ESA Letter - Emotional Support Animal Letter - How They Work
ESA stands for emotional support animal and is a term given to those animals that go from pet to 'service animal' through the assistance they give anyone that uses them for emotional comfort. There is a difference between true service dogs and ESA's. In order for an emotional support animal to be qualified you need to get an ESA letter, which is prescribed by a doctor or psychologist. This letter acts as the only legal source of protection for your pet as an emotional support animal. Simply getting your pet 'registered' in a database, getting a service vest, or ID just helps identify your ESA, but it provides no LEGAL support. Getting an ESA letter from a doctor is critical to ensure federal protection for housing, travel, and ESA recognition in the law. Most anyone can qualify to get an ESA letter, as the main prerequisite is getting comfort from the animal. This can include people that suffer from depression, anxiety, fear of flying, cognitive decline, etc. Unlike service dogs that assist with the blind or specific physical ailments, emotional support animals can be prescribed for a wide variety of psychological conditions. Any animal can also qualify for an ESA letter, whether it is dog, cat, bird, or even squirrel. There are no federal limitations on which species can qualify as an ESA. There are many advantages to getting your pet an ESA letter as outlined below.
- Since an ESA is a service animal and not a 'pet, you can rent in 'no pet' housing facilities.
- No pet deposit can be charged for an emotional support animal.
- Free airline travel for ESA's, saving $150 or so per flight.
- No limitations on the size of an emotional support animal, for example some rental properties limit the size of dogs.
- Travel within the cabin of an airplane, instead of storage below in a travel crate.
- Free access to cruise ships, taxis,trains, etc.