Emotional support animals (ESAs) are defined as a dog or miniature horse, among other animals that provides comfort and support to individuals with psychiatric or medical conditions. An emotional support animal is prescribed with the purpose of helping individuals with certain disabilities, such as individuals who are experiencing extreme anxiety or depression.
An emotional support animal is one type of assistance animal, but they are not universally the same. Many tend to confuse them with service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. In contrast, an emotional support animal is not trained to perform a specific task, but rather is prescribed for the individual’s own personal benefit and comfort.
Even so, having your pet qualify as an emotional support animal grants you and them many perks. It will be much easier to travel with your ESA. You can bring them on planes, buses, and trains without any trouble. You will also be able to visit places that normally do not allow pets, such as restaurants and hotels. You may also be permitted to keep it in your accommodations without being charged extra.
However, qualifying your pet as an ESA is not easy. You must have a licensed professional’s prescription, so you will need to see a doctor and get your ESA certification. Additionally, you will need to meet the specific guidelines of certain state and federal laws.
Understanding Emotional Support Animal Certification in Louisiana
A person who owns an emotional support animal is required to follow certain guidelines. First, you must make sure that your ESA is registered and acknowledged via an ESA letter. You need to go through a screening process with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and be approved for a support animal.
Not every disability qualifies an ESA. You will need to prove that your animal provides therapeutic benefits for you, so it is necessary to make sure that you have been properly diagnosed. Generally, you only qualify if your disability gets in the way of you functioning normally, such as if you have PTSD. Your disabilities will likely be detailed in your ESA letter.
Furthermore, your ESA letter needs to be up-to-date to be considered valid. Make sure it is under a year old and that it has been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional in the same state. You will also need to keep it on you at all times. If you lose it, your ESA certification will be invalidated.
Based on the Louisiana laws, public spaces cannot ask probing details about your support animal’s training or certification. However, in some areas, this rule is mostly extended for service animals and not necessarily emotional support animals. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always keep your ESA letter with you, so you can show it to anyone who questions your pet’s certification.
In addition, others may deny you entry if your support animal is causing distress. For example, although a landlord is not permitted to charge you extra fees for letting your emotional support animal stay in your accommodations, they are allowed to give you a ten-day notice to vacate your premises if your animal causes allergic reactions for other tenants, or if they’re particularly aggressive.
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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