Emotional support animals are increasingly being seen as a good method of therapy, on top of other solutions. These pets can help improve the quality of life for those who are dealing with mental illness or physical conditions. In particular, they are highly valuable for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, you may be wondering if it is really free to register an emotional support animal. In this article, we will be exploring the laws that govern the registration of emotional support animals.
Knowing the Difference Between Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals
An emotional support animal is not the same as a service animal. In general, a service animal helps its handler perform everyday tasks, while an emotional support animal provides comfort and companionship. Service animals are specifically trained to perform tasks that assist their handler with their disability.
For example, they may be trained to help their handler by alerting them to medical problems or reminding them of medications. On the other hand, an emotional support animal can be any pet that a person chooses to bring into their home or place of business. This pet provides no specific assistance but simply gives comfort and companionship to its owner.
Knowing the difference between the two is crucial, since they come with different rules and regulations. Service animals, for one, need to go through a thorough training process to be certified as one. Their registration process is equally rigorous. But do emotional support animals require the same?
Do You Need to Register an Emotional Support Animal?
The quick answer is no. Contrary to popular belief, the ADA does not require you to register an emotional support animal. It is also completely unnecessary to pay any fees for the registration of an emotional support animal, since it is not needed.
Instead, the law simply states that you must have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that you need the animal to assist with your disability. This letter is obtained from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who has prescribed you of needing an emotional support animal to help your condition.
Can You Get an ESA Letter for Free?
While you don’t need to pull out your wallet for a registration, you may be wondering if you can get an ESA letter for free. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, since you would need to pay your chosen LMHP a certain fee for providing you with the ESA letter.
There are many sites out there that claim they can give you an ESA letter for free. But beware! Most, if not all, of these sites are scams. Practice caution, since many of these sites are not reliable, and they do not give you the ESA letter that you need.
This is why it is important to always get your ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They will give you the ESA letter that you need at an affordable cost. They will also provide you with any other documentation required by the state. If they are unable to do so, then they will refer you to another LMHP who can.