Emotional support animals are animals that are used to help individuals with disabilities. They provide a service similar to that of therapy dogs and other assistance animals. Emotional support animals are a legal accommodation for individuals with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also allows assistance animals in housing and transportation.
However, emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Examples of service animals include guide dogs, hearing dogs, and seizure alert dogs.
An emotional support animal, in contrast, is any dog or other animal (including but not limited to a bird, reptile, or amphibian) that provides emotional support and therapeutic benefits to an individual with a disability. For example, those with PTSD or severe anxiety may experience benefits from the presence of an emotional support animal. Such a pet can help them to feel more comfortable and less anxious.
However, your emotional support animal must be properly certified to be recognized by the state. This is an important distinction, as an un-certified emotional support animal may not be granted all the existing perks that a certified one can have.
Understanding Emotional Support Animal Certification in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has very specific rules and regulations for the certification of emotional support animals. These rules are meant to make sure that the owner is someone who actually needs an emotional support animal, and not just someone who wants to take advantage of the current laws.
First, you must obtain a written statement from your doctor or any licensed mental health professional (LMHP) stating that you have a disability and that the animal will help you with it. The LMHP must prescribe that an emotional support animal can act as a calming presence for you during times of stress. Keep in mind that you will need this ESA letter from an LMHP who works in the same state as you live. Furthermore, an ESA letter only remains valid for one year after it is first issued.
Once you have this letter, your pet will be considered as an emotional support pet. This means you’ll be granted the right to live with an emotional support animal, as well as take your animal to most public places. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the New Hampshire Human Rights laws (RSA 354-A), for example, you can bring your ESA to your living accommodations even if the premises incorporate a no-pet housing rule.
However, some exceptions may be made. In general, you need to make sure your pet can refrain from making a mess and is comfortable in its surroundings. Animals who are particularly disruptive may still be asked to leave the premises. You may also be required to provide additional documents, such as proof that your pet has been vaccinated and proof of your diagnosis.
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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