In your Home or in the Air – Emotional Support Animals are There for You
E motional Support Animals (ESAs) provide therapeutic benefit to a person with a physical or mental disability. There are advantages and disadvantages to ESAs over Service Animals. Under U.S. law Emotional Support Animals do not require special training. Their mere presence is the benefit they provide to the person they are with. Emotional Support Animals may be pets other than dogs such as cats or birds. These special animals have the right to travel with you and live anywhere without additional fees. There are two laws that give special privileges to ESAs and their owners:
The Air Carrier Access ActThis act allows you and your Emotional Support Animal to fly in the cabin beside you without fees regardless of their size.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 USC 3601, et seq.)This prevents landlords and home owner associations from restricting your Emotional Support Animal from living with you. They are also not allowed to access special pet fees on you because of your pet.
The disadvantages of ESAs are that they have limited laws that protect their use and freedom. You must have a letter not more than a year old from your physician or mental health professional stating that your condition requires the presence of your pet. ESAs are not granted unlimited access like Service Dogs are. You can not take an emotional support animal into a public place where other animals are not allowed.
Like Service Dogs Emotional Support Animals do not require any registration or certification. Any business implying that your ESA requires either is simply trying to provide a worthless service in exchange for your money. That being said Emotional Support Animals that are properly identified are not likely to be confused as just pets when traveling.