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Our team of client support experts are happy to speak with you about your emotional support animal letter needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, any well-behaved dog or cat. No special training is required. But proper socialization is expected wherever you go with your ESA. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Air Carrier Access Act, and Fair Housing Act, your emotional support animal (ESA) does NOT need any specific training, but it must be manageable in public and controlled by you, its handler.
Note: While the law does not exclude any specific species from qualifying as ESAs, in reality, commonsense will prevail. For example, while there may not be any written exclusions, if a travel passenger presents with an ESA letter desiring to be accompanied in an aircraft cabin by a sheep as their ESA, the airlines will in all likelihood require the animal to be crated and travel in “cargo;” and that is if space allows. Usually animals bigger than a mid to (smaller in height) large dog are required to travel on separate cargo planes. Similarly, a landlord would most likely defend themselves successfully in a lawsuit based on their rejection of a tenant with an exotic, dangerous or very large animal as an ESA.
To legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA), you must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional. Qualified clients will receive a properly formatted recommendation letter.
The letter should state that:
- You are currently his/her patient
- Are under his/her care for the treatment of mental disability found in the DSM IV or V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 or 5).
- Your disability substantially limits at least one major life activity
- He/she recommends for you an emotional support animal as a necessary treatment for your mental health.
- In addition, the letter must be dated, written on his/her letterhead, include his/her license type, number, date of license, and state in which the license was issued.
Sure they can write you a letter they claim will “last a lifetime,” but many airlines and housing entities will only honor recommendation letters written within the last year. After that, they can, and very often will, require you to provide an updated letter. You don’t want to find that out when you arrive at the airport to catch a flight! At ESAD, we make the protocol as simple and seamless as possible, we can even provide you with a reminder(s) as you get close to your renewal date.
However, it is HIGHLY recommended you check the ESA policies of each airline you intend to travel on, as they have different requirements as to check-in, carriers, etc., and other useful information. Airlines and other entities will make every effort to work with you; it is your responsibility as an ESA owner to make an effort to work within their parameters if you can as this creates a smoother, better experience for all.
Federal Law does not recognize an “official emotional support animal registry.” Additionally, ESAs are not required to be registered anywhere!
Those services offering “ESA registry” are out for your money by selling fake certificates, shiny ID cards, and dog tags.