Emotional Support Animals: A Brief Overview
Pet animals have been known to have therapeutic effects upon their human companions, as they have been known to reduce stress, blood pressure, release oxytocins, and more. This has helped pets take important roles in helping people with emotional and mental difficulties cope with their troubles. This has established them in various roles such as therapy animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in which they with their presence alone help people feel good and reduce their stress.
How to get an ESA pet?
With an emotional support animal letter (ESA letter) you can have your pet as your ESA. Only a licensed mental health specialist is authorized to grant you permission to have an ESA. The ESA Letter will be given to you only after several sessions in which the specialist will judge and check your mental health condition, and only upon finding a mental health problem or illness you will be granted the ESA letter.
You can do this either online or in person. The online process prompts you to fill several questionnaires and have online assessments, while the in-person will require you to sit through one on one sessions.
You should know that there is no ESA registration or licensing, and those who provide services under the pretext are frauds and are only after your money.
Laws surrounding the ESA
The laws set by the Federal Law for the provision of those with disabilities are many and of those two specifically apply for ESAs and their companions. The laws are placed to ensure that everything possible is done to allow people with mental difficulties to feel normal and live a normal life.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act states that people who are authorized to keep an ESA through an ESA Letter are allowed to occupy the rental space with their pet, whether it’s an apartment, a house, or any other living space. The house owner cannot deny the entry of the pet under the unlawful ‘no pet’ policies, not can s/he ask for any extra pet fees or any pet deposit. In some cases, this can extend into college dorms and classrooms.
Airline Carrier Access Act(ACAA)
The ACAA allows the ESAs and their companions to travel by air with their pet animal beside them inside the passenger cabin. To allow for this the ESA handler should have the ESA letter with him/her while boarding the plane. Moreover, under the law, the ESA pets are not allowed to be charged by the Airline Carriers.
Common sense should prevail when wanting to board your ESA on board: you should consider its size, type, and behavior. This is so that your ESA won’t be a nuisance mid-air to those around you and eventually you. The Airline Carrier reserves the right to kick you off of the plane if the ESA is deemed a danger and a nuisance to the crew and the passengers.
Responsibilities of ESA pet handlers
The ESA pet handles or parents have various duties regarding the ESAs. First of all, they should properly train their ESAs to be obedient at all times and teach their ESAs to be comfortable at socializing. You can take the initiative and have your pet animal professionally trained and have the certificate with you to show as proof of your pet’s good behavior to your property owners and the airline carriers.
You should also keep your emotional support dog letter with you at all times during the travels and should also renew the ESA letter yearly, which is crucial for your travel by air.
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