Can A Hamster Be An Emotional Support Animal?

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

Can A Hamster Be An Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional support animals are prescribed by a mental health professional to provide emotional support to a person with a disabling mental illness. Owners of emotional support animals (ESA) are not given the same accommodations given to owners of service animals, but certain special consideration is given to them in a number of circumstances.

While service animals are usually dogs, that offers support, and hamsters certainly fall into this category.

If your question is “Can a hamster be an emotional support animal?” The answer is “Absolutely!” Provided you get the proper documentation, you will be able to present your hamster as an ESA, which can expand certain renter's rights.

DoNotPay offers solutions through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product. We can help you contact your landlord about your ESA, inquire from airlines about their accommodation options, and find the most affordable online ESA letter service.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional support animals are more than a pet. They fill a need as a therapeutic source to someone diagnosed with mental or emotional conditions. The emotional connection, affection for the animal, and company they give, assist people who are dealing with and trying to overcome this mental disability.

ESA's are not service animals and are not necessarily dogs. They have not been trained to perform specific tasks and are not given special access to the same things that service animals are, such as public places, retail stores, airlines, etc.

Why Do Hamsters Make Good Emotional Support Animals?

There are a number of reasons that many people find as an emotional support animal.

They are easy to take care of.Unlike some larger animals, they are less expensive to own, require fewer visits to the vet, and don't have to be walked every day. They have small cages which result in small cleanups. Keep them fed and with fresh water, and your hamster will be healthy and happy.
They are portable.If you need your ESA during travel, hamsters take up very little space. They do not bark or act disruptive, and are very unobtrusive.
They are great with kids.Children can easily handle hamsters and learn to care for an animal with little fuss. Children benefiting from an ESA find hamsters easy to take with them.
Hamsters have calming personalities.They are rarely aggressive and are easy and fun to cuddle with, making their calm demeanor contagious.

What Is an ESA letter?

The only way to prove that your pet is an ESA is through an official ESA letter signed by a licensed mental health professional. An ESA letter is a legal document that offers proof that you have an emotional or mental disability and that your ESA is a part of your treatment for the condition. In order for the ESA letter to be accepted, it must contain the following information:

  • It must be on an official letterhead with the name of the licensed mental health professional, the name of the practice, and the phone number.
  • Medical licensing information must be contained, including the type of medical license, date issued and the state of the therapist's jurisdiction.
  • The type of animal
  • The therapist must state that they are currently treating you for a disability recognized in the DSM
  • Date the letter was issued.
  • Some places may require that it is specified that you need the animal to travel, or they may want to know the size and weight of the animal.

Only health care professionals may issue ESA letters. Common conditions ESA's help with include:

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Phobias
  4. PTSD

Can My Landlord Charge a Deposit for an ESA?

No. Landlords, co-ops, or HOA's cannot charge a pet deposit or additional fees for your Emotional Support Animal. They also cannot prohibit you from bringing an ESA to a unit where no pets are allowed. They cannot impose restrictions on size or weight.

How Can I Get an ESA Letter on My Own?

If you are wanting to get your ESA letter on your own, you must ask your mental health professional to prepare one for you. There are many sites online that offer samples of ESA letters. It is fine to print one and take it to your therapist. However, they must prepare their own, and it must be on their letterhead.

Once they agree to prepare your ESA letter, and have given it to you, you must present it to your landlord, HOA, or wherever else is requiring proof of your ESA. Though airlines are not required by law to honor ESA accommodations, some will. Call ahead to find out and determine what, if any, restrictions are imposed.

How Can DoNotPay Help?

Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, and finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service. Just follow these steps.

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.

  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.

  3. Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.

And that's it! Depending on your issue, DoNotPay will generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf, contact the airline agency and get back to you with an answer, or send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.

Southwest, American, and United Airlines used to accept ESAs, and DoNotPay can contact the airline and get back to you with an answer on accommodations for your emotional support animal.

What Other Things Can DoNotPay Help With?

DoNotPay can help you with many of the problems related to your pets, and not just your hamster. Check out our other pet -related products to solve your other pet problems:

  • Report animal abuse
  • Lost and found pets
  • Pet custody agreement
  • Pet licenses

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