You may be eligible for an Emotional Support Animal prescription letter to allow your dog or cat access to “no pet” residences and airplanes.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal is not a pet. It is a companion dog or cat that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.
Any size or breed of dog or cat can be an emotional support animal. They do not have to be professionally trained to perform any task, but must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting.
Emotional support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
The FHAA prevents landlord and homeowner associations from restricting your emotional support animal from living with you–even when there is a no pet policy in place. These associations are also not allowed to assess special pet fees on you because of your companion animal.
The ACCAA protects individuals by allowing an emotional support animal to fly with them in the cabin of an airplane, without having to pay any additional fees.
While emotional support animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan, they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Who Qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal Prescription Letter?
An individual who is considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.). As a result of this disability, the individual has certain limitations regarding coping with their symptoms that substantially limits one or more of their major life activities. In order to help alleviate these difficulties, the mental health professional will prescribe an emotional support therapy dog or cat to help the individual live independently in their home, and/or for therapeutic companionship during airplane flights.
What Does the Emotional Support Animal Prescription Letter Qualification Process Entail?
The Emotional Support Animal prescription letter qualification process requires one 45-minutes mental health evaluation session. During this evaluation, the mental health professional will obtain detailed information about an individual’s difficulties in order to make an accurate diagnosis, and to determine if the individual qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal prescription letter.
What is the Charge for and Emotional Support Animal Prescription Letter?
The charge for this service is $395.00. If you are eligible, you will receive an Emotional Support Animal prescription letter, kit and any extended support services (required airline/housing paperwork, legal documents, phone calls etc.) that you may need related to flying or living with your emotional support animal.