About 18.2 percent of adult American’s suffer from an emotional disorder.
Many methods can calm these horrific disorders. Some turn to therapy or medications, but for some, emotional support animals are the key.
If you are one of the few questioning if you qualify for such a service, I will be supplying you with 7 emotional support animal laws you will need to know about.
What Is An Emotional Support Animal?
The first thing you should know is, what qualifies as an ESA.
According to esa dog laws, ESAs are specifically chosen companions to those who are psychologically impaired. These can be any animal and can also be a current pet.
ESAs have a deeply emotional and supportive bond with their owners that sets them apart from service dogs.
Differences Between Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs
There are large differences between ESAs and service dogs.
One way to distinguish between the two is the fact that ESAs are not required by law to wear a vest.
Service dogs perform a service that their owners can not or no longer can perform. They can serve purposes to the blind or even the walking impaired and aren’t really seen as pets.
There are a few more requirements to own a service dog than an ESA. The owner must first be physically impaired to the point where it gets in the way of their daily lives.
The dog must be trained to respond to their owner’s disability so, if the owner is blind, not letting said owner walk out into traffic or into poles.
The dog must not cause public disturbances. No barking during choir concerts.
To own an emotional support animal you must first fill out a questionnaire. After you fill it out a therapist will be in contact with you. If approved, you can have a letter mailed, or emailed to you within 24 hours.
The whole process takes only a short 72 hours and as said above, can be any animal you wish.
Disorders That Qualify
According to emotional support animal laws, there is a wide range of disorders that qualify. They must, however, get in the way of your daily life. Typically a minor fear won’t warrant you obtaining an ESA.
The list of disorders that qualify are:
- Major Fears/Phobias
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Separation Anxiety
- Mood Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Your condition must be diagnosed by a medical professional before obtaining an ESA.
ESAs are sometimes trained to recognize these conditions and should not be confused with regular pets despite the fact that they do become members of your family as regular pets often do.
One burning question you may have after obtaining an ESA is under emotional support animal laws, can my landlord deny me having the animal, or even can my landlord kick me out?
Fair Housing Act
Under FHA laws, housing and apartment complexes that usually have strict pet laws must make reasonable accommodations for residents that own an ESA.
You cannot be denied housing because you own an ESA Just as someone with a Wheelchair cannot be denied housing.
To qualify for FHA you must have documentation and have a diagnosed disability. The landlord
Landlords can’t charge you a deposit or advanced fees for having your animal, however, they can charge you fees later if the animal causes damages.
I’ll give an example. When my husband and I were apartment hunting, we came across a complex that no longer accepts pets.
The reason why the complex no longer accepts pets is that a couple left their dogs to go on vacation for two weeks. During that time frame, the dogs destroyed their two-room apartment.
In a situation such as this, FHA could not protect you and you may have to pay fees for damages.
FHA will not reward you for neglectful or destructive.
In addition, your property owner cannot question your disability nor can they require your animal to wear any kind of identification.
There are very few instances where you can actually be denied under FHA:
- It’s possible to get denied if the building is less than four units and the landlord occupies one
- Private Clubs can deny them
- Its single-family housing being sold or rented without a broker
Now you may be wondering if emotional support animal laws can allow you to take your ESA on a family vacation where you have to fly to get there.
The Air Carrier Access Act
According to the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines can not discriminate against a disabled person.
It is reasonable, however, that they ask for advanced notice before one brings their ESA onboard.
They may also ask for proper certification for you to bring the animal on board. The documentation must be from a medical provider.
Someone owning an ESA isn’t required to sit in any particular place, but they may be asked to move if their animal is large enough to obstruct an aisle.
Under the Air Carrier Access Act, airlines are stripped of the ability to charge an additional fee to a disabled person for accommodating their ESA.
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
The IDEA allows for ESAs and other service dogs to accompany disabled children to school K-12 as long as the administration has been aware and approves it.
This law may differ with some colleges and private schools, however. Make sure to check before arriving with your animal.
Keeping Your Rights In Place
The main, thing you have to keep in mind is never abuse the system. You are being granted a special right.
You have certain responsibilities that need to be upheld. For example, making sure your animal is certified.
You must also consider if your animal is qualified to be an ESA. Granted just because it’s not now, doesn’t mean it can’t become one with some training.
For example, if your animal becomes frightened by people and pees when it’s nervous, it might not be a food fit.
It is not only courteous but also required in most places that your animal be potty trained. To sum this up, your animal will be required to behave in public settings.
Again, emotional support animal laws cannot protect you if you are neglectful or irresponsible.
Concluding on Emotional Support Animal Laws
These are 7 laws to be aware of when considering obtaining an ESA.
If you feel like an ESA would make your life a little easier you can visit www.certapet.com to start your pre-screening process.