Which Organization Is Responsible For Registering ESA?
Many people curious about emotional support animals want to know However, there isn't just one ESA registration organization, there are many.
If you're interested in getting your pet certified, or you're checking the validity of someone's emotional support animal, here's what you need to know about ESA credentials. And if you have an emotional support animal, DoNotPay can help you advocate for yourself in critical situations.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are pets that provide companionship and relief to owners with any number of mood, anxiety, or stress disorders. Unlike service dogs, they are not required to have the training to perform specific tasks, nor are they entitled to the same privileges.
This table outlines the differences between an emotional support animal vs a service animal:
|Definition.||A 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?||No||Yes|
|Can the assistance animal be banned or restricted when the owner is obtaining housing?||No||No|
|Will the owner of the assistance animal be charged a pet deposit for living with one?||No||No|
|Is the assistance animal allowed on flights free of charge?||No||Yes|
Still, many states allow ESAs where other pets are prohibited and require that businesses, landlords, and employers treat with the same deference given by law to service animals.
What is an ESA Letter?
Only a licensed mental health care provider can prescribe an emotional support animal, and they do so by writing a letter recommending one to their patient. This letter must meet the following standards:
- Be on the care provider's official letterhead.
- Include the care provider's license number.
- Indicate the diagnosis for which the ESA is prescribed.
- Briefly state that the patient needs the ESA.
If I have a doctor's letter, why do I need to register my ESA?
You don't, but you might find registration with an ESA organization helpful. For example, as a member, you can obtain special gear for your pet like leashes, collars, and vests with official designs that identify the animal's special status. When you've signed up with an ESA registry, you'll also have access to important legislative alerts and be kept abreast of important changes to laws affecting emotional support animals.
Some of these organizations often referred to as "ESA letter services", will connect you with mental health providers who will then write an ESA letter for you. This has been a workaround for patients who either can't afford to see a mental health specialist on their own or whose care providers declined to write a letter.
6 Organizations Where You Can Get an ESA Letter
As we mentioned, several ESA groups will help you get your letter and any other credentials you need to validate your pet's Emotional Support Animal status. Here are the six most popular:
- Valid ESA Letters
- ESA Doctors
- Real ESA Letter
- US Service Animals
While some of the above names might not seem legitimate, all of these organizations are above-board and able to help you get your pet certified. Which one is best? It's hard to say; The Mercury News and the Denver Post have their (very different) preferences, but ultimately the choice is up to you, and your willingness to do some homework.
If you're mostly concerned with finding the lowest price ESA organization, then read on, as DoNotPay can help you find the one that best suits your budget.
How to Choose an Emotional Support Organization Best for You
We recommend you begin with the articles linked in the previous section. Note that do not rely entirely on that information as rapidly-changing public policy will affect the way these services work to serve you.
- Get your hands on actual user reviews to get boots-on-the-ground opinions about each ESA service or organization.
- Next, read up on each organizations' current pricing and policies and look for hidden costs and commitments.
- Ask what benefits come with their letter service or membership:
- Do they offer legal support if you encounter problems with employers, landlords, or open-to-the-public businesses?
- Do they offer credentials for your pet that you can show to establishments?
- Can you purchase, at a reasonable cost, vests or other wearables for your pet that identify them as an ESA?
Finally, make sure any up-front fees are at least partially refundable should their affiliated mental health professional, after their interview with you, is not able to send you an ESA letter for one reason or another.
Let DoNotPay Help You Solve Your ESA Issues
Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns. These might include contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, contacting your own mental health provider, or finding the most affordable online ESA letter service.
Here's how it works:
- 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.
And that's it! Depending on your particular request, DoNotPay will:
- Generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf.
- Contact the airline and follow up with you on the results.
- Send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.
- Help you find the ESA organization or letter service that's best for you.
Can DoNotPay Help if My Pet’s ESA Status Is Not Honored?
If your state protects Emotional Support Animal privileges, you may have grounds to take landlords, homeowner associations, restaurant owners, airlines, and hotels to court for compensation. DoNotPay's Sue Now product will help you file a small claims suit against the offending entity.
More DoNotPay Resources for Your Pets
DoNotPay has hundreds of app products that advocate for your rights as a citizen and consumer. While our services are by no means restricted to pet-centric issues, we think these might interest you:
- Help you if your pet is lost
- Draft a pet agreement for your tenants
- License your pet online
- Get hotel pet fees waived
If you have other questions about Emotional Support Animals, these DoNotPay topics might help you find answers:
- What you need to know about ESA dogs
- Flying with emotional support animals
- The Fair Housing Act and emotional support animals
- United Airlines and emotional support animals
- Southwest Airlines and emotional support animals
- American Airlines and emotional support animals
- Example ESA letter
Let's Get Started!
Let DoNotPay help you with your ESA-related challenges today, and tomorrow you can learn about all the solutions we have for everyday and once-in-a-lifetime challenges. Our job—just like your pet's—is to make your life stress-free. We've got your back, so you can keep your ESA at your side!