Can Emotional Support Animals Go Anywhere?

Emotional Support Animal Can Emotional Support Animals Go Anywhere?

Can Emotional Support Animals Go Anywhere?

Emotional support animals are excellent companions for people suffering from different forms of mental health disabilities. ESA owners don't quite get the same treatment as service animal owners, particularly regarding where they are allowed to take them. So, that inspires the big question; can emotional support animals go anywhere?

Well, not really. Most premises and locations don't allow pets. And to make yours stand out as an ESA for special considerations, there's a condition to meet. You'll need to acquire an official ESA letter from a licensed mental wellness practitioner. However, getting the letter may prove hectic, and handling ESA-related issues might be no different. But don't fret though – DoNotPay can help!

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is a domestic pet, e.g., a cat, dog, fish, bird, turtle, or rodent, that offers emotional stability and comfort to a person diagnosed with mental health issues. Or in other terms, conditions such as learning disorders, phobias, depression, PTSD, and severe anxiety.

Not to mistake an ESA as a service animal, the table below outlines the differences between an emotional support animal vs a service animal:

ESAService Animal
DefinitionA pet, whose presence is determined to be needed for the mental health of a patient. The pet is prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness.According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are dogs that are trained to perform tasks or do work for people with disabilities.
Does the assistance animal have access to public areas?NoYes
Is the animal allowed on flights free of charge?NoYes
Will the owner of the animal be charged a pet deposit for living with one?NoNo
Can the animal be banned or restricted when the owner is obtaining housing?NoNo

What Is an ESA letter?

An ESA letter is a document that allows individuals to have the company of an emotional support animal in settings that may not permit pets through official means. For example, rental housing. The letter can only be legitimate if issued by a qualified and licensed mental health physician, preferably the one handling the recipient's mental condition.

See that the following information is present in your ESA letter:

  • Letter's issue date
  • Mental health physician's license number
  • Physician's contact details
  • License expiry date

Where Can You Take an Emotional Support Animal?

While normal pets may not enjoy access rights in no-pet zones, your emotional support animal just might. Typically, such places include inside airplanes and apartments, each having specific provisions regarding ESAs. Emotional support animals can’t go everywhere, but they do have some extra access than traditional pets.

1. Airplanes

A while back, the Air Carrier Access Act allowed passengers to bring along their ESAs on the airplane. But that's only if they adhered to the provided instructions. And often, most airlines don't charge extra fees for flying alongside support animals, regardless of their size.

However, that has changed. The Department of Transportation came forward in December 2020 to announce that they no longer consider ESAs as service animals. For that reason, most U.S. airlines don't currently permit emotional support animals onboard. Airlines like United and Southwest have recently changed their policies to restrict ESAs from cabin access, but many do still allow them as carry-on pets for a fee.

2. Apartments

As per the Fair Housing Act provisions, a sincere ESA can live in a "no-pets" apartment or dorm as an exception. There have been scenarios that saw schools incur penalties under the Fair Housing Act for failing to comply.

However, students must note that different colleges and universities have specific and unique requirements concerning ESA requests. It's wise to consult the school about having ESAs in campus housing and dorms. 

How Can You Address ESA-Related Issues by Yourself?

Again, you'll need to get an ESA letter as proof of your pet qualifying as an emotional support animal. And the letter must be from a licensed mental health physician. However, service animals don't require any proof.

Assuming you have a personal mental health physician, acquiring an ESA letter is quite easy. You could book an appointment with them and have them provide you with one. Otherwise, you can consider contacting a certified mental health practitioner and scheduling an online appointment with them. They may require a few days to prepare, sign, and issue you the ESA letter.

Even so, handling ESA-related issues may prove hectic and time-consuming for you, given the protocols involved. And also, finding an affordable yet reliable ESA-letter service is not that straightforward.

How DoNotPay Can Help

Using DoNotPay's Service and Emotional Support Animals product, you can address any ESA-related concerns. In other words, DoNotPay can help you find a reasonably priced ESA-letter service, inquire about airline accommodation options, and contact your housing provider about your ESA.

What to Do:

  1. Type "service animal" on DoNotPay's search tab.


  2. Choose the issue you need assistance on, e.g., requesting service or ESA accommodations at distinct premises, checking with your airline on ESA accommodation options, and contacting your housing provider about your ESA.


  3. Answer a few questions about your ESA and your current situation for DoNotPay to generate the best results.


And that's all! Whatever the issue, DoNotPay will handle it accordingly – we'll generate a letter requesting your mental health physician for an ESA letter, consult the airline and provide feedback, or prepare and mail a letter to your housing provider on your behalf.

Why Use DoNotPay to Handle ESA-Related Concerns

If you're still not sure that you should use DoNotPay for all your ESA needs, consider these three simple yet essential reasons:

  1. Fast – Save yourself the time and let DoNotPay manage your ESA issues.
  2. Easy – We'll automatically generate and mail the tedious demand and request letters on your behalf.
  3. Successful – Relax and watch DoNotPay get you through your ESA or service animal concerns successfully.

More Pet Products by DoNotPay

DoNotPay features lots of other pet-related products, some of which include:

  • Reporting Animal Abuse
  • Pet Licenses
  • Pet Custody Agreement
  • Lost and Found Pets

Other Services by DoNotPay

DoNotPay doesn't only offer pet-related services. We have additional products, which you could employ in very different circumstances. Some include:

Learn more about DoNotPay’s products for pet owners and non-pet owners alike.

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