In recent years, the idea of having a pet for the purposes of emotional support has increased significantly, as people are seeing the advantages of owning such animals. With the rise in emotionally-fueled animal ownership, the desire to attain an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Certification has simultaneously skyrocketed.
As this demand has increased, and the online realm sees the benefit of making money from this trend, many false scams, and illegitimate ESA services have arisen claiming that they provide credible letters for your pet. However, the fact is, that just about all of these companies do not provide legitimate documentation, as this can only be acquired for a licensed medical health professional. In order to ensure that you don’t fall for these scams, and acquire the proper letters, there are certain ways to go about attaining the certification:
Make Sure You Qualify
Getting the ESA certification is not as easy as many online services tend to make it sound like. A legitimate letter means that you need to have a real and valid reason to be granted one, which can come in a variety of forms. Generally speaking, the person who is trying to attain the letter would need to have some extent of emotional or psychological debilitation, in which their animal is able to ameliorate due to the support and companionship that it provides.
Some of these disorders include learning disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, Bipolar disorder, gender identity, cognitive disorders, and various other challenges that an individual may be facing. Without having a legitimate reason to acquire the letter, many legitimate doctors may refrain from providing you with one, unless they are able to target and diagnose the problem.
Visit a Medical Professional
Whatever you do, do not attempt to get your ESA certification online. The illegitimacy can cause complications when traveling and taking the animal certain places, causing unneeded stress and headaches. When it comes to the options of what kinds of medical professionals you can seek an ESA from, the choices are limited to specific people who are licensed mental health experts, which allow them to properly identify and determine whether or not an ESA letter will be of benefit to you. Whether a psychologist, therapist, or other certified mental health professional, these individuals will be able to diagnose the extent or onset of emotional disability that could be resolved with an emotional support animal.
Make Sure Your Animal Qualifies as an ESA
Whether or not you already have a pet that you want to designate for emotional support, the laws and regulations that apply in this context are fairly broad, and so a wide range of animals will qualify for the letter. Upon being determined by your mental health professional that you need to have an animal for purposes of support and comfort, next is ensuring that the animal will qualify, and is relevant when looking at options for traveling and housing. The pet can be any form of a domesticated animal, including but not limited to: dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, mini pigs, ferrets, and an array of other animals.
Another benefit that makes qualifying your animal an ESA is the fact that they do not require any formal training. This means so long as the animal is well-behaved and always under the control of the owner, then they are able to be qualified for the ESA certification.
It should also be kept in mind that the comfort and convenience of the animal are intact, as having an unusual animal can cause complications for the pet’s health. Keep in mind your limitations, such as the size of housing, your financial capabilities, and time constraints that come with owning an animal, in order to determine what kind of pet is going to fit best with your lifestyle. This is the most effective way to find an animal that truly will act as an emotional support companion, and is relevant in providing the support that you need.
Ensuring All Information is on Your Letter
One issue that often arises is the fact that people overlook some of the pertinent details that must be explicit in the documentation, many of which are not provided by the online services. When getting the letter from your mental health professional, there are certain aspects that must be clearly expressed in the document in order for many airlines or landlords to accept it under legal standards. These identifying factors include the licensing number and expiration date of the medical professional’s license to practice, must be printed on a professional letterhead, the specific mental disability that the animal is assisting, the date of issue for the letter, as well as other important aspects that allow institutions to determine that the animal truly is a legitimate ESA.
Without these important factors, airlines or landlords, and others can refuse to recognize your animal as a legitimate ESA under the many guidelines that protect owners. Many examples and stories of individuals provide insight into the challenges and problems they have come across when they were attempting to use an unknowingly fabricated ESA letter as legitimate, which has caused many to have to take extreme measures such as canceling flights, vacations, and restricting them access to certain housing opportunities that they would have otherwise qualified for.
Overall, when looking at the process that one must undergo in order to attain a credible and legitimate Emotional Support Animal letter, it is clear that it is fairly straightforward, yet abundant with nuances that need to be looked out for. Whether this includes avoiding the online scams that are so prevalent on the web these days or ensuring that the mental health professional you are going to can provide the full details and documentation needed, keeping an eye out for these specific components can make the process far more efficient. Once these factors are taken care of, getting the ESA letter will allow you to rest assured that you and your animal are protected against unfair and discriminatory actions.
All California patients can obtain an ESA letter online or in-person by calling EZCare Medical clinic (415) 966-0848.
Get Your Emotional Support Animal Prescription from a licensed ESA clinic. Click here to apply.