Florida Laws on Emotional Support Animals
Some people dealing with mental and emotional issues can only find comfort in their pets. This has given rise to a new category of pets: emotional support animals (ESA). More and more people across the country, including in Florida, are adopting ESAs.
So, what does having an emotional support animal in Florida entail? What are you required to have in order to own an ESA? How can DoNotPay help you make the process of getting one smooth and hassle-free? Here is a comprehensive overview of important things to keep in mind.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
Animals provide companionship and engage their owners' minds positively. As such, the sight of your favorite pet can help you forget about your worries (even if just for a while).
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet whose main purpose is to keep its owner happy and in a generally calm and good mood. An ESA can be a pet of any species, including dogs and cats. However, some people's choices of an ESA may seem bizarre to others – some of the most unusual ESAs that people have asked to bring on an airplane include miniature horses, turkeys, and even peacocks.
Following are known benefits of having an emotional support animal:
|Relieves Stress||Pets provide unconditional love to their owners. This can give you a sense of confidence and reduce your risk of depression or anxiety.|
|Improves Schedule||Schedules and routines may be very important, yet, schedules may seem tedious. A pet requires care and a certain routine. You must feed them, you have to walk them, bathe them, play with them, etc. Setting your schedule to be based on their needs can also impact your other day-to-day tasks.|
|Improve Memory and Focus||Pets are very good at keeping person-centered. If you forget to feed them, they will remind you. If you feel lost in thought, they can give you a nudge to remind you that they are there.|
|Improve Sleep||College can be tough and you may feel unable to rest well at night. After running, walking, playing, and focusing on your pet throughout the day, you may be able to rest more at night.|
What Is an ESA Letter?
Emotional health is a serious concern, and an ESA qualifies as a form of treatment. An ESA letter is like a doctor's note proving your need for an emotional support animal. The letter must be written by a licensed mental health professional practicing in your state (Florida).
Every ESA letter must contain the following four crucial details:
- The date of issuance.
- The license's expiration date.
- The mental health professional's license number.
- The mental health professional's contact information.
There is a difference between an emotional support animal and a service animal. Similarly, there is a difference between an ESA letter and a service animal certificate.
Who Can Write an ESA Letter in Florida?
As explained, an ESA letter should be written and signed by a licensed emotional health professional. This is a broad category of professionals working in this field, and those authorized to prescribe an ESA and write a corresponding letter in Florida include:
- A psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.
- A mental health counselor.
- A social worker.
- A general physician.
- A primary care physician.
- A marriage or family therapist.
- A physician's assistant.
- A registered nurse.
An ESA letter written by an unlicensed professional doesn't carry any authority. As such, it is prudent to consult professionals higher up in ranking, such as a licensed mental health counselor as opposed to a registered nurse.
Laws on Emotional Support Animals in Florida
- Refusing accommodation to tenants with ESAs.
- Charging owners of ESAs extra fees in addition to the standard rent.
However, it is worth noting that landlords can refuse tenants with ESAs accommodation if their pets pose a danger to other tenants. Generally, these laws are closely similar to the Federal Fair Housing laws.
How to Ask for an Emotional Support Animal
The main eligibility for qualifying for an ESA is proving that you are dealing with a mental or emotional issue. Some of the issues that may warrant an ESA include:
You are also required to demonstrate your ability to care for the animal. Finally, as explained, you can only get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal by Yourself
The only way to get an emotional support animal by yourself is by visiting a licensed mental health professional. As explained, you will be required to prove that you are dealing with a mental or emotional health problem to qualify for an ESA letter.
Next Steps for Getting an ESA if You Can't Do It Yourself
Are you concerned about limitations and restrictions on how you can use your ESA? Don't worry, as DoNotPay can help with any obstacle, including liaising with airlines and landlords to find accommodation for your furry friend. Here is a step-by-step overview of our services:
- Search "service animal" on DoNotPay:
- 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:
- 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:
As illustrated above, DoNotPay takes over the whole process to save you the hassle. Additionally, the platform's solutions are customized to suit your unique situation.
Why Use DoNotPay to Get an Emotional Support Animal
DoNotPay makes getting an emotional support animal convenient by offering the following benefits:
- Ease – Applying for an ESA and supporting documents involves a lot of paperwork, but DoNotPay will do everything as you wait for a positive outcome.
- Speed – DoNotPay works fast so that you don't have to wait longer than necessary to get your ESA and supporting documents.
- Success – You are not guaranteed an ESA, but DoNotPay maximizes your likelihood of qualifying for one as the platform understands how the system works and doesn't make mistakes.
These are just three of dozens of benefits that DoNotPay offers. Additionally, DoNotPay can go the extra mile to help with other pet-related problems.
More DoNotPay Products for Your Pets
Some of the other pet-related problems that DoNotPay can help with include:
- Tracking or reporting lost and found pets.
- Applying for pet licenses
- Negotiating a pet custody agreement
- Reporting animal abuse
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay does it all – we are an automated legal services platform working across many industries. Some of our most popular services include:
- Claiming refunds from airlines
- Requesting hotel upgrades
- Suing companies and individuals in small claims courts
- Canceling unwanted subscriptions
DoNotPay works across all states! Visit the site today to learn more about our services and how we can help.