Emotional Support Animal Government

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 12/01/22 •  3 min read
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Emotional Support Animal Government

An emotional support animal is an animal that provides comfort and emotional support to the individual with a mental health disorder. While this is not a new classification, it has recently gained popularity as more individuals seek to integrate these animals into their lives.

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These animals do not provide therapeutic benefits; rather, they simply provide the emotional support that their owners require. Animals that help people with their feelings aren’t the equivalent to service animals, but they are protected by the law. However, there is no required specific type of dog for an ESA; any animal can qualify for this classification.

How to make your ESA’s protected by the law

It is possible to get a valid ESA for someone who is mentally or emotionally disabled by getting a letter that shows that the animal is an approved ESA. Your dog or cat may be functioning as an ESA. You will not be able to use the ESA rights that are granted to owners of certified animals unless you have a therapist approve the use of an ESA. A therapist can use an EDA if he or she believes that one of the ESAs will aid you with a disability or when you have a severe illness.

ESA owners are protected by laws that ensure that their information is protected, including information that may be sensitive. Landlords are not allowed to request specific details regarding an ESA owner’s condition, and they cannot ask for medical records or a medical examination. ESA disabled owners are entitled to keep private all the information that they have about them.

How does the law apply in the United States?

In the United States, the Fair House Act says that housing providers and landlords can’t discriminate against an individual based on their disability. Even if a landlord has a rule against pets on the premises, they must provide reasonable accommodation and allow your service animals or emotional support animals in the home.

How long is the ESA letter valid?

ESA letter recommendations are normally good for a year after they are issued. It is recommended that ESA recommendations for housing be renewed every year if they are older. Likewise, it is illegal to try to get a therapist to accept an ESSA letter that is older than one year and do nothing to support it if there is no evaluation and/or a letter from an independent agency that justifies the request. It can be difficult for a therapist to validate an ESA recommendation if there is no more recent evaluation and letter on file. It can be difficult for a therapist to validate an ESA recommendation if the ESA letter is not valid.

Emotional support animals are welcome in almost all housing arrangements, regardless if someone is purchasing or letting a house or if the landlord is unwilling to allow that person to live with them. It also relates to people who have service animals, tracking animals, psychiatric support animals or other animals that help people to stay calm and manage their emotions.

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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