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Cute dog at the vet with a happy doctor Emotional-Support-Animal-LawsWhat is an ESA?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that has been prescribed to a patient by a licensed mental health professional. There are very few limitations to which animals qualify to be an emotional support animal. The ESA has to be domesticated, but there are no laws stating that they must be of a certain age, species, or trained in any specific way. ESAs have ranged from dogs and cats to snakes, mini pigs, and mice. Unlike a “service animal,” the ESA’s presence alone is intended to mitigate psychological or emotional disabilities such as anxiety or depression, so its’ behavior is not applicable in a decision to grant registration.

Why Register?

The benefits of registering your ESA far outweigh the costs and time it takes to officially register them because it prevents confrontation with law officers, store owners, landlords, airplane operators and more. The National Animal Service Registry issues registration cards and official wearable symbols to prevent confrontation while taking your ESA with you in public. In regards to air travel, a registered ESA is protected under the Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705 and the Dept. of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382. As long as the ESA is under a certain weight, you may fly with them in the cabin of an aircraft, easing psychological or emotional symptoms without paying a hefty pet fee. You can also qualify to live in no-pet housing depending on the size of your ESA and sometimes species limitations. This ability is protected by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

While wearable ESA registration symbols often reduce questions, public and private entities are not required to allow your ESA on the premises. It is up to property owners to decide rules regarding ESA presence.

To learn more about your rights regarding an emotional support animal, apply for an animal, or register your current pet as an ESA, contact us today. We do not require that your pet accompany you to the appointment.

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