ESA Weekly News Report February 12th: Family Fights for Son’s Emotional Support Chickens and More!

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emotional support dog dachshund reading esa weekly news paper on beach

We’re bringing you another edition of emotional support animal news. This time, we’re covering one pending ESA law update and asking for your comments on a very important subject. Grab your morning cup of coffee, sit down, and get caught up with us!

Florida Family Fights for Child’s Emotional Support Chickens

Cole Wildasin is a nine-year-old Florida resident with six unusual companions: “emotional support” chickens. He has been struggling in school due to his ADHD and dyslexia. But thanks to his friendly hens, he gets out of bed every morning full of energy for a (challenging) day.

The Wildasin couple adopted the young boy when he was just a baby. He had suffered in an abusive home and was left with traumatic brain injuries. Since then, Cole has been growing up healthily and happily. Especially now that he can count on his hens to give him emotional support every day.

Last summer, the family moved from Pennsylvania to St. Augustine Beach, Florida. Soon after that, the police were called by some residents complaining about the chickens. Since St. Augustine is an urban dwelling, hens are not allowed there. Thus, the chickens had to be moved.

The Wildasins asked the city council to reconsider their decision because of their son’s condition. They showed officials letters from Cole’s doctors and mental health professionals attesting to the boy’s disabilities and the healing power of the chickens. At first, the board voted unanimously to allow the emotional support chickens to remain with Cole.

However, a neighbor to the Wildasin family appealed the decision claiming the documents the board received were “forged.” Now, the case will move to the City Commission, where a final decision will be made.

The family told media outlets that these aren’t any regular hens. They help Cole focus and live a well-balanced life. They’ve taught him about responsibility and bring him joy every day.

girl with emotional support chickens in field


We Need Your Comments on a New ESA Law!

At the end of January, we reported that the Department of Transportation is moving to ban ESAs from flights. It’s been a little under three weeks since these plans were announced.

If this law is passed, emotional support animals won’t fly in the cabin of commercial flights anymore. They’ll be downgraded to “pet” status and have to travel in the cargo compartment. Owners will also have to pay pet fees, which can cost upwards of $100 each way.

The DOT is still waiting to hear your opinion on the matter. A decision will only come after the agency takes into account citizen’s views. You can leave a comment and read more about it on the Regulations website.

asian woman sitting on bed with her emotional support dog pug

CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

Cole Wildasin is such a strong boy: he deserves to keep his emotional support chickens around. We hope the City Commission does the right thing and take this request seriously. We don’t recommend getting an emotional support chicken. Instead, we recommend cats, dogs, and the occasional bunny to avoid legal issues such as this one. But if an emotional support hen is what will help Cole live happily and healthily, we’re all for it!

On another note, we urge you to comment on the proposed DOT law change. If passed, the new rules will harm millions of Americans with mental and emotional disabilities. There are ways of putting a stop to fake ESAs, but stripping legitimate ESA owners of their rights is not it.

If you or anyone you know suffers from a mental illness or emotional condition, take CertaPet’s free online pre-screening to see whether you may qualify for an ESA. If you do, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in your state and you could have your ESA letter in no time!

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