Emotional support animals provide comfort and support by providing their owners/handlers who suffer from various emotional and mental conditions with constant companionship and affection. An emotional support animal is not required to carry out specific tasks for a mentally disabled person, unlike a service animal. They are merely meant for unconditional love and emotional stability.
An increasing number of mental health professionals are prescribing their patients an emotional support animal because these pets have so much to offer to an emotionally disturbed person. They can typically assist with conditions like depression, stress, anxiety, mood disorder/bipolar disorder, fears/phobias, panic attacks, and other emotional and psychological conditions.
There are different laws when it comes to emotional support animals, the most important of which is the housing law. ESAs are legally permitted to housing rights, regardless of the property owner’s policy concerning pets. However, it is different when it comes to other no-dog spaces like hotels, hostels, restaurants and other no-pets business spots.
Because emotional support animals are not trained to perform specific jobs or tasks for a person and are just there for comfort, they are not permitted in anti-pet places. In case you need your emotional support animal in one of these places, you will have to ask the owner, and they have the option to turn you down.
As stated above, ESAs are not legally allowed in hotels if the owner has a problem with pets. However, most hotels are compassionate and understanding and will likely help a person in need. Other hotels are actually pet-friendly where a person with an ESA will have no problem going. Hotels and motels do not fall under The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) since they offer a temporary place for lodging and therefore it becomes necessary to choose a hotel that is pet-friendly in order to avoid last-minute hassle and embarrassment.
Some hotels might charge you an additional pet fee while others will not. It will all depend on the hotel’s policy. It is easy to find a pet-friendly hotel today as an increasing number of public places are beginning to accept the role of emotional support for an individual. You can easily look up ‘pet-friendly hotels near me’ and will find a list of places that will entertain your little friend.
It is important register your pet as an ESA to avoid legal problems. In order to do that, you must get a verified letter from your doctor stating that you have indeed been diagnosed with a mental disability and that an emotional support animal will be of benefit to your mental health. The letter can also state you need your ESA with you for air travel or any other activity at your destination. Remember that only cats and dogs are fully protected as ESAs, and airlines may choose to forbid other animals from flying, even in presence of a letter.
The letter should contain full information including license details, issuing state, date of your mental health professional in case the airlines, your landlord or any other party needs confirmation. Keep in mind that a letter is valid for a year, after which you have to update it. Avoid using online sites that promise an ESA certification as a majority of them are scams and untrustworthy. Also note that you do not require a badge or vest for your emotional support animal and a badge or vest does not in any way make an ESA valid.