The need for Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) has increased exponentially in recent years. An emotional support animal is a pet that provides therapeutic benefit to a person with certain conditions, such as a disability. The benefits of an ESA can include improving the quality of life for those with mental disabilities, anxiety, and depression. Emotional support animals help to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities as well. ESAs are used by a growing number of people every day.
ESAs are often referred to as “service animals”, but the two terms are not interchangeable. A service animal is a dog or other animal that has been trained to perform a specific task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. An emotional support animal provides comfort and companionship without performing tasks that assist an individual with disabilities.
This type of animal is considered to be therapeutic and emotional support animals do not need any formal training or certification, or identification. However, they do need to have their status as an ESA confirmed by way of an ESA letter.
What is an ESA Letter?
People with disabilities may qualify for an ESA if they can prove that their animal provides them with therapeutic benefit. In most cases, this means providing a letter from a doctor or other medical professional stating that the person needs the animal for therapeutic purposes. However, a letter from a mental health professional may also be acceptable in some cases. Emotional support animals are partially covered under Federal law as well as under several state laws.
So why does this letter matter? Well, without a letter from a medical professional or mental health professional, an ESA may not be recognized as one and therefore won’t be able to enjoy the benefits and perks that an ESA gets. For example, they may be denied access in certain places.
This is because there has been a trend of pet owners pretending to have an ESA, or not having the proper documentation, in order to get the pet into a place where they can’t be. For example, the owner may pretend to have an ESA in order to be able to bring their pet into a restaurant. Or, the owner may pretend to have an ESA in order to be able to take their pet on a plane or other public transportation system.
So, you’d need to apply for an ESA letter. Thankfully, the process is not complicated.
How to Get an ESA Letter
In short, this involves you speaking with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and then having them draft a statement letter for you. They will take a look at your condition and decide if you qualify for an ESA. Then, they will draft a letter for you that you can use to apply for an ESA letter.
The process can be done over the phone, or in person. However, it is better to do it in person because the LMHP can see if you are telling the truth and not just faking your condition. You will then need to take the letter with you while you’re out with your ESA. Some places will demand to see your ESA letter before they will allow you to take your ESA along.
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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