An emotional support animal is an animal that provides emotional support to a person with a disability. This is different from an emotional support service dog, which is a dog that is trained to perform complex tasks, such as pulling a wheelchair or fetching medication.
Instead, an emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that simply gives comfort to its owner. People who own emotional support animals are usually people with physical disabilities or mental disabilities. The person may be undergoing treatment for their condition, or they may simply have a particular disability that causes them to need a particular type of support animal.
Some common examples of emotional support animals include dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and other animals. They may provide a constant companion, or they may give the owner reprieve from anxiety. If you’re prone to panic attacks in public, you may be able to get an emotional support animal. This type of pet is also common for people who suffer from PTSD.
A person who needs an emotional support animal must have a doctor’s note or diagnosis of a mental or physical disability that requires the presence of an animal. This prevents regular pet owners from taking advantage of the system and claiming that their pet is an emotional support animal when it is not.
Understanding Emotional Support Animal Certification in New Jersey
An emotional support animal needs to be properly certified. In general, this means getting an ESA letter.
An ESA letter is a letter of confirmation from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) that you are eligible to obtain an emotional support animal. It’s important to note that this letter is only for your emotional support animal, and not for any other animals you may have. The screening process will involve the LMHP diagnosing your mental health condition and reviewing your situation.
If you do not have an ESA letter, you cannot take your emotional support animal to a public place. For example, you cannot bring your emotional support animal to work with you, or to a doctor’s office. You may not even be able to take your emotional support animal into certain places that are open to the public. In these cases, the animal must stay in a vehicle or other enclosed area until you reach the appropriate location.
When taking your emotional support animal into a store or restaurant, you may be asked for identification from both the emotional support animal and the owner of the animal. You will need this ESA letter if there is any doubt about your animal’s license. Make sure the letter is still up-to-date, as it is valid for only a year.
Having an ESA letter will ensure you have equal rights as a disabled person to enjoy the services you deserve. With it, you may be able to bypass a housing’s no-pet policy by showing the landlord that you need an emotional support animal living with you. It may also make it easier for you to take your emotional support animal on an airplane, train, or bus.
KimKim 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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