Emotional support animal

Individuals with “psychiatric disability via companionship” benefit from an emotional support animal (ESA). Emotional support animals can be any kind of pet (not just dogs), and they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Training and tasks

Emotional support animals do not require any training. Emotional support animals are often not trained beyond what would be anticipated of a similar sort of animal. emotional support animals are not required to do any activities other than those performed by a pet of the same species, and they may exhibit undesirable behaviours such as defecating or peeing in unsuitable areas, growling and barking at people, or biting them.

Both badly trained emotional support animals and poorly trained pets masquerading as emotional support animals endanger the health, safety, and function of both people and trained service animals.


In order to be eligible for an emotional support animal in the United States, the owner must have an emotional or mental handicap that has been certified by a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other registered mental health care provider. [Citation required] These may be hidden impairments.

The owner’s mental health issue must be severe enough to cause incapacity rather than discomfort or a desire for a pet.

Furthermore, for the provider to certify the animal without deception, the presence of the emotional support animal must provide a sufficient benefit that makes the difference between the person functioning properly and not functioning adequately.

ESA letters

An emotional support animal letter, also known as an ESA letter, is a document that allows individuals to be accompanied by a support animal in situations where dogs are not permitted, such as rental accommodation. A psychologist, psychiatrist, competent mental health professional, or physician must write the letter. An ESA letter does not have to be issued by the recipient’s primary care physician. Some doctors may send patients seeking an ESA to psychologists or other experts.

According to US Department of Transportation regulations, the doctor or mental health practitioner who writes the letter must be presently treating the passenger.  Airlines are not required to accept certificates or letters older than one year, and they may insist that the certification be presented on the letterhead of a qualified mental health practitioner or doctor who is directly treating the passenger’s mental or emotional condition.

It is unclear if these requirements still apply when receiving ESAs following the most recent amendment.

Multiple emotional support animals

While no law examples appear to address the subject of several emotional support animals. The essential standards for this accommodation would be the same. As a result, if a person with a handicap claimed to require many emotional support animals, he or she would need proof from a psychologist or esa certified healthcare expert to back up this claim. The practitioner would be required to show confirmation that each support animal improved some impairment symptom.


Some individuals have misrepresented their dogs as ESAs in order to avoid extra charges. Such as paying damage deposits for pets in a rental apartment or extra baggage fees for transporting an animal on a flight. This was one of the factors that drove the Air Carrier Access Act to be revised in December 2020.

It is a criminal in various US jurisdictions to provide a letter, registration, or certificate to someone who is not disabled. Making false claims that their animal is an aid animal or that they are a handler training an assistance animal has become a criminal misdemeanor in several places.

US legislation

People with mental impairments have legal protection against housing discrimination in the United States. Under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. People with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation. Such as a waiver of a “no pets policy,” for any service animal. A landlord cannot, in general, discriminate against someone with a handicap in housing.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, adopted in 1973, makes discrimination against handicapped people unlawful. In 1988, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued rules under the legislation. This means that public housing authorities cannot refuse accommodation to a disabled individual purely because of his or her condition.

If a reasonable accommodation can be provided to make housing available to a handicapped person. The landlord is compelled to make the accommodation. Courts have repeatedly concluded that a tenant requesting an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation must establish a link between his or her capacity to function and the company of the animal.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California decided Janush v. Charities Housing Development Corp (N.D. Ca., 2000). The US Northern District Court of California concluded in Janush v. Charities Housing Development Corp (N.D. Ca., 2000) that reasonable accommodation is a fact-based, rather than a species-based, problem.

Fair Housing Act Amendments

The requirements of the Fair Housing Act apply to both public and private housing agencies. The FHAA, like Section 504, compels landlords to offer reasonable accommodations for disabled renters. The legislation is administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The renter has a mental handicap, which is the first ingredient of an FHAA housing discrimination lawsuit. The second criterion, that the landlord was aware of or should have been aware of the handicap. The lays an affirmative responsibility on the tenant to request the reasonable accommodation.

This might involve a “no pets” policy being waived for an emotional support animal. The Fair Housing Act applies to both multi-family detached residences and single-family detached homes. Actual and punitive damages may be given to a renter.

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