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2 Ironclad Emotional Support Animal Laws

Federal Laws and Emotional Support Animals: Benefits of Obtaining an ESA Letter

Emotional Support Animal Dog


Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are animals that are specially designated to assist individuals with emotional or psychological disabilities. According to federal law, ESAs can be distinguished in the following ways:

Service Animals

Individuals who are blind, deaf, restricted to a wheelchair, or suffer from seizure disorders can benefit immensely from the aid of a service animal. Service animals are dogs or miniature horses that are specially trained to perform tasks and recognize medical conditions.

Emotional Support Animals

ESAs are more specifically chosen as companions to individuals who are psychologically or emotionally disabled. These companions may include a variety of animals and may be a current pet. ESAs are not trained to perform tasks or recognize particular signs or symptoms but are distinguished by the close, emotional, and supportive bond between the animal and the owner.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal Laws

Who Can Obtain an ESA Letter?

Individuals with disabilities who believe they would benefit from an ESA must have a psychological diagnosis as a disabled person from a licensed mental health professional.

Emotional and psychological disabilities applicable for an ESA letter may include:

  • Stress Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Panic/Anxiety Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Phobias
  • And Many More…

While ESAs may become like members of an individual’s family, they should not be confused with traditional pets. ESAs provide a very specific service as an emotional support, and very specific laws govern their use.

For legal purposes, ESAs are considered companions offering mental and emotional support, as well as sometimes being trained to recognize specific symptoms and emotional occurrences.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal Certification

Federal Laws and ESAs

There are two main federal laws applicable to ESAs and their owners, these include the Air Carrier Access Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

It is important that anyone considering obtaining an ESA letter be aware of the laws that apply to owners and what they should expect from business owners under the law.

A brief summary of federal laws and ESAs can be found by reading on:

The Air Carrier Access Act

The Air Carrier Access Act was passed in 1990 and works alongside Department of Transportation rules prohibiting discrimination of disabled individuals traveling by air. According to the Air Carrier Act provisions, airlines are not allowed to refuse transportation, limit, or require advanced notice before offering service to individuals who are disabled.

Airlines may require advanced notice for certain accommodations, such as medical equipment or electric wheelchairs, and may require notice for ESAs, depending on the individual airline guidelines.

The Air Carrier Act requires that airlines accommodate ESA owners who have verified identification. ESA owners are not required to sit in any particular location unless the animal is large enough to obstruct an aisle that must remain unobstructed.

The Air Carrier Act also restricts airlines from charging fees for accommodating disabled persons with an ESA.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, commonly known as FHA, requires apartments and housing communities that ordinarily restrict pets to make “reasonable accommodation” for ESAs. In short, that means that verified ESA owners cannot be denied housing, just as individuals in a wheelchair or with a disability cannot be denied housing based on their condition.

In order to be protected by FHA laws, the ESA owner must have a diagnosed disability and provide documentation to the property owner or housing representative.

The benefits to FHA laws include the fact that property owners cannot charge an advance deposit or fees for ESAs. ESA owners should note, however, that if significant damage is done, or if it becomes apparent that the animal is being neglected, the property owner might be able to recoup fees later.

Property owners also cannot question the disability, require the animal to wear identification as an ESA, or refuse housing. In short, FHA laws protect verified ESA owners who properly care for the animal but may not protect owners who are negligent or destructive.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal California

ESAs Are More Than “Man’s Best Friend”

Emotional support animals are not restricted to emotional support dogs or emotional support cats. In fact, ESAs can be most any variety of animal. What is important is that the ESA and the owner have a special relationship that genuinely offers emotional support and wellbeing.

Obtaining an ESA Letter requires more than just a psychological diagnosis; it also requires compliance with standards, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s standards, which includes demonstrating that the animal provides a service that supports the diagnosis.

The journey to a happy, healthy ESA/owner relationship may already have begun, but disabled individuals may not realize it. Individuals who already have a pet that brings them comfort and emotional support can apply for an ESA letter, which will provide them with the protections discussed in this article and benefits that are immeasurable.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Additional Resources

Emotional Support Animal NYC
Emotional Support Animal California


Comments 249

  1. nunoya

    As a home owner and Board member in a condominium association. Our Master Insurance policy has a breed ban over 50 breeds and any part. If a dog that’s living or even visiting here is any part of one of those breeds and injures someone either due to an overly zealous greeting or a bite, our insurance won’t cover the bills (medical, legal, etc) and all the homeowners (with or without dogs of their own) are liable for those expenses. It’s not fair to the banned breeds, but it’s certainly not fair to homeowners who might have to share in settlement costs if someone has a dog that is a banned breed and the dog is not properly managed by their owner. We are looking into allowing all dogs but requiring all dog owners to carry a 100,000.00 dollar liability policy on their specific dog and have the association named as co-insured. We are checking with our lawyer to see if the FHA rulings would allow this, since it does have a financial burden clause.

    An animal with a history of dangerous behavior need not be accepted:
    [A] housing provider is not required to make a reasonable accommodation if the presence of the assistance animal would (1) result in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by a reasonable accommodation; (2) pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or (3) fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations.
    A fundamental alteration would include an animal that is not kept in specified areas or defecates and urinates in public spaces other than those designated as dog walks. Just because a tenant has a need for an animal does not mean that he or she must not care for it.

  2. Vanessa

    I do not understand your comments? In 1990 The Air Carrier Access Act was passed for an ESA. It is also specifically stated above in this write up?

  3. Kimberly

    I want to register my dog as a emotional support animal and everyone is telling me not to do it online. How do I register him legally?

    1. Brandy

      There isn’t a state or national registry for ESA. You can have any qualified medical professional, including doctors and mental health counselors, write a note to provide to your landlord. There shouldn’t be any charge for the animal.

      My doctor simply wrote “Please allow her companion pet for therapeutic health benefits” on her prescription pad. That was all my landlord needed to allow my pet and not charge any pet fees/deposits.

  4. Nancy

    A licensed health care provider treating you for a known psychological disorder will not charge for a letter. You must present a letter from the doctor that’s personally treating you. You can’t just pay someone online to write a letter.

  5. Jo

    I was on board with American airlines today 3/8/17 on my way to San Diego from NYC. My first issue is When I arrived at the counter to check in my animal they asked me for proof of the letter, which I provided. It was not accepted because they said it was missing a “letter head”, however, this letter head is legitimate from the doctors office, I had to pay to get my pet on board or I was going to miss the flight. Took a connecting flight from NC, and got kicked out because when I told the flight attendant to not touch my dog she insisted in trying to pet him and he growled back. She got upset and made a complaint against me, It was beyond embarrassing to take that walk of shame out the plane. I was treated unfair and I had proof my pet is my emotional support. I really want to file a suit against them.

  6. Cristin

    If it is a Service Dog not an Emotional Support or Therapy Dog.

    You may not refuse any Service Animal or charge then a pet deposit underTitle 1 or Title 3. A service dog had most likely spent months if not years training and will not be the dog that tears up your carpet.

    If you do refuse get ready to pay a huge fine. HUGE

  7. Cristin

    Absolutely they can charge you even after you get a letter. Only Service Dogs cannot be charged. Your animal is not protected under ADA b

  8. Cristin

    You have an Emotional Support Animal NOT a Service Dog. Your animal has no rights under the ADA.

    A service dog is protected under ADA under Tittle 2 and Title 3. An emotional support or therapy dog is not covered under these laws

    Laws on emotional support and therapy dogs vary from state to state. Any business has every right legally to refuse suppport or therapy dogs.

    1. Herb Pfleger

      You are wrong about therapy dogs. They are not service animals under ADA. However , according to the department of transportation they are service animals and cannot be refused transport on any airline , bus etc. therapy animals are in a different catagory than ESA animals.

  9. Cristin

    You are absolutely incorrect an emotional or therapy dog may be refused at any business even hotels. There is the housing act. Secondly since you had the animal declawed I am assuming you have a cat which is not covered under ADA. Only dogs, miniature ponies are covered under ADA. In rare cases a monkey can be a service dog.

    A service animal is the only animals who cannot be refused service anywhere under Title 2 and Title 3 in the ADA.

    1. brandy

      In the case of housing situations, cats and any other animal can be considered an ESA, even snakes (as long as they do not pose a safety risk to others), via HUD regulations.

      “The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses the term “assistance animal” to cover any animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. (FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). An emotional support animal is one type of assistance animal allowed as a reasonable accommodation to a residence with a “no pets” rule.”

  10. Cristin

    A service dog is protected under ADA under Tittle 2 and Title 3. An emotional support or therapy dog is not covered under these laws

    Laws on emotional support and therapy dogs vary from state to state. Any business has every right legally to refuse suppport or therapy dogs.

  11. Bambi

    It is against the law for you to refuse a service animal. You may be a land lord, but the tenant is responsible for the carpet that may be destroyed. I have an esa dog and I would make sure that no one rents from you if I. Was in your area. You don’t understand the struggle people with mental or emotional disabilities goes thru on a daily basis. People like you shouldn’t be landlords.

  12. P

    You are so ignorant! People harm and kill other people for fun, dogs don’t! I hope you are as you sound: miserable!

  13. Christina

    Rude an heartless ….. for someone that needs a Serv animal it’s ppl like u that make it so hard to live on top of the struggle of are daily life .. and to say everyone is lying is insaulting . do people abuse this privilege ? yes but it happens with everything in this world now days but for the ppl that are being honest like myself a service animal is a life saver an ur more worried about replacing a stupid carpet which by law ur supposed to replace every few years and or tenite wow smfh

  14. Christina

    Rude an heartless with someone that needs a Serv animal it’s ppl like u that make it so hard to live on top of the struggle of are daily life and to say everyone is lying is insaulting do people abuse this privilege yes but it happens with everything but for the ppl that are being honest like myself a service animal is a life saver an ur more worried about replacing a stupid carpet which by law ur supposed to replace every few years and or tenite wow smfh

  15. Animal support

    I have support animal and by the law you have to rent to them however the animal must behave and not destroy my cat is total declaw has a pet playpen a pet carrier and a kennel if I need to use it in travels with harness leash and tags and a wellness check ups every shot update yearly and a pet stroller as well my balcony is netted nicely and netting is taken off winter months ( dose not look horrible blends in ) also letters by (2) doctors of why we need a support therapy cat from a real local physician a year before the move in ) so it’s not a internet doctor I agree some do this just to get a animal .. But if I spent out the money to be sure my
    animal is safe from hurting
    others with claws removed and
    vetted every year and bought
    the equipment to ensure it
    secured and taken care better than myself .. Then I have the right to live and go where I want and with out prejudice . I felt with this in my own condo community and I have all the right papers and equipment to be with in my rights ..

  16. Christy

    Brian, you have no clue how important these animals are to some people’s daily survival. Phfft about replacing carpet!!! These animals save peoples lives. You are very ignorant, heartless and petty.

    1. Joanne

      About the carpet… regardless of the designation of your animal if it destroys property you gotta pay for it. But here’s the kicker… a true service dog is highly trained and it is very unlikely it would cause damage to property.

  17. Christy

    Brian, you have no clue how important these animals are to some people’s daily survival. Phfft about replacing carpet!!! These animals save peoples lives. You are very ignorant, heartless and petty.

  18. H

    Does anyone know if a pet has already moved in and you are currently in the process of obtaining an updated ESA, can the landlord still charge deposit/back pet rent upon receiving the ESA?

  19. Alessandra

    $200 is nothing, we got hit with an $800 and were told to get rid of her. Another placed asked me what i had which is illegal as heck, because you can ask to see proof but you can’t ask what disorder you have, puch come to shove we are now at a place that respects both pets and esas

    1. Brian Griffin

      I’m a landlord and I am not going to be forced to rent to someone with a dog. Most of you people are lying. $800? Pfft, you have no clue how much it costs to replace carpet and sub floor after a dog has ruined it. It’s in the $thousands.

  20. eMJay

    Holy smokes. Do not blame the animal! It’s the ‘humans’ to blame. You’ve obviously been around folks that do not take care of their dogs. If one takes care of their animal (no matter it be a dog, cat, rabbit, etc.) it does not smell. Nor will they be loud if they have proper training. I have an Emotional Support Animal. She is well trained, better than most dogs and she’s a cat! I honestly hate cats yet we bonded and I’ve trained her like a dog. She goes into town with me and is very well behaved, she even goes out into the field (not the lawn) to go to the bathroom. I’ve owned and raised many different animals, and I will not put up with stinky, loud, disrespectful ‘pets’. Some people just don’t have the ability to properly raise and train them. Your post proves that this is most likely your case. Don’t judge the animal for being misbehaved, loud, or smelly, blame the human ‘owner’/’caregiver’. Many blessings to you.

  21. TIna

    You and your dog sound like me and my dog. I asked my doctor for a note so that I can bring her with me. She behaves well and I have a dog stroller for her. The doctor wrote me a note saying I need my dog to travel with me because I suffer from anxiety and depression. I cover the stroller with a crib sheet and she is content and it doesn’t bother anyone and her and I are both very happy to be with each other.

  22. Helene Morse

    I lost my significant other after 15 yrs. I am 79 yrs. old and my Morkie keeps me going from day to day. If I have a crying day she sits and cheers me up. If ,I feel like I don’t want to face another day ;I know she needs to be fed and walked. She keeps me moving. She is everything to me. I have spent money on ESA and now airlines won’t support this. My regular doctor said she would write me a letter,again airlines don’t support this. Psychiatrist charged so much and they want you to keep coming back. The airlines charge you $100.00 for one way….the dog goes under the seat( so it takes up no room)! Help

  23. Mike b

    So i got a dog to help me with everything thats been going on in my life and was going to get it registered as an emotinal support dog because i wanted her to travel and live with me anywhere i went. I had looked at so many places before i picked the place i live that i honestly just assumed it was pet friendly. Come to find out after a month or so of having my dog i got a warning on my door with a $200 fine. I have a week to “fix the problem”. So i went ahead and applied online for an ESA and will find out tomorrow if i get approved. If i do get approved and everything goes well, will they still have to respect the FHA for my animal and will i be expected to still pay the fine. I know most likely i will have to pay the fine and thats annoying because i wasnt aware which at the end of the day is my fault but i was just curious about the if the FHA laws still would hold up?

    1. Jand Foster

      That is terrible that people who do not like or want dogs around have to answer to anyone. Dogs make me nervous and uncomfortable and I would never rent to anyone with a pet under any circumstances. There are plenty of people who are crazy about dogs, just leave the rest of us alone. Dogs stink and make noise and lick their butts. NO THANK YOU!

      1. Meghan

        Jand you are incredible. Literally replace the word dog with black people or Muslims or mentally disabled or Jewish or old or young or Asian or stupid or mean or smart or stupid….its against the law to discriminate PERIOD. Would you discriminate against someone who takes xanax or drinks tea? Would you discriminate against someone who didn’t vote for who you voted for? You sound like an awful person.

  24. Jessica

    So I have never actually been certified with anxiety because I can’t afford to go to a therapist but if I know I at least have social anxiety and my dog is always by my side when I am having an anxiety attack trying to calm me down. Would he be a good ESA and is there any place I cant take him like a train or such?

  25. Tabitha K

    Lisa Peterson, your building is correct; as the puppies don’t belong to you, the letter you have for an Emotional Support Animal does not apply. A disabled person with an Emotional Support Animal they own only has rights to request a reasonable accommodation for no-pet housing and to take their animal with them on flights. A person with a Service Dog specifically trained to perform a task or work for that individual’s disability has rights to be accompanied by that dog in public as well. But in order for a Service Dog to accompany them to work, they must request a reasonable accommodation and there are some reasons why an employer can turn it down. While your building cannot say you cannot work with that prohram, they do not have to allow you to bring the puppies in your home.

  26. Tabitha K

    Federal law doesn’t recognize Emotional Support Animals (animals that provide emotional support or comfort by its mere presence) as Service Dogs. Some areas in the US do, but you must check with your local laws. If it is not covered by Federal, State, or local laws, then you can only take the animal to pet-friendly businesses and places that give you permission. Please note that places that sells unpackaged foods, such as bakeries, delis, restaurants, etc can not give permission as it would violate health code laws.

  27. Lucy

    A therapy dog is NOT the same as a service animal or ESA. Therapy animals are trained to go into places such as Hospitals, nursing homes or places that accommodateven persons with disabilities. Their purpose is to provide incidental support for persons staying in those facilities. Therapy dogs are brought in by the owner of the therapy dog and NOT by the patient. Please do NOT confuse the designation of Service Animal, ESA and therapy dogs. People requiring the different services get into conflicts when trying to claim the wrong designation since it proves that the animal does not provide the legally mandated service. Too many people wanting to keep pets make up designations without legal knowledge or physician documentation. Look up ADA laws rather than getting advice from non licensed people.

  28. Lisa Peterson

    I have a letter for an ESA dog, but since I am not home during the day, it does me no good, unless I work from home; but since I am around on the weekends, I have signed up with programs to assist bringing puppies home that are being trained as service dogs – does my letter cover me on this end; I have to work and I cant bring the dog to work even though I have the letter, the building said ok, but when I tell them I am able to work with the animals on the weekend and they are puppies – the building said its not my dog; I don’t understand, I need the animal and it makes me feel better especially where I am helping others who will need service dogs; does anyone know if there is a letter that they cant deny me from assisting with this program. I want so bad to change my job get out from this dark desk job and go do something fulfilling, any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  29. Mary

    Nikki, if your neighbor injures or kills your son’s certified ESA dog, he will face animal cruelty charges; as the law stands throughout the USA. The recording you have could also, possibly, be used as evidence if you do choose to sue him in small claims court, if he does harm your dog.

  30. Kaity

    Hi there! There are services online that you can use to help you get an ESA (emotional support animal) depending on your specific situation (I.e. Sexual assault victim, PTSD sufferer), but the best best is to try to call or email your old therapist if he/she diagnosed you with a disability, and tell him/her that you need a letter stating that you have a disability and would benefit from an ESA.

  31. Nikki

    Hello my son has a support dog the people who live next door are mad over land line dispute the have went from trying to tear up my car to targeting my son’s support dog I caught them trying to get her mad by tormenting her trying to get her to get out of our fenced in yard so he could do so he was even heard on the recording saying it so I stepped out side and told her to come in and he started screaming at me telling me if he gets her out of the gate he is going to chop her f…ing head off she is very well trained and knows when my son is upset she sets on him or lays with him until he feels better are there any laws that protect her from this kinda thing I live in ohio and we have a no leash law also

  32. Luciana Leite


    I have a question.
    I am not an American citizen, so I don’t understand the law very well. I went to therapy in the US twice, but couldn’t afford it and stopped (I can prove that because they harass me a lot until I could finally pay them). So now I don’t have a psychiatrist I could recur to state that I need my dog for my emotional stability. But I know I do.

    I recently rescued a her, and she has been with me 24/7. Since getting her I haven’t cried A SINGLE day (except for now). I am having trouble leaving the house without her as well as leaving her behind. It makes me even more anxious – not only because I am anxious about being alone but also imagining that she is suffering too (she hadn’t had the easiest life either). I think we support each other <3

    I don't know what to do. How do I know if she qualify as ESA? Can someone who has been through the process help me?

    1. Tristan

      I have been through the process with my psychiatrist not to sound rude but are you legal to live here just asking bc that would make a big difference not sure if you would win that battle your dog may be able to live there but if the landlord is against you being here illegally so id probably go with a green card then a esa letter but if your here legally just tell your doc you rescued her a while back and have a close bond and tell him how the dog helps with your issues but esa are just for housing so you wouldn’t get anything other than the chance to live and fly in places were dogs aren’t allowed to live and it wouldn’t get any extra rights than any other regular dog except pet deposits and housing I think your asking if you are eligible to have a dog you can take with you in public places esa still cant go inside stores that say no pets allowed but what your asking is if you could get a service dog with is a whole different ballgame and ive never heard of anyone allowed to have a service dog due to race issues a service dog has to be highly trained and the handler must have a disability that limits its daily living like blind, cant hear, or alert before medical emergency or a serious condition so if you do try to get a service dog which usually you are on a waiting list and it takes a good while before the dog is ready and cost a lot of money not many people have a dog that can pass the test to be one unless the owner has been training it for a while but if you ask for a service dog bc your disabled bc your race your not getting one but if you got the funds to afford one tell your psychiatrist whatever you need to to get the job done tell him your suicidal and the the dog wont let you hold a knife or weapon or that you cant leave the house due to threats and gangs jumping you for not wanting you to go back to your country maybe you can get a personal protection dog but just google the difference in esa and service animals but if you just need to move and the animal is making it hard to find cheap housing I’m sure he would write you a letter but I’m pretty sure you wont get special rights to a service dog bc you moved here not to sound rude but the judge might say that’s not a disability that’s a choice you made if you moved back home you wouldn’t be disabled anymore so id never recommend this to anyone but in your case go get a trainer to train your dog or you train it to be mannared in public and go buy it a little vest and service dog patch at a local dog store people do it all the time and pay some random advertisement on the internet that you pay and they type up a letter and youll have a service dog you can take anywhere but keep in mind 9 out of 10 of the service dog ads on the net are a easy money scam so if you have the money and want to make your dog a service dog until the day your asked to show proof and find out a random person printed out a letter from there laptop and took your money but yet your name or any info is listed under you in the general database for the public to find out if your dog is a fake or not but its not hard to point out a fake sd from a real one in your case lying might be your best bet lol I am curious if you ever got anywhere with it or if you asked your doc id love to hear back

  33. Kim

    I have a two part comment that’s really questions

    One is in CA is it legal for a social worker to drive a old lady to a kill shelter and force her to relinquish her beloved pet. Given no hearing to determine what grounds this social worker had for her doing this to this elderly woman who lives alone. My friend happened to be at the shelter at the time and did her best to step in and help this woman who my friend said was of sound mind and body. My friend ended up taking the dog . The old woman was in tears. I just don’t believe that someone who’s a social worker would be that cruel and not at least ( I mean if the situation was proven in court by a judge that the old woman was negligent of the dogs care) drive her to a dog rescue where they work hard to find the right home but no dog dies if not adopted.

    Anyone can answer my questions if you know.. or maybe you have a relative or best friend in legal field you can ask.

    Second thing is I’m
    Curious . I moved out of my house in 2014 and now I’m moving back in. But I have my four dogs now which is the maximum for the city I’m going to be living in. My problem odjjnk power tripping HOA recently passed ruling only two dogs per house hold. These are single family homes not condos.

  34. Can anyone help me with that? Cindy

    I’m confused it looks like emotional support dogs can be allowed on airplanes and cabs etc. but I’m confused on the hotel issue. Can anyone help me with that

    1. Helena

      hotels don’t fall under the fair housing act.
      You’ll have to find a pet friendly hotel and pay their fees in order to bring your esa

    2. Marie

      Emotional support dogs are allowed on planes and in housing with a ESA letter but hotels do not fall under the laws you will have to find a pet friendly hotel but if your dog is a service dog they have to comply and let you in with out any fees

  35. Katrina

    I have a question I have been an firefighter emt for the past 10 years. I got my dog 7 years ago as a pup and he has been my rock ever since he is pretty much an esa dog for me but I never had him registered as one. I am moving into a dog friendly apartment but his breed is on the list. He is very calm and is extremely well trained would he be an exception? I won’t go without him

    1. Nick

      If you get a letter from your psychiatrist recommending/prescribing an ESA then the breed restriction does not apply to you.

    2. Tristan

      They don’t have to have any training at all it could be the worst animal in the world honestly ESA doesn’t have to sit on command actually the people who allow you to have it or not don’t never even meet the animal and people assume its always a dog but Ive seen all types of animals the A stands for animal if your esa is a bird or gerbil or snake I doubt it will have to learn the sit command lol but any animal that helps you out and feel better about yourself and life will be allowed to be a esa I just wouldn’t do it online 90 percent of the ads online you send them money they type up a letter and the random person just mails you a paper saying you have a service or esa until you go to move and they look in the public database and find out you paid a lot for a random person to email you a letter to print out saying you need a esa even though they have no clue who you are or whats going on in your life other than youll deposit the money and in your mind youll have a esa until you really need him to be a esa and find out the hard way that john doe copy pasted you a sample letter with the names changed trust me id let your psychiatrist handle it mine did mine and never had a issue since but most stories from it being doing online either will tell you they got scammed or they haven’t crossed the path when you have to prove it my buddy had a service dog for 2 years until he took it in public one time but for two years he got to tell everyone he had a service dog for 2 years lol mainly your paying for a bunch or tags and vest and fake certificate app and the dogs name on the stuff to make it look professional by law you don’t have to do nothing but put it on a leash no vest no esa or service dog path nothing except a legit piece of paper when the housing manager ask about your esa or service dog in public ask to see your papers which hippa covers most of it but service dog owners can only be asked two questions esa owners just need a piece of paper from your doc but yes sit is one of the 100 commands a service dog will know esa can be deaf blind with one leg and never heard the word sit before and you can have your doc register him as esa I just wouldn’t do the internet route until after your doc gives you a letter with his letterhead on it then buy the cool lil stickers and vest and stuff

  36. Hannah Ashley

    That is good! With my dog as an esa dog my life is better. You can’t always take her every where but she can go with you to a trip on a plane to help you stay emotionally safe. An esa dog is not cheep but in the end it’s worth it

    1. Hannah

      This is a scam, or at least coming from someone with insurance. I went to an urgent care center and got a letter from a doctor there for $20.

      1. certapet

        Scam implies fraud. We are a service and if your insurance covers the service, I recommend you use it. If it doesn’t, CertaPet can help connect you with a mental health professional.

        1. Val Sovinski

          The law requires a letter showing you need an Emotional Support Dog. They are the same as any service animal. They have the same access to all areas that people go in (excepting some medical situations). I have had support dogs for 14 years now, and actually have three dogs that fulfill that role in my life. They all have public manners which is the only requirement,and up to date vaccines. Who are you trying to kid?
          PS I worked with the congressional group on developing the guidelines for the first Service Animal law. I know what was included and not included. We deliberately did not include registration, visible signage, or letters as it was felt that increasing the burden of having your animal with you was not warranted. Have some people misused the law to take their personal dogs with them? Yes.
          I’m done.

          1. Chris P.

            My wife is a twenty-one year vet of our armed services. She has a ESA with prescription letter. Our Home Owners Association is asking for certification training for her ESA. We live in North Carolina and I haven’t been able to find anywhere where a letter of training is either required or not pertaining to any form of allowance in housing. Any help would be great.

            Thank you…

          2. certapet

            Shoot us an email at [email protected]

      2. Nick


        You can’t get a letter from a normal physician, family doc or general practitioner. The doctor has to be a licensed psychologist and able to diagnose mental disabilities. That is not something a normal physician does.

        Not everyone can afford to see a therapist on a regular basis. The staff here at cartapet might not be willing to call BS on your story but I am. Options like this are some peoples only hope at getting a letter for a pet.

  37. Tonya Roberts

    If you have any PetSmart store in your area you can take classes for your puppy and then they can set you up with someone close by that actually does the testing. The one in my area does testing with TDI (Therapy Dogs International). You can go to their website and you can see if there are anyone in your area that test . You can also see what is required of your dog to pass the test.

    1. Val Sovinski

      Therapy dog, totally different animal. Therapy dogs go into settings to visit with people they do not perform a service for one specific person.

  38. Patricia Rouff

    I have been under care of a psychiatrist for bi polar depression for many and now have panic attacks which improves greatly with interactions with my female feline.

  39. Morgan Hannah

    How do you get them trained as a therapy dog? I am in need and I feel as if my puppy fit’s this perfectly. He has been my therapy and I feel helps others.

      1. Chris P.


        Where can I find that in a legal document to provide to our HOA ?
        They are asking for certification for my wifes ESA

    1. smk

      a therapy dog is to help other people. a service dog is to help you. an emotional support animal helps you with a psychiatric condition. they do not require any training other than that you would provide a normal pet.

    2. Val Sovinski

      doesn’t need training. Should have GOOD public manners, be trustworthy and comfortable in all types of situations. A business owner has the right to request that the animal be removed from their establishment if the animal is creating an unsafe environment. For instance, my Chihuahua goes under my chair in restaurants and sleeps unless I need her. I carry her through restaurants because I don’t want her distracted by food or cramped quarters.

  40. Pitty mom

    *disclaimer* I’m not trying to start a debate about how good or bad “pit bulls” are just want to know from a legal standpoint. So there is talk about banning “pit bulls” in my area. My ESA who was prescribed to me over a year and a half ago is a “pit bull” she has never been aggressive and very well behaved doesn’t bark doesn’t cause damage to the home. If they ban her “breed” am I not allowed to have her anymore on the county? Does the ADA law trump that ban because it’s a federal law?

    1. Elisa

      Yes I also have a bully breed ESA. I know laws vary from state to state so double check, but I know in Pennsylvania Mabel is protected by fair housing laws.

    2. Nick

      Your animal is protected. The fair housing act is a federal law and trumps your county regulations. As long as your letter from your psychiatrist is up to date (less than a year old) then you are fine. You may need to contact a lawyer if the county tries to say otherwise but you shouldn’t have a hard time finding an attorney in that situation. It’s guaranteed money for them.

  41. Karrie

    The is not correct. Esa dogs are allowed in any public place. They are protected under acts, but can’t remember the specific one right now. But my husbands psycologist told me this and I have reason it. Google it.

    1. Tom

      Karrie, apparently you need to Google it as I have. Trained service animals are allowed in all public places but not emotional support animals. The only benefits for the support animals is for housing and flying.

    2. Torimae Eldridge

      Googled it.

      “The ADA does not grant emotional support dog owners the same right of access to public places that it gives to individuals who use psychiatric service dogs. That means that under the ADA, a movie theater, for example, must allow psychiatric service dogs to accompany their owners into the movie auditorium but can refuse to admit individuals with emotional support dogs.”

    3. Tristan

      They are covered under a act not acts and the one you cant think of is fair housing act. I bet some random guy made a lot of money off of you online printing random letters saying your dog is a service dog lol esa are not allowed in public just waived pet fees and no pet allowed apartments or rentals your allowed to have your dog and they cant charge extra

  42. Tired of the Run Around

    So my son and I recently moved into Low Income Housing and weve had various problems other than my cat, with that being said I have had severe depression sense I was young. So now here comes the fun, everytime I get the Reasonable Accommodation form the form changes and she gives me some stupid excuse as to why its just not possible I.E my son is my companion so I dont need any other companionship, or I have to be physically disabled. Ive got my papers verified by my doctor and when I check to see if my landlord has faxed the Verification form to my doctor she has a new excuse as to why she hasnt today she said that now even if i have all my papers signed her boss has to approve of the pet so its all up to them. Ive been fighting this battle for months and ive already got two violations and im one away from an eviction my cat is with someone but now for long I need advice please

    1. Nick

      You do not need to fill out “her” verification form. You can get a property manager verification from your psychiatrist and give that to her. You can sign a waiver with your psychiatrist allowing the basic verification if she wants to call (you are her patient and the letter is real). You don’t need to fill out any other form. If you give that form to her from your doctor and she continues, call a lawyer in the area and they would be happy to sue for you. It’s easy money for them.

  43. Toni

    I recently decided to look into having my dog certified as a emotional support animal. My counselor, wheni asked her she said it’s about time. She is writing me a letter. Do I need to get all the certificates and vests and leashes and cards or is my letter enough?

    1. Nick

      Your letter is enough. There is no national registry for support animals and you are not required to have the animal wear any identification. The only thing you need to have is the letter from your doctor. Remember that your ESA is not granted the rights of a service animal. You can not take them out in public places or wherever you want. You may have local laws that allow this but federal law does not guarantee an emotional support animal can go in public places. This is because training is not required for an ESA.

  44. V

    Hi there,

    I recently got a dog to have him as an ESA. My current housing/lease/landlord states no animals allowed. I have already been here for over a year and resigned a lease recently. Should I be informing my landlord that I now have an ESA dog, or show proof of a doctor/therapist letter if there is a question/conflict later?


    1. Joleen Peterson

      By law A letter from your doctor is all you need. HOWEVER if they are dumb as in my own experience
      that I’m dealing with right now and sue you anyway to have you remove your dog, be prepared for a very difficult road. I KNOW I will win, but it hasn’t quite caught up with them yet. Good luck! Oh and
      dangerous breed dogs are typically an issue with these cases, FYI.

      1. Nick

        Dangerous breeds may cause an issue with your housing but legally speaking there is no issue. The only issue is if your dog proves to be a nuisance or problem and causes damage or hurts someone. Otherwise, whatever animal you have as an ESA is beside the point.

  45. heberson deoliveira

    Hi I have an English Bulldog. I am flying to Brazil, then to Amsterdam. If my dog is a ESA will he be allowed to fly with me on both trips in the cabin or only out of the USA?

  46. Shelley

    I have a similar situation, my landlord stated in our lease when we first moved in that we could get a dog with a 500 deposit, we got a dog now he says we can only get a cat? We’re looking into getting him registered so we can keep him. We’ve already been here for a year. How can we make this work?

    1. certapet

      Shoot us an email at [email protected]. We don’t register animals we connect you with licensed mental health professionals who can prescribe you an ESA. That is the proper way to do it 🙂

        1. Blackbird Woman

          An Esa.. Is an emotional support animal.. It is not considered a trained animal there for does not fall under service animal.. If you have an emotional problem that an animal can help with.. This is fine. But since most of them are not trained to specifically be a service dog for a person with a mental disability.. They cannot go in to places of public accommodation.. You can train your own dog in most states. you can go on line and find groups that help on line for you to train your dog.. But if you need a service dog and not an ESA… Then you must have a letter that states you would benefit from the use of a trained service dog. Training one is a lot of work. and it is has to start as a puppy. Starting with potty training and basic commands. I have never had my dog registered nor am I going to register him.. I do have a fully trained service dog. It takes a couple years to train a dog.. and learning Service dog etiquette is another part of ownership of a service dog. So remember if you choose to go the route of service dog there is a lot to do. Other wise an ESA is a great route for someone who does not need a full time assistant.. Blessings to you. I wish you all the best with your animals.

      1. brian ingle

        I am in need of an ESA. i have all necessary diagnoses and will be happy to sign any releases. please help me as i cannot find any resources

    2. Blackbird Woman

      Federal law does not require registering of TRAINED service animals. An ESA can be easily allowed in apartment complex with a doctors letter.. HOW EVER they are not allowed in Stores and places of public accommodation because they are NOT CONSIDERED TRAINED service animals.

    1. Blackbird Woman

      All you need is the letter.. You dont need to register him because he is not trained.. and service dogs are not required by federal law to registered. Your doctors letter is enough.. Also check in to using your dog as a therapy dog.. you still cannot take them in to places of public accommodation with out the permission of the manager. How ever you will be able to help a lot of people with your pet if he is trainable to be a therapy dog.

  47. Karen

    I want to register my dog as an ESA. I have stress, anxiety and depression issues. My dog is currently in India. I am planning on going there and bringing him back here after registering him as an ESA. What will be the procedure for this? Even though he will be travelling with me from India do I have to get the ESA letter from India or the US (on this site)?

    1. certapet

      The laws only apply within the United States, so I suggest you check with your air carrier prior to flying. If you have further questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

  48. Tiffany

    How much did that cost? My daughter lost her father a couple months ago and she now clings to our dog that was her father’s, but our property manager is making us get rid of him. I’m hysterical

    1. certapet

      The consultations range from $149 to $199 depending on what you are trying to achieve. Just take our quick 3-minute screening or email us at [email protected].

  49. Ashley

    I had an accident at the dog park. My animal bit the lady on her arm when she reached into the park. It was very late and my dog got scared. We have two little girls a 2 year old and 6 year old and they both pull on his face and jump on him and he’s very protective of us. And my apt is trying to kick us out or make me get rid of him. I have him registered as a emotional support dog. The manager is now reviewing and I don’t know if she will ask for a letter from a therapist. Help please

  50. Lynn

    My sister in law just got her Doberman registered after my brother died. She really depends on him like a member of the family. Got the dog certified, with a vest that says ESA. And a certificate stating everything.

      1. James

        those sites are FAKE, as this article has stated you don’t register your ESA. But by all means go ahead and send them money for nothing

  51. Jamie

    What is my right as a fellow renter of someone who gets an ESA a few months into our lease? I don’t want to make drama in our house but I really hate cats. Does the presence of an ESA make my lease void? I live in Chicago, if it varies depending on state.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Joly S.

      It doesn’t make your lease void as far as you living there is concerned, but if your fellow renter has a note from a licensed therapist or doctor, then they cannot be evicted any more than they can be evicted for getting pregnant or acquiring a disability (which is actually what an ESA is for). If you don’t like cats, you’re either going to have to get used to having a cat around (in my experience, ESA’s are among the best behaved animals out there) or find a new place. I don’t know about your state’s laws, but I don’t think it would count against you for leaving before your lease runs out. Point is the choice is yours. The real tragedy would be if either your the landlord conspired to break the law (the ADA) by conspiring to illegally evict the renter with the ESA.

      1. Alida

        If any animal can become an ESA , this statement is ridiculous ‘in my experience, ESA’s are among the best behaved animals out there’

        I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feeling out there but the ESA laws are really taking a dump on property owners who have clear ‘no pet’ rules in order to protect the upkeep of the homes, nice carpet, woodworking etc. I know that a lot people out have a special relationship with their animal but wouldn’t renting from a pet-friendly home be best? I know they’re scare, but if you can see if from the other other side of things, home upkeep is expensive and these ESA guidelines are scapegoating (hah a pun) all kinds of situations, like an ESA horse… you can take inside the house. Maybe the owner can can damage repaid later?… that’s must be a joke. Not happy about this 🙁 Thought I’d add my voice as an alternate opinion that maybe someone could relate to.

    1. minlee

      Miranda, there is no official registry for ESAs. Any landlord suggesting that has been mislead. According to the laws of HUD, the requirement is a letter from a licensed therapist. Our services provide you with the opportunity to be assessed by one within our network.

      1. Sahil

        Can you tell me what statute I can point to in CA? We have a letter already but the landlord is requesting a certificate for our dog stating that she is registered ESA. Please help

  52. Cindy

    I have a esa letter and I was trying to find out more information I was told by a friend we are not allow to leave our Pet at home while we work is it true?? I have been taking him everyday to my mom’s house because I was afford the apt complex I live in can use that against me and try to take him away from me

    1. minlee

      Cindy, your ESA does not have the same rights as a service animal that can typically accompany somebody to work. So the ability to keep your ESA at home should not be in question.

  53. Fredia j. Reynolds

    Have been having panic attacks and have high anxiety at stressful times.
    Recently purchased a dachshund puppy and semptoms have lessened,

  54. Diana

    I live in a building with 200 units and everyone almost has a dog, so me and my husband got a maltese poodle. The manager came at us with attitude saying that in a couple days he will need to see my dogs paper and the papers of the person he is attached to.

    I heard if your pet is an Emotional support animal tho they can not ask for papers…..
    Anyway we dont have doctor papers yet, my husband has ADD and a therapist, how can we ask his therapist for a letter to say our dog is emotional support for him? does ADD qualifies?

    I have anxiety and toc but I dont think I want to go to a therapist….

    1. certapet

      Shoot us an email at [email protected]. We can help connect you with a therapist 🙂

    2. JR

      If a person who has an ESA and a letter from doctor stating it is approved, but that pet dies can it be replaced with another pet of the same species without another letter?

    3. minlee

      Diana, we suggest that these questions be answered by your husband’s therapist. This would be the best resolution for you and your husband. We wish you luck in dealing with your ADD and anxiety…these are issues that many people deal with today so you are not alone.

  55. Brent

    Hello I have a German Sheppard puppy and I am moving. I was excepted to a apartment building that doesn’t allow Sheppard and wanted to no if I qualify to make her a service dog or esa. I have a substance abuse problem that I have battled for years. I have been sober for years but see a phsycitrist about it and she prescribe me suboxone to help my addiction among other thing’s it helps with my anxiety and stress. If she won’t right me a letter what do I do? Also I am curious does a service dog have to do task etc to be a service dog by law or just something expected but not really enforced.

    1. minlee

      Brent, I would first speak to your psychiatrist and see if she can address your need. Studies have found that an ESA can be beneficial as an organic supplement to prescription medication. Good luck Brent and we certainly wish you well.

      1. Cathy Anderson

        I hope you have a physiatrist who knows the difference of ESA and Service animals, or is willing to at least investigate the requirements of each because my shrink refused to even listen to me out the difference and said ” Do what others do ” I said are you kidding? I was sent to this shrink by my primary care to rule out “Hypochrondia” because my labs show low immunity and being seen by multiple Oncologist.
        If he refuses I would definatly use Certa-pet as they have resources for a therapist who will write a professional letter for you and the question are ask every possible mental health issues more than the pros I see, it takes a while to take the exam but well worth if you are qualified and the letter is emailed that day ( as I needed it asap to fly with my ferret) then I got it in mail. Can not recommend this company enough as “THEY CARE”

    2. Rie

      My pet is currently registered as an ESA through my university’s housing program, but I’m assuming that does not carry over to the real world for apartments and houses. I have a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Should I have both of them write a note to be safe? What should be included in said note?

  56. becy

    how many esa animals is a person allowed to have? when rules and regulations limit the number of animals allowed in an establishment?

  57. Chelsea Baines

    If I have already been living in my apartment for several months with no animal agreement with my landlord but I wish to have a cat for an ESA-what is the best way to approach this with my landlord once I get my letter? My apartment allows cats but requires a $300.00 deposit so I have recently asked my landlord if I can pay the deposit to change the terms of my lease to include a pet. He then told me that the deposit changed to $500.00, so I was thinking getting an ESA letter for a cat would be a good solution since I have actually been diagnosed with generalized anxiety. However, since I already asked my landlord if I could just pay the deposit how do I tell him the cat is an ESA, excluding me from paying the deposit?

    1. sweetb

      Just give him a copy of the ESA & have a print out of the laws, in case he questions it. There’s “NOTHING” he can do, no matter what he says,so don’t worry & don’t let him scare or bully you.

      Good luck…

        1. Joel a

          She’s obviously trying to for her will to get a pet against policy and avoid paying a deposit. This is the most over abused law there is.

          1. candace

            i think zantax is for acid reflux. anyway, you don’t know that she doesn’t have anxiety. she may and just hasn’t wanted to discuss/share with others or enforce the FHA due to pride. seems the landlord is who’s abusing policy to me.

  58. Janson Heathcott

    I purchased a condo with a no pet policy rule even though I have an emotional support animal. I’ve been suffering with somatization disorder for about 5 years now and I have been treated for about 2 years between seeing therapists and taking medication. I did not mention to the board in the co-op that I had an emotional support during my interview for 2 reasons, 1) I was afraid that would deny me just because I had an animal evan though it was an ESA. 2) They would want to know why I had an ESA and now i’d be forced to tell them about my mental disability which I feel is no one’s buisness but mine. I know that the board couldn’t deny me for those 2 reasons but they couldv’e made something else up to deny and not had to tell me. I waited a few weeks and I recently provided all documentation including doctors notes, psychiatrists note’s and the animals registration. Am I going to have a problem moving forward as I have heard that they are not to happy with me in the building. Thanks

  59. barbara

    I have a question i live in an association with the one pet rule i understand the difference between an esa and a pet. My question is we have an owner who has four dogs 2 are bull dogs and 2 are weiner dogs. They are trying to say one of them is a service dog it does nothing a service dog is suppose to do they say its for husbands PTSD that is not a service dog it is an esa. I have a small dog for my granddaughter and she wants another pet i am trying to tell her its against the rules and her reply is how come they have 4 dogs. What is my recourse that i would not get threatened by them calling the ADA. I am just trying to teach her that there are rules and laws that must be followed.

    1. certapet

      Thanks for your question. The ADA only applies to Service Dogs which are dogs who are trained to perform a specific task. Emotional Support Animals fall under the Fair housing Act which require a letter from a licensed mental health professional. If you have more specific questions, I would contact your local/state ADA or Fair Housing Assistance office.

  60. Sue

    there! I recently moved into a townhouse that does allow pets but at a costly fee ($750 per cat plus $75 a month added to rent PER cat). I just got a letter from my doctor allowing me to have my two cats as emotional support animals and have recently brought them home since I was waiting for the letter to bring them. Since my landlord already allows pets do I need to let her know that I have an ESA in my house or can I just let it be? Thanks!

  61. Pieper pieper

    No it has to be frim a licensed psychologist especially if you want to fly with your emotional support dog. I have an emotional support dog .It is getting harder and harder for people to fake their emotional support dog and it is about time. Those kind of people make people like us look bad. In order for someone to need an emotional support dog they have gone through some really tough stuff bringing on PTSD etc..

  62. Snow Frost

    I have ptsd and my cat was never trained for the job but he does an amazing job.

    And honestly no, people who have real service animals should not have to look else where for a pet house with a pet. It’s not like the person is going to push their animal on people.

    Also, you should really think about the people who need their service animals over people who don’t.

  63. Ladybug

    It’s really unfortunate that your roommate was a terrible human. He obviously was not fit to care for an animal. She was very lucky to have you to help her. Maybe you can try animal control?
    As for your argument against why this should be allowed, there are people who truly do depend on an animal for things like depression, anxiety, stress disorders, etc. I don’t think it infringes in anyone else’s rights. If someone in an apartment has allergies, they are in a separate home. It may be the same building but pet hair or dander will not affect them in their home. In addition, I’m looking to move out of state with my companion dog. Unfortunately apartments that I can afford do not allow pets. Apartments that do allow pets or do not have a weight restriction (my dog is 65lbs) are significantly out of my price range. Why does my mental health need to be sacrificed because of this?
    I’m not trying to be confrontational at all, just providing my insight on the topic! You seem like a very caring person!
    Background note: My dog is a very docile, 13 year old lab mix. She is truly my best friend. I recently went through a severe trauma and she provides me with more comfort than I could ever explain.

  64. Michelle Dawn Callard-stone

    You should contact animal control. The dog should be taken away from that guy and he should be prosecuted for animal neglect AND abusing the ESA law, which is likely a federal offense.

    1. Ben Lee

      CertaPet has a network of licensed mental health professionals to provide this assessment. If they deem that an ESA would benefit a person, a letter is issued

    2. Carla

      No. I was told by my attorney for disability case, not to bring up emotional disability – nor claim one on my case, since this can cause discrimination/other problems down the road…even if those would also be illegal. Sigh. You’d have to prove the reason for unfair treatment, etc. Never easy.

      Look at Doris Day Animal League’s site – there’s a 50+ page document free to download on the issue of pets, people and housing.

      A clinical social worker, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or MD could certify that the pet is needed for xyz benefits to your condition. Ex: elevates mood, reduces need for pain meds, increases activity, helps social anxiety, gives emotional support, reduces isolation, etc.

      As far as I know, states vary on accepting ESAs. Ex: Have had a number of clashes with social workers and property managers that refuse to concede the protected status applies to these as well as ‘trained’ animals. Therefore excluding that part of my expenses when calculating benefits!

  65. Alice

    I had a roommate who registered his dog that wasn’t even trained as an emotional support dog just so he wouldn’t have to pay for her to live here. He never took care of her. If it wasn’t for me she never would have gotten fed, taken for walks, etc. I didn’t even like dogs at first because I’ve only known mean ones that like to attack you. Anyway, I had to get used to her real fast because she needed me. The roommate who brought her was messed up everyday and just wanted something to play with and use basically. He never took care of her. Anyway, now he is moving to another apartment and she’s not going to be taken care of. Is there anyone to report this too?

    Also, why is it so easy for people to just go online and register for an emotional support certificate and then get everything for free? You do NOT need any professional here to get registered. At least he didn’t. He just got her registered so he wouldn’t have to pay to have a dog here.

    Also, what if someone has extreme allergies around animals and that is why they live in an apartment building with no pets? Or what if someone was mauled nearly to death by a dog and they just don’t want to live near dogs and that’s why they rent from a landlord who won’t accept pets? Why are the other people suppose to suffer just because someone gets there dog registered as emotional support? Shouldn’t they still have to find an apartment that accepts pets? It’s not really fair to anyone else. I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just bringing up a valid point. Not to mention that anyone can just say they are depressed, even to a therapist, and still have them right a letter. I’m not sure why the emotional support rights violate others rights… I mean I’m fine with it, but only if it does NOT infringe upon OTHER’s emotional and medical well being.

    1. Alice

      And by she wasn’t trained, I mean she wasn’t even potty trained. And he never trained her. There’s nothing wrong with him. He just neglected her constantly.

      Also there is a difference between service and emotional support. She’s not a service dog. And I’m not talking about service dogs in my post (I just know someone is going to start attacking me calling me terrible thinking I’m picking on disabled people or something). No. I’m strictly talking about emotional support pets.

      1. Jay

        Please! Contact animal control, a local shelter, even speaking to the police about the matter is much better than doing nothing.

        Registering an ESA for fraudulent purposes is illegal. And so is neglecting an animal, please get as much photo/video evidence as possible or even other witnesses.

        I wish you the best of luck, and hope to never see anyone else follow his scummy footsteps.

    2. Carla

      For the same reasons as service animals must be permitted. If the *minority* of neighbors in a given place have allergies that bad, which would be life threatening, considering the animal is in someone else’s flat/floor – request management make the first available apartment FAR from this animal, yours. OR politely explain, with medical proof, why you must break your lease. This is clearly as infrequent an issue as the ESA/service animal.

      Segregating handicapped persons for any reason other than immanent danger is *discriminatory* as much as refusing to rent to people with kids. Kids are as dirty, loud, and prone to damage property as animals are …this coming from a big city landlord. Like pets, kids are also often allowed to run wild. But we may not segregate them from polite society either. ESAs are no different.

      Consider types of housing open to the disabled/ill/elderly.

      Many cannot afford the generally more pricey pet-friendly places, or lack the references/good credit for them. You’ll find life is lived in a much smaller box when you lose much of your independence.

      1. sweetb

        Thank you for such a good explanation! Hopefully it doesn’t fall on deaf ears & she’s just immature & can learn from your explanation. I was tempted to scold, due to lack of how to explain. Though thinking either would fall on deaf ears. Nonetheless, an awesome explanation that may help me educate someone in the future.


  66. David

    Hi…my live in friend is getting an esa letter…I don’t believe I qualify for that…we each have our own dog…our HOA is telling us we need to get rid of one of our two dogs to obey their one-dog per condo limit. Will her esa letter settle this and allow us to keep both dogs since one will be an esa and the other will be the one pet we are allowed?

  67. Debbie

    Are ESAs allowed to walk at public parks I have been diagnosed with depression and try to take my dog to the park with me and get a lot of comments

    1. certapet

      ESAs are not protected under the ADA which means they are not protected in public places. However, some places do recognize ESAs so I would check with the venue before going there 🙂

  68. Linda Robinson

    Your information has brought me the first ray of light I have found in many months since my apartment manager told me that I could only have one ESA and not two ESA’s like I own–a male and female who are closely bonded and have had two sets of puppies together though they are both spayed now. Separating any of us would probably kill all of us and I have been in constant insecurity and anguish over the matter.today I read on your post that one is allowed to have more than one ESA providing the doctor clarifys this. Are you sure that the Fair Housing Act allows more than one ESA? I would appreciate so much your response and was so empowered by reading all of your posts. Again, thank you!

  69. Kaitlyn

    If i already am paying pet rent and paid a deposit but my therapist has now given me an esa letter because im in pain managment and have developed anxiety , would i just take the letter to leasing office so i would not pay pet rent going forward , i dont even know if i can do that , my anxiety about going out in public is so bad

  70. Dave

    My Home Owner’s association allows 1 small dog in the Condo we share. My girlfriend has a ESA letter for her small dog. The HOA is claiming that I need an ESA letter for my dog (which I can get as I’m Bi-polar but will need to go back to the doctor) in order to meet the rule. I would think that legally we only have 1 pet dog since hers is exempt…. am I right?

    1. certapet

      You are correct. The letter is for the person not the dog, therefore you would need to speak with a Licensed Mental Health Professional to see if they think an ESA would be beneficial to you.

  71. Ty

    sorry, but what reasons do people get esa’s for? i have anxiety and get very intense episodes of derealization, very often, so would it be appropriate if i got a esa? sorry i feel as if i need one, but i dont quite understand?

    1. Ben Lee

      Sounds to me like you would qualify for an ESA but I’m not a licensed mental therapist…you should try doing an assessment

  72. Amber

    I was hoping to find a personal ESA dog, for my RAAD(RAD), ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and Panic attacks, but I can’t seem to find a free organization.

  73. Iredd Viking


    Go to an ER. They will get you stable and release you with a plan. They cannot refuse you, even if you can’t pay. You will probably be there about a week. They can even write the letter for your dog while you are in there.

  74. Stephanie Pankratz

    My daughter & I both are seeing a therapist for a horrible trauma that has happened in our lives. We each have a potbellied pig that is a licensed emotional support pet. While moving our vehicle was hit, totalled & towed to a town that does not allow potbellied pigs to live within its limits. When i went to clean out our vehicle this towns shelter came to the moving truck & forcefully removed our 2 pigs, beating up my minor child to do so. I produced my paperwork but this did not stop them. They have now had our EMA’s for 8 months while waiting for it to go to court. The shelter manager refuses to allow us to even see them. After 6 months my daughters pet (only 3 yrs old and perfectly healthy) turns up dead in this shelter. They refuse to tell us how. They refuse to release his body for a necropsy. The emotional bond we had with him was so close that we are sure he died of a broken heart. He most likely thought we had given him up. My question is: What are our rights? Didnt we have a right to have these pets with us? Dont we have a right to visit them? How is it possible that at a time when we need our ESA’s the most they are being kept from us? Im just beside myself with grief & don’t know where to turn for help. Do we have any rights in this matter?

    1. nonymouse

      This made me cry. I hope you find a lawyer, because what they did to you is illegal.) (I am disabled also, and am crying over this, as I absolutely need my support animal so much. I am soooo sorry that happened to you) and beyond being illegal, and very cruel: bullying , breaking the law, and stealing someone’s animal is criminal, isn’t it?

      …Doesn’t the sheriff shoot the men that steal another mans horse?? 🙂

  75. Michael Wolfe

    I cannot afford a fee of 200 dollars but get great relief from stress due to a recent job loss.. Can i certify my cat for free anywhere?

  76. Tina

    I once stayed at a hotel in New Jersey that would not honor my doctors note and had me pay the pet fee. I told them I had never before had to pay a pet fee with my emotional support dog. They said I would have to have a special letter from their state of New Jersey. I live in Connecticut so I did not understand that logic and just paid the fee.

    1. Elias

      Emotional Support Animals are protected under the FHA for fair housing and renting, and the Airline Acess Act, to take them on plans… hotels and restraunts and public or private areas do not need to allow your animal in at all… you could only take your animal there because that hotel allows dogs and you must pay a fee, it has nothing to do with your doctors note. The ADA protects SERVICE animals and these rights are granted to them and their owners… a service animal is not a support animal

  77. Jessie

    Is it possible to have 2 emotional support animals while living in an apartment? I have 2 dogs that have been with me since I was a child and they support me while I go through periods of depression and anxiety.

  78. Ashleigh Anderson

    My aunt has a cat that’s registered as her Esa. He’s primarily an indoor cat but likes to venture outdoors on occasion. Her land lord gave her the demand that the cat has to go or she has to move. I now have her cat at my house but want to find a way to get him back to her. Is the landlord allowed to force her to get rid of her cat?

    1. certapet

      Emotional Support Animals are different than Service Animals and are not afforded protection under the American Disabilities Act. Emotional Support Dogs are only protected by the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act which means you can not bring them in stores.

      1. Mary

        I do not know how to comment as a new topic, so I apologize for asking in this manner. If you have a cat who is NOT declawed, and is an ESA, can housing require that the cat be declawed if you want to move in to a new place?

        1. certapet

          I would speak with a lawyer that specializes in Fair Housing Act cases. They will be able to let you know what reasonable accommodation encompasses for Emotional Support Cats.

      2. Sharon

        We have a tenant who has brought in 9 animals, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 1 bird, 2 fish with 2 aquariums. She has gotten 2 dr notes. 1st one said she needed an emotional support animal. 2nd note stated she needed 4 cats. We think it is UNREASONABLE TO HAVE 9 animals in a 2 bed. 1 bath. apt. Her original lease said 2 dogs only.
        She only got the 2 dr. notes after we discovered the 9 animals, and asked for pet fees. Do we have to allow her to keep 9 animals? under the FHA or the ADA. We are in Los angeles, CA.
        Also her lease, said you can’t bring in extra animals without 1st notifying owner and getting our approval, which she never did. Please help or refer us to an agency, tel #. Thank you.

    2. Mary Angela Santella

      Yes, my emotional service dog goes everywhere with me. I carry all of her papers in the pouch on her vest to show when I am questioned and once I pull them out and tell them I will call the ADA I am left alone and we go shopping.

  79. dave varez

    I have read that airlines are veifying ESA letters and sometimes requiring a followup letter with additional info .

    Is this the case , and if so can you provide added info requested?
    If so , is there a charge for an airline requested followup letter?

    1. certapet

      Our software platform does allow you to work with the Therapists to receive follow-on services. Depending on the scope of the follow-on service there may or may not be a charge for their time. Give us a call at (844) 272-9391 or email us at [email protected] so we can address your question and airline specifically.

  80. Lisa

    Christian, talk with your insurance – you need to know your options and get your baby back! You also need to find a way to see a doctor as mental struggles are something to be taken very seriously. I hate taking pills too but I take 6 a day. I’ve attempted suicide and suffer from severe depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, and PTSD and I would rather take pills than end my life. My fur babies help me through my low times too. Get yours back! Maybe try a go-fund-me page? Sell things online? Find ways to cut back on spending? Get a roommate? Your mental health should be priority!!!

  81. Alexis

    I need help with this as well. I live in Houston,Texas and several years ago I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. I’m trying to find out how to get my dog ceritified as an emotional support animal. He seems to be the only thing in my life that makes me happy and I wouldn’t wanna live without him. The apartment complex I live in is giving me all kinds of crap and I just want this to all be over with.

    1. certapet

      Send us an email at [email protected]. We have therapists within the network that should be able to help you our 🙂

  82. Lesa P Gonzalez

    Not true. Hotels allow emotional support animals, with a letter. I have stayed at a few. They do not charge extra.

      1. Brian

        I just wanna throw out there, for anybody reading this, that when we travel we always stay at Motel 6 because pets stay free. We have two larger dogs and never had to pay anything. Only problem is that Motel 6 is sometimes hit and miss on quality and cleanliness.

  83. Bonnie speck

    A few years ago, a federal act requires insurance companies to treat all disabilities the same including mental health and substance abuse. But you have to call Blue Cross/ Blue Shield and ask for a list of preferred providers. And often they have a separate department to process the claims.

  84. Bryanna

    I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety & depression( by a doctor) for a few years. Because I am in college in another state I no longer see my normal doctor and haven’t in a year. I am not set to a specific health care professional currently. Is there a way I can still get ESA approval without traveling to my old doctor?

    1. certapet

      what state do you currently live in? If we have a Licensed Mental Health Professional in that state we can connect you with the so they can work with you to determine if an Emotional Support Dog would be beneficial to you. You can respond here or email us at [email protected].

  85. Laura johnson

    Karen yes your primary doctor can be very helpful. They will need to type up a simple letter. How long you have been seeing the Dr.,a brief description of the physical and mental issues you have. An emotional support dog would benefit you. He doesn’t have to give a deep report. Then you find emotional support dog registrations on the web . you pick one out and register your dog its really easy if you follow the steps

  86. Laura johnson

    Christian,so sorry your feeling so many different emotions. Try finding out if the town you live in has a mental health care facility. They have to provide free care to those who can’t afford to pay. You can even get your meds from them. I know this because I have done this. I also had the shrink write a letter explaining I was under his care for so long and a brief summary of my physical and mental problems. He also wrote that an emotional support dog would benefit me. I then found a site on the web and registered my dog. She has an I.d, and can go anywhere I go. With this you Do not have to pay your landlord a pet deposit. As a service animal is a neccity for you good health .you can already use your own dog. Please don’t allow anybody to push you around this is your right to have an emotional.support dog

  87. Ana Conde

    I gave all the documentation to the condominium Association where I’m renting an apartment: the registration as a ESA and the doctor letter from his psychologist. We are from Portugal and my son, with 12 years old, needs his dog because of his depression. We live in Miami but we go twice times of year to Portugal and all of his doctors are there. When we go he have appointments with all of them. Specially with the psychologist when he needs he have appointments via Skype.
    So, I gave to the condominium a letter from his portuguese psychologist, translated to English, attesting his depression and his needs in having the dog with him.
    Now they answer me that they not approve the dog, because they want a letter from a Florida doctor. This is not legal because the law is federal and says that the letter should be from his/her doctor. I’m I right or wrong? I’m psychologist and I think this is correct.
    And what about the fees? The owner already agreed with the dog and don’t ask me anything. But the condominium association can ask fees?
    Thank you!

  88. Karen

    If my primary Doctor is the one who prescribes my depression medication, can she be the one to complete a ESA letter?

    1. certapet

      If your primary care physician is a licensed mental health professional than Yes, they can write you an Emotional Support Animal Letter. Email us ask [email protected] if you have any more questions or concern.

  89. Christian

    I have severe anxiety, depression, anger issues, and I am slightly bipolar. I don’t have the money to really go to any Srink, I have Blue Cross Blue Shield as my insurance and I am unsure if they cover going to a shrink. I only have 1 free doctor appointment a year, I just recently moved and had to leave my dog behind. She helped me greatly with my anxiety and depression which kept my anger at bay. I want to get her out her as my ESA Dog. But I am unsure of what all go I through. I would already have her out here but the pet deposit is too high and I cannot afford that. I am just graduating high school and my panic attacks are getting worse by the week almost day. I am able to make the outside look calm to a point, but when I get home I have to lock myself in my room and my body shuts down as I freak out in my mind. My mood swings are also becoming worse in the last few weeks too. How can I get a certification to get her out here and not have to pay the outrageous pet deposit?
    Like I said I don’t really even have the 60$ to go to a normal Shrink to try and do that. I don’t want to take pills, I hate taking any types of pills no matter what. I feel so lost and in need of having my dog again that it is throwing me completely off and it is hard to keep a brave face anymore.
    What can I do?!

    1. certapet

      I am not sure whether Blue Cross Blue Shield covers Therapy but I suggest you contact your insurance provider to see whether or not they will cover a therapists or a psychiatrist. After that, I would contact a therapist or psychiatrist in your area to see if they are familiar with Emotional Support Animals and their benefits. Since we do not take insurance we will not be able to help you unless you are willing to pay cash for your Emotional Support Dog consultation.

  90. Mary Beadle

    I have a letter from my doctor stating my need for an ESA. Does the fair housing act cover hotels? The hotels that allow pets charge large fees for them, more than would be needed for additional cleaning after check out. A refundable deposit could also be requested to cover any damage the pet might cause. But what many of them charge so much that a person may not be able to afford the hotel.

  91. Cat

    How “Service Animal” Is Defined
    Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
    This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
    Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Info about such laws can be obtained from state attorney

  92. Lauren

    The apartments I am moving to allow pets but they have outrageous fees/deposits/pet rent. I have severe anxiety. If I qualify for an ESA, will this letter prevent the apartment complex from charging me all of those fees and stuff?

    1. certapet

      If approved by a Licensed Mental Health Professional, you would be covered by the Fair Housing Act which would protect your Emotional Support Dog from being subject to pet fees and pet deposits. If you have more questions feel free to contact us via chat or email at [email protected].

  93. Alexandra

    I already have a letter from my therapist saying that my dog is my ESA. Besides that letter, do I need anything else? If somebody stops me, and wants to see proof, do I simply have to show them that letter?

    1. certapet

      The only thing you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional for your Emotional Support Dog to be recognized as an ESA. Hope that helps!

  94. Dustin

    Just moved in to a new apartment complex, and upon request provided documentation of a disability from the mental health professional. Can the apartments ask for a separate document that they “need for their records”?

  95. Cole

    So I got my dog certified as an emotional support animal. I gave my landlord a doctors note and the ESA certification. She is now saying that the doctors note was not specific enough and wants to know more information. Is this aloud?

  96. Sherri Hawkins

    I have epilepsy i need my dog he makes me feel comfortable in new situations and i have better consintration he’s to young to be trained as a service dog can i have his as an esa

    1. certapet

      It sounds like your dog may qualify as an Emotional Support Animal. I suggest you take our assessment and pay for a consultation so that a Licensed Mental Health Professional can help you determine if an Emotional Support Dog would be the best option for you. If you have other questions email us at [email protected].

  97. Kailin

    Just a note, a service dog can be used for psychological disorders. The biggest difference between service dogs and emotional support dogs is that service dogs do specific tasks to mitigate their handlers disability. It has nothing to do with what the disability is. ESAS are for emotional support but do not so trained tasks to mitigate disability.

  98. Lori Ritter

    I’m in the same boat as Jamie. I do not rent, and I don’t fly. I have panic and anxiety disorders. I did register my small dog as an ESA. He brings me great relief when I’m experiencing one of the above. But if I can not take him places with me, what good is he doing me, him having to stay at home?

  99. Clem Kaddilehopper

    I own an apartment complex . I charge everyone else a pet fee. People with a “need” for an emotional support animal are exempt from this fee.

    If a person required oxygen to live, would we expect the local provider to give them oxygen?

  100. A Mutt

    No, they can’t. Please call the ADA , look for the one about the ADA and the federal law. read about section 504. It states clearly that a service animal, any breed, even a pit bull, they can’t discriminate, as long as you have a doctors letter, call Ada and have them send you these papers and a sample letter for your doctor to sign, then you can register, if you like with Nsarco, that way the dog can go anywhere, even travel and is registered as a service dog, protected by FHA, justice department.. Etc. they must acomodate or will be in violation of federal law. there are two different service animals, one is a dog that provides service to the blind or someone with seizure disorder, or someone in a wheel chair, then there is an emotional support animal (ESA), that provides a service like companion, or someone with a psychological disorder, etc. The second does not require too much . You can obtain papers from ADA or print out from that web site. You need letter from Doctor first, then register.. Last present letter to your landlord, they know the law. Good luck.

  101. Pam Ewing

    We live in Missouri and No one will rent to us because my son who has cerebral palsy has a pit bull as his esa. They keep saying that it is a restricted breed for there property. Can they do that?

  102. Sue

    My mboyfriend and I have been looking to move and we have a dog we got him 3 years ago when he was only 8 weeks old . My boyfriend struggles daily with mental health issue. Our dog is an American terrier ( pit) and Catahoula border collie no one will rent to us because of the pit in him. After researching emotional pet animals I called my boyfriends Dr and today I pick the letter up. Such a great program for people with disabilities!

  103. Tyler Meredith

    It’s interesting that there are specific rules and guidelines how people with disabilities and these dogs should be treated. My sister has been in a wheelchair for a long time and I think she could use a support dog. I’ll have to look into more of the rules and guidelines along with how to certify a dog. Thanks for the post!

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