If you rely on an emotional support animal (ESA), you might have been in situations were your ESA’s validity was questioned. Although ESA owners don’t have the same rights as service dog owners when it comes to public places, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does protect ESA owners in terms of housing and traveling. In this post, you’ll learn more why you want to register an ESA dog with online services and how ESA qualifications differ from service animal certification.
Is It Required to Register Your ESA?
There are no legal requirements regarding ESA registration. As long as you have a prescription letter, landlords, busses, airplanes, trains, and other transportation agencies can’t deny you housing or transportation or charge extra fees. However, registering your dog or other emotional support pet eliminates hassles and gives credibility to your claim that your pet is an ESA.
What Is a Prescription Letter?
This is a statement from your doctor or licensed counselor on their official letterhead that states your need for an emotional support dog. The letter must also contain the counselor or physician’s contact information and their signature. You can get a prescription letter in person or online through mental health organization that offer telecounseling services.
Will I Need the Prescription Letter to Register by Dog?
If you register with one of the online registry services, you’ll need to provide a copy of this letter. The letter must have been signed and dated within the last 12-months. However, service dog registration doesn’t require a prescription letter.
Perks of ESA Registration
As mentioned earlier, registration eliminates confusion and makes it easier to have your rights protected in certain places. Registering with an online service means your ESA’s information can be pulled up on the spot and shown to housing or transportation agencies that may question your claim. You’ll also have an ID card that supports your need for your ESA dog. Legally, you don’t have to produce any ID card, only the prescription letter. However, many ESA dog owners find that it’s beneficial to have this on them at all times.
Another perk of registering your ESA dog is that it’s a one-time process. You don’t have re-submit your registration every year. You get lifetime registration and inclusion in the National Online Service Dog database.
To learn more about how to register an ESA dog, visit ESA and service dog registry services online.