Emotional Support Animals are special type of animals that are not pets and are used to give emotional support to their owners. ESAs are different than service animals and do not require any special training to be qualified for the 'job'.
They just need to be well mannered and disciplined and able to provide comfort to their handlers. People suffering from stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD often benefit from these types of animals.
To live and travel with them, people need to have ESA prescription letter, or emotional support dog letter in case you want a dog as your ESA, that states their condition and need for the animal. However, there are many misconceptions about the letter.
Below, we have discussed some of them.
1. It is Different than a Service Animal Permission Document
An ESA prescription letter is also known as emotional support animal letter. It is different than the one that you need for a service animal. A service animal is trained to perform a certain task while an emotional support animal provides emotional support and comfort to the inflicted.
2. It must be Written by a Professional Mental Health Expert
The letter must be written by a mental health professional who is licensed to practice in your state. You can either get the letter in person or from an online source but in both the cases, the letter must be genuine and legally sound. It states your condition and need for an ESA.
3. It needs Annual Renewal
The letter is valid for a year and you must renew it if you want to keep availing the benefits. ESA owners are eligible to live and travel with their animals for free. Since they are not pets, the owners do not pay any pet fee or additional charges for them. However, they could be charged for the damages that are caused by their pets.
4. Everyone does Not Qualify for an ESA
You need to qualify to get an ESA and not everyone is qualified for it. The process is somewhat time consuming, even more now that people have started to misuse the law. A mental health professional will check you and see if you need an ESA. He will write the letter after he is sure that an ESA will help in bettering your condition.
5. There are Fake ESA Letters Also
There is an influx of fake ESA letters that could land you in trouble. Landlords, restaurant and airport officials know how to recognize a genuine letter. A genuine ESA letter will have your complete name and address, details about your condition, reasons why you need an ESA, the doctor's complete details, license number, place of practice and signature. Besides, the letter is written on the doctor's official letterhead.
An ESA letter sample is necessary to live and travel with an emotional support animal but you need to be diligent to get a genuine letter.
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