Emotional Support Animal Expiration
Many people have adopted emotional support animals (ESAs) to help them with a variety of conditions. ESAs are often referred to as “comfort animals” and they provide comfort, affection, and relief to their owners. For example, ESAs may be used by people with anxiety or depression to help them cope with their symptoms.
There are lots of benefits to using an ESA. They can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. For some people, ESAs are a vital part of their daily lives. They’re also easy to get. In some cases, it’s possible for someone to use an ESA without ever getting proper training or certification.
However, the ADA does require that owners of ESAs provide some type of documentation verifying that the animal is needed for an owner’s disability. It is therefore impossible for owners to own an ESA without an ESA letter signed by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) affirming the owner’s need.
Why You Need an ESA Letter
An ESA letter is required to obtain an ESA. It is important for you to understand that if you do not have an ESA letter, you cannot use your pet as an assistance animal. An ESA letter is issued by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who has determined that the animal provides a benefit to the owner’s disability.
It is the LMHP’s responsibility to determine whether or not an animal qualifies as an ESA. The LMHP must be licensed in the state where they practice and provide evidence of this license with their ESA letter. This letter can only be written once the patient has gone through a screen test and affirmed that their condition requires them to own an emotional support animal.
Once you have this letter, you can then take your ESA to a public place with other people, such as restaurants, stores, and hotels. Some business owners may request to see your ESA letter and will ask you to leave if they are not provided with this documentation.
Does an ESA Letter Expire?
Some people may ask whether an ESA letter expires after some time. The answer is yes. Specifically, an ESA letter only remains valid for twelve months. It is the responsibility of the owner to renew their ESA letter annually. If an owner does not renew their ESA letter, it will expire and they will not be able to have their pet validated as an emotional support animal.
Is the original LMHP that wrote your previous ESA letter no longer practicing? If so, you don’t need to worry. There are other licensed mental health professionals that are qualified to write ESA letters. If you find that your previous LMHP is no longer practicing, you can always request a new ESA letter from another LMHP.
If your ESA letter has expired, you may still be able to bring your ESA in some circumstances. However, if a landlord or an airline employee requests to see your ESA letter, you will need to provide it. Letters that are over a year old will usually be rejected.