotional support animals Emotional support animal ESA certified


Controversies include the behavior of some animals, the harm done to other people, the problem of widespread cheating, and the scientific investigation into the benefits of emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals may behave differently than trained service animals. For example, due to lack of training, an emotional support animal may bark or sniff at other people, whereas service dogs are trained not to.

People with unique disabilities (invisible disability), such as animal dander allergy, have suffered allergic attacks triggered by emotional support animals.

There is also concern about people who fraudulently acquire emotional support animals despite not being legally considered disabled. According to a survey, Americans generally believe that a majority of emotional support animals meet a legitimate need, but the more experience respondents have with service animals and emotional support animals, the more aware they are of fraud. The prevalence of cheating and the growing popularity of emotional support animals have increased the number of animals in public places where animals are not normally allowed. Several high-profile incidents involving emotional support dogs causing injury to passengers or airline employees on flights have led to new controversies, stricter policies for flights, and a growing movement to institute a national registry and a certification process for service dogs and emotional support animals.

Scientific evidence

Untrained emotional support animals do not appear to provide a significant benefit to persons with mental or emotional disorders, according to research. Interacting with an animal may help some people cope with their emotions, although scientific evidence is scarce and of poor quality. Existing research reveals that the advantage, if there is one, is less than proponents had hoped. Emotional support animals have been demonstrated in a few studies to increase the distress of their owners. Rare creatures, such as hamsters, have never been studied.

There is also evidence that requesting letters of exemption from psychologists or mental health care providers can harm recipients’ therapeutic relationship with these professionals, regardless of the outcome of these requests. Ethically, psychotherapy providers may choose to recommend an emotional support animal to people they treat if it serves a temporary role in a larger treatment plan, but not as a form of permanent symptom palliation. For permanent situations, therapists often refer the client to a neutral, independent psychologist who can determine if the person is disabled and/or would benefit from an emotional support animal. This process is not a careless stamping of the application; the neutral and independent provider must review the client’s records, interview the client, consult with the therapist, and perform any additional tests necessary to determine the extent of the disability and the appropriateness of the referral, and, if necessary, be willing and able to defend the diagnosis and the decision to prescribe the animal in court.


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