Are you thinking of getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio? ESAs are great for people with mental health issues as they help them cope with their day-to-day life and reduce anxiety levels. Military veterans, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many more would benefit from this human-animal bond.
In the state of Texas, ESAs and their owners are protected by two fool-proof laws. One of them regards housing, and the other air traveling. Keep reading to find out more.
Emotional Support Animal in San Antonio: Specific Protection
Owners of an emotional support animal in San Antonio can rest assured, as their state guarantees that they are protected by two laws. The first one is the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and it gives ESA owners the opportunity to live with their companion animals in rented units. The second is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which allows emotional support animal to travel inside an airplane’s cabin.
Definition of Assistance Animal
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are assistance animals. Since they provide their owners with emotional comfort and help them deal with their disabilities, they fit into this category. Because of this, there are laws in place to protect ESAs and their owners.
But emotional support animals aren’t the only assistance animals out there. Service animals fit into this category as well. They help their owners in their day-to-day life to move better and they perform tasks for them. Unlike emotional support dogs, service dogs perform tasks such as opening and closing doors on command. Think of seeing-eye dogs or guide dogs to get a clearer picture.
Service dogs receive training to help people with disabilities. They’re covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), while ESAs are not. The two are very different, and the laws that protect them are not the same.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in San Antonio: CertaPet’s simple 5-minute process
Getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio has never been easier thanks to CertaPet. We handle all the paperwork and the boring part of this whole process.
The first thing you need to do is to find out whether or not you qualify as an emotional support animal owner. You can take our free, 5-minute pre-screening test, which will tell you if you can become an ESA owner or not. It won’t take more than five minutes and it will ask you some personal questions.
If you get approved, we’ll put you in contact with a licensed mental health professional in your area. They will be the ones issuing your ESA letter and send it to you. In some cases, the whole process takes only 48 hours!
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) states that ESAs are allowed to travel with their owners without them being charged an extra fee. This means that if you’re getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio you can bring them on your next plane ride! To be covered by the law, you will have to do these three things:
- Give your chosen airline a notice of at least 48 hours prior to boarding.
- Bring your emotional support letter, as issued by your mental health professional, with you.
- Check whether your chosen airline asks for any other documents and, if they do, bring them with you.
Unfortunately, emotional support dogs aren’t covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that employers aren’t obligated to provide reasonable accommodation for ESAs.
However, you can always try convincing your employer that bringing your ESA to work would have a positive impact on your productivity. This would work on a case-by-case basis, so don’t forget to show your ESA letter to your employer!
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
If you’re getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio and you’re renting a unit, you’re in luck. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) states that ESAs can live with their owners even in properties that have a no-pets policy. Landlords must provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and their ESAs. They also can’t charge a pet fee on top of the stipulated rent. This even applies to assisted-living facilities!
To be protected by the Fair Housing Act, all you need to do is show your housing provider your ESA letter if they ask. As long as you do this and you guarantee that your ESA won’t be aggressive to your neighbors, you won’t be denied housing.
ESA Campus Housing
Students living in on-campus housing are also protected by the Fair Housing Act. This applies to all students who are living in residence halls. As long as you show your housing providers your valid ESA letter, the FHA will be on your side. You should also make sure that your ESA won’t be unruly or a nuisance to other students.
Exception to Rules
Getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio is not all having rights, you also have to comply with the rules. There are some instances when the FHA and the ACAA won’t apply to you. These are the cases you should be looking out for:
- If you don’t show your ESA letter to your airline or landlord, you won’t be allowed to board or to rent a place with your ESA.
- Neglecting your emotional support animal can lead to the state intervening and taking them away.
- If your ESA does any damage to property, you will have to foot the bill.
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
Passing off a pet as an assistance animal in San Antonio and in the state of Texas has serious consequences. If you are caught doing this, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and you will pay a fine that can go up to $300. In addition to all this, you will also be subject to up to 30 hours of community service.
There are 20 other states that have decided to apply criminal charges to those who misrepresent assistance animals. If getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio, Texas isn’t that difficult, why not do it the legal way and save money?
5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
Here are some of the most noteworthy facts that you should know before getting an emotional support animal in San Antonio:
- ESAs are neither pets, nor therapy animals, nor service animals. They are a unique category of animals with their own laws and requirements.
- You don’t need to get a dog as your ESA. You can opt for an emotional support cat or even a miniature horse!
- Emotional support animals don’t need to wear a dog vest or be trained by professional dog trainers.
- Only licensed mental health professionals can prescribe patients ESAs and issue these letters.
- There’s no such thing as an “ESA registration” or an “ESA certification.” They don’t hold up in court and have no legal binding.
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
The best part about the ESA letter being awarded to the patient and not the animal is that you have the freedom to choose your new companion. Virtually any animal you feel a connection with will do, as long as they’re one of the animals accepted as an ESA.
If you have a pet at home, they could become your emotional support animal. If you don’t, there are plenty of places looking for owners for their furry residents. You should check if there are animal shelters or a non-profit organization in your area looking to give new homes to dogs and cats. You’d be giving an abandoned animal a new chance at life and getting a life companion all in one go!
Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal
Everyone knows that dogs love to go out on walks with their owners and explore the city they live in. Well, why not satisfy their wish? One of the coolest things about San Antonio is that it’s a great city to be a dog owner. There are restaurants, parks, and even stores that welcome dogs.
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Bring your dog to a grassy area and let them run around and get some exercise in at one of these dog parks:
- Phil Hardberger Dog Park
- Tom Slick Dog Park
- Brackenridge Park
- Comanche Lookout Park
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
If you’re grabbing a bite to eat or going out for a drink, you can bring your furry pal along to these places:
- The Cove
- Gazebo Restaurant at Los Patios
- Two Bros BBQ Market
Resorts, Fitness, and Spas
Holidays are always better when you can bring your dog. Luckily, if you’re visiting San Antonio, you can both stay at one of these hotels:
- La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio
- Hotel Contessa Riverwalk
- Emily Morgan Hotel
San Antonio doesn’t lack in interesting dog-dedicated events. There are dozens of them taking place in the city year-round. All you need to do is Google or Facebook search them. You’ll come across lots of upcoming events going on around you in San Antonio!
An example of just how awesome some of they are is the Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours. They are open to dogs and their owners and have been rated highly by visitors who have participated in them.
ESAs in San Antonio: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
CertaPet makes this process simple and smooth. You won’t have to worry about bureaucracy or looking up a licensed mental health professional on the yellow pages. We handle all that for you! See if you qualify for an emotional support animal with CertaPet and get an ESA in San Antonio, Texas!