Many people own emotional support animals or ESA’s. These animals provide emotional support to people with a variety of conditions, including mental disabilities, autism, and PTSD. In some cases, an ESA is used to assist with the effects of a person’s mental disability.
People who have been diagnosed with mental disabilities may have an emotional support animal (ESA). The ESA can be any kind of animal that provides comfort to the owner when they are having trouble coping with everyday life or an anxiety disorder. This could include any species that is trained to provide comfort and companionship, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and more.
Many confuse ESAs with service animals, but a service animal is trained to perform a specific task for the person who has a disability. For example, a service dog may alert its owner to the onset of seizures or alert the owner when it needs to relieve itself. The emotional support animal, in contrast, provides comfort and companionship. They do not need to go through rigorous training to be recognized as one.
Are Badges Mandatory for Your ESA?
If you have an ESA, you may be wondering if you need a special identification badge. A badge is a piece of identification, like a pass or driver’s license, that indicates the owner has an emotional support animal. So, is it necessary to have badges or other pieces of identifying gear for your emotional support animal?
The simple answer is no. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require that a person with an ESA have a badge or other form of identification to be considered an ESA owner.
Of course, you can still get badges and ID cards for your ESA if you want them. You can also make them wear some type of harness or vest. This is not mandatory by law, but they can save you from having to provide a lengthy explanation every time someone asks about your emotional support animal.
However, many states do require some form of identification for service animals, especially in areas such as airlines and housing. Some way of confirming your emotional support animal’s status is needed so that no regular pet owner can lie and claim that their regular pet is an ESA just to take advantage of perks. Thankfully, this identification process is not complicated. Unlike service animals, emotional support animals are not required to go through extensive training or get certified. Instead, all you need is an ESA letter.
What to Know About an ESA Letter
An ESA letter is a document from a licensed mental health professional that confirms that you have an emotional support animal. You will need to provide proof of your disability and need for an emotional support animal for your ESA to be legally recognized as one.
In order to get an ESA letter, you must be referred by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who specializes in the treatment of psychiatric disabilities. Your doctor will need to confirm your diagnosis and explain why you need the emotional support animal. They will also explain how the emotional support animal helps you cope with your disability.
JulieJulie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.
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