WHAT IS AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA)?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a person’s pet that has been prescribed by a person’s licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist (any licensed mental health professional). The animal is part of the treatment program for this person and is designed to bring comfort and minimize the negative symptoms of the person’s emotional/psychological disability.
WHAT ANIMALS QUALIFY TO BE AN ESA?
All domesticated animals may qualify as an ESA (cats, dog, and birds) and they can be any age (young puppies and kittens, too!). These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person’s psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog. The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the home setting.
HOW TO QUALIFY
For a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA), he/she must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.), as evidenced by a properly formatted prescription letter. Some airlines and property managers will accept a verification form completed by a family doctor, however.
The letter should state that:
You are currently his/her patient
Are under his/her care for the treatment of mental disability found in the DSM IV or V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 or 5).
Your disability substantially limits at least one major life activity
He/she prescribes for you an emotional support animal as a necessary treatment for your mental health.
In addition, the letter must be dated, written on his/her letterhead, include his/her license type, number, date of license, and state in which the license was issued.
WHAT ARE YOUR LEGAL PROTECTIONS AND RIGHTS?
The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Dept. of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382, Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 are the laws that protect an emotionally disabled person and his/her ESA.
The legal protections an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) has are to:
Fly with its emotionally or psychologically disabled handler in the cabin of an aircraft without being charged a pet fee.
Qualify for no-pet housing (that also includes limited size, breed, or species housing) without being charged a pet fee.
No other public or private entity (motels, restaurants, stores, trains, taxis, busses, theatres, parks, beaches, libraries, zoos, etc.) is required to allow your ESA to accompany you and in all other instances, your ESA has no more rights than a pet. That means they aren’t protected by law to accompany you into any public place that does not allow pets. That doesn’t mean these places won’t let you, it just means that they are not required to, by law.
HOW WILL MY LANDLORD OR PROPERTY MANAGER BE ABLE TO VERIFY MY LETTER?
Your landlord or property manager can verify your letter by emailing Pet Psych Center firstname.lastname@example.org
DO YOU ACCEPT MEDICAL INSURANCE?
Unfortunately due to the difficult nature of being reimbursed by insurance companies for emotional support animal exams, we regret that we are not able to accept medical insurance at this time. In light of this, we have tried our best to make the approval process as easy and as affordable as possible.
WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD ABOUT THIS TYPE OF SERVICE BEFORE?
Believe it or not, Emotional Support Animals have been legally recognized by the US government since the late 1980′s. Up until recently, ESA’s have been flying under the radar due to a lack of knowledge of the Fair Housing Amendment Act. Over the last four years, the media has really put ESA’s in the National spotlight with many articles educating people on the merits of ESA’s.
Pet Psych Center HOW WE PROTECT AND USE CUSTOMER INFORMATION
1. We begin by safeguarding the security and integrity of customer information.
We are committed to protecting the security and integrity of customer information through procedures and technology designed for this purpose. For example:
We limit employee access to customer information to those who have a business reason to know this information. Employees are required to honor our code of conduct, which includes standards to protect customer confidentiality. They are subject to disciplinary action if they fail to do so.
We maintain policies and procedures covering the proper physical security of our retail store, website and all records.
Our physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards meet or exceed federal standards regarding the protection of customer information
We require outside companies (banks, etc.) who work with us to adhere to strict privacy standards through their contracts with us.
We use technological means (such as backup files, virus detection and eradication software, firewalls, and other computer software and hardware) to protect against unauthorized access or alterations to customer data.
2. We collect and maintain customer information as part of providing better service to you and enhancing your relationship with us.
In the course of serving you, we collect only the information you provide to us during the ordering and checkout process.
3. We do not share information with outside parties who may wish to market their products to you.
We only disclose the information we collect with the credit card companies and the gateway used to access them
We do not share or otherwise disclose any personal information, including your name, address, telephone, or email addresses with other organizations. Only specific Pet Psych Center staff and our authorized agents have access to personally identifiable information provided by visitors to our site.
4. Browser information collected on our website:
As with all websites, Pet Psych Center analyzes our website logs to constantly improve the value of our website. We generate and assess a variety of reports that include page views, unique views, unique visitors, repeat visitors, frequency of visits, and peak-volume traffic periods. We do not use this service to gather, request, record, collect, or track any Internet users’ personally identifiable information.
5. Personalization of Content:
6. Privacy of our email lists:
Pet Psych Center maintains an email list for our Newsletter. Individuals must opt in to request to join our mailing lists. We do not share the email addresses on our lists with anyone outside of Pet Psych Center. We configure our list server software to refuse to divulge the email addresses of our list subscribers to anyone but authorized staff. Only Pet Psych Center staff and our authorized agents have access to personally identifiable information provided by visitors to our site.
7. Children’s privacy:
Because we care about the safety and privacy of children online, we comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). COPPA and its accompanying FTC regulation establish United States federal law that protects the privacy of children using the Internet. We do not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under 13. Our site is not intended to solicit information of any kind from children under 13 years old, and we have designed our sites to block our knowing acceptance of information from children under 13 whenever age-related information is requested. It is possible that by fraud or deception we may receive information pertaining to children under 13 years old. If we are notified of this, as soon as we verify the notification, we will immediately obtain parental consent or otherwise delete the information from our servers.
We use industry-standard encryption technologies when transferring and receiving financial data from our site. In addition, we have appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss or misuse of information at our site that we have collected from you.
FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1988
Click here to learn about the Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988.
AIR CARRYING ACT OF 1986
Click here to learn about the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986.