An emotional support animal (ESA) is a service animal for a person with a disability. An ESA can be any animal that provides comfort, assistance, or support to its owner, including a dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, or even a snake. The owner of an ESA must provide it with proper care and attention, just as they would any pet.
While emotional support animals fall under the line of assistance animals, they are not the exact same as others. Service animals, for example, must be individually trained to perform a specific task for the owner, such as helping a blind person navigate, or reminding their owner about their daily medication. In contrast, an ESA does not need to be trained or certified in order to assist their owner. Instead, the owner must meet certain criteria, such as having the kind of disabilities recognized by federal and state laws.
In general, an emotional support animal can comfort their owner by helping them to manage their disability. It can also reduce their owner’s anxiety, as well as provide them with a sense of safety and security. This is particularly helpful for those who have a severe case of anxiety, or those with PTSD. If you tend to have panic attacks when you’re out in public, you may want to consider getting an ESA. However, you’d need to go through a certification process for your pet to be recognized as an emotional support animal.
Understanding Emotional Support Animal Certification in Ohio
Like many other states, Ohio requires you to have an ESA letter as proof that you qualify to become an owner of an ESA. This letter is also known as an emotional support animal certification letter. The signed letter is enough; contrary to popular belief, you would not need to register your emotional support animal anywhere, so long as you have this letter. The letter should confirm that you have a mental disability, and that your animal is providing therapeutic benefit to you.
You can get this letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who will assess your disability and mental health. The LMHP will also check your pet’s temperament, to ensure that it is suitable for being an ESA. Note that you will need to get this letter written by an LMHP who is in the same state as where you live, since the laws may differ depending on the area.
By owning this letter, you will be able to take your emotional support animal to public places. You will also be able to keep your ESA in the cabin or on the plane with you, so long as it is under your control. In general, you can take your ESA anywhere you go, so long as it does not cause a disruption to other passengers.
However, note that your emotional support animal needs to not cause disruptions to other passengers. For example, your emotional support animal should not bark excessively, or be too loud. Certain establishments may also need papers confirming that your pet has been vaccinated and is in a healthy condition to be around others.
KyokoKyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!
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