Are Emotional Support Animals Different from Pets?
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are classified as animals with various therapeutic benefits to the owners. The support animals may include dogs, cats, peacocks, turkeys, or monkeys. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) does not define the ESAs according to the animals’ breed or species.
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The ESAs differ from ordinary pets. If you have an underlying mental disability such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or anxiety, you are eligible to have the support animals. Research shows that animals offer emotional support and help alleviate the different aspects of mental disability.
What is the difference between ESAs and Service Animals?
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends the acquisition of service animals for people with specific disabilities. The service animals undergo intense training to be competent in performing various tasks. The service animal’s role is to make the life of a person with a disability easier.
The ESAs are quite different from the service animals. The ESAs are not trained to perform any tasks. Their leading role is to offer emotional support, especially in times of crisis. The ESAs are diverse, and you have the freedom to select from numerous animals. For the service animals, the ADA recommends the use of dogs.
How do ESAs Differ from Pets?
ESAs Help in Combating of Mental Disorders
The therapeutic benefit of an ESA is obtained by merely spending time together. If you are suffering from depression, companionship with a support animal helps give you a sense of living. The support animals also assist in the alleviation of anxiety levels for PTSD patients. Emotional connectivity is beneficial to reduce stress levels and regain a state of calmness.
ESAs Accompany You Everywhere
An ESA is your companion in every destination. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and ACAA demand that you obtain an ESA letter for your support animal. The documentation gives you the authority to live and travel with your animal. It also exempts you from housing and airline laws that restrict living or boarding with your pets.
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The ESA will spend a significant amount of time with you. The support animal will make your working or living environment conducive for you. Most of the support animals will welcome you to your home, sleep with you, or play with you. The animal will provide the security and comfort that you require in your life.
Landlords Allow ESAs
Most landlords and housing agents set up policies that restrict their tenants from living with pets. For those that allow pets, they demand upfront payment of pet fee. However, the Fair Housing Act has put up policies that allow tenants to live with their support animals. The Act further authorizes landlords and housing agents to provide accommodations for tenants to live with their ESAs.
You must present an ESA letter to the landlord to allow you to live with your support animal. The letter must be valid from a practitioner licensed by the Federal Government in the US. Failure to submit an authentic letter, the landlord has the authority to reject your support animal or demand payment of extra charges.
You Can Access Public Areas with an ESA
Some public institutions have policies that restrict the entry of pets. However, for the ESAs, you can gain access to public areas with your animal. However, you need to provide your ESA letter as evidence that you require the animal for emotional support.
The ACCA allows an emotional support animal on various airlines; you can fly with your animal in an airplane cabin in the US. However, there is a restriction on the type of animals in an airplane. Animals such as snakes or rodents may endanger other passengers’ lives, and ACCA prohibits such animals.
The ACCA also demands the presence of a valid ESA letter before boarding a plane. A valid letter needs to be less than one year old from the issuance date and should be from a licensed provider. The airlines might require verifying the authenticity of the letter by contacting your provider.
You may also need to offer assurance that your support animal will behave appropriately on the plane and not be a nuisance to other passengers. All airlines in the US offer the accommodation of ESAs free of charge for their passengers.
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Contact ESA Care for Advice
If you have an underlying mental condition, find a support animal that will offer companionship and comfort. ESA Care will help acquire a good ESA and help acquire a valid ESA letter. Please don’t suffer in silence; we at ESA Care will help in your recovery journey and ensure you obtain the best therapeutic benefit from a support animal.
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