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The use of emotional support animals (ESA) has been a hot button topic in recent years. Thanks to wide-spread abuse, individuals who suffer from debilitating mental or emotional disabilities may find themselves in a situation where they need to know their rights under California and Federal law.  Understanding the basic rules governing service dogs or support animals will allow you to be better prepared should any issue arise.

What is an emotional support animal?

While many people confuse support animals with service animals, it is important to note that they are different. A service dog provides the owners with a particular trained skill such as a visually impaired individual or someone that is blind or needs assistance with physical activities require a service animal. In contrast, animals that provide a therapeutic response would be considered a support animal.  A dog or other common domesticated animal that provides support to a disabled individual through companionship, affection, non-judgmental regard, or as being a distraction from issues can be an emotional support animal. Before an animal is deemed as an ESA, a diagnosis of a mental or emotional disability that significantly limits one or more of the daily major life activities must have been made by a qualified mental health professional. Animals that can be used for support may include other species; however, cats and dogs are the ones that typically come to mind. If the disabled person’s need is exclusively limited to a residential setting, any legal species of any age could qualify as an emotional support animal including cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, birds, hedgehogs, and ferrets. These animals are subject to the community’s species regulations, registration requirements, vaccination rules, and prohibitions. However, neither the federal government, the state of California or the city of San Diego requires any type of specialized training for an emotional support animal including basic obedience.

Types of protections for Emotional support animals

ESA Protections

The federal government enacted several measures designed to protect individuals who use service dogs or support animals. As well as adherence to the federal measures, California and San Diego have supported additional rules to govern ESAs.

 

Travel

Traveling can be an anxiety-producing task for anyone. For those who have severe emotional or mental illnesses, it can be debilitating. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) under the Department of Transportation (DOT) protects the rights of individuals using emotional support animals. Guidelines mandate that the animal is allowed to travel in the cabin along with their disabled handler for free. DOT rules for air travel allow for stricter regulations than compared to other accommodations. “Unusual” animals such as snakes, reptiles, rodents, spiders and ferrets are not allowed due to safety concerns. In addition to these limitations, many air carriers have decided to require additional information before allowing travel with emotional support animals. Widespread abuse and the issues associated with them have necessitated that air carriers require proof from a licensed healthcare professional stating your mental health disability and the need for a service animal. This letter must be dated less than one year prior to traveling and follow a specific format. Contact should be made with the carrier well in advance of travel so that travelers have an adequate amount of time to gather all pertinent information. It is also recommended 48 hours prior to air travel; additional contact is made to ensure that there are no last-minute complications that would hinder your travel plans.

While the DOT has a separate policy for air travel, other forms of transportation (mass transit buses, commuter rails, ferries, etc.) is only required to make accommodations for individuals who use service animals and do not make a distinction between them and ESAs. The local provider is allowed to treat ESAs as pets under the same pricing policy, or they are allowed to ban them entirely. Additionally, neither the ACAA nor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections cover ESAs in any type of transient lodging. Those wishing to travel with ESAs must be prepared to seek pet-friendly accommodations while traveling. Locations can also legally charge a pet-fee for emotional support animals, limit the types of animals and place additional requirements as they see fit.

Employment

Working With An ESA San Diego

As in all fifty states, employers in California are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. While the federal government has created a gray area when it comes to including those who use emotional support animals, California has decided to include support animals in the workplace an appropriate accommodation. Although the federal government only requires employers to have fifteen or more employees before they are subject to this law, California and San Diego make the law a requirement once the employer has a minimum of five employees.

Employers also have some protections under California law. If the accommodations would cause “undue hardship” exemption from the law might be warranted. Examples of “undue hardships” could be exuberant cost or the nature of the accommodation, the size and number of employees of the facility and the employer, the type of operation or how providing the accommodation would affect the facility and the employer. In addition to protections against undue hardships, employers have a right to expect any support animal to be free from offensive odors, has been housebroken, well behaved and not endanger the health or safety of anyone in the workplace including the handler.

Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) has mandated that tenants or potential tenants have rights regarding emotional support animals. Reasonable accommodations designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal protection to use and enjoy an apartment or house are strictly enforced.

Reasonable accommodations, as in employment laws would be a change or exception to a policy that would prevent a disabled individual from performing one or more functions related to life such as working or living independently. Tenants who live in San Diego and require an emotional support animal cannot be denied the right to live with their ESA unless the animal poses a threat to the safety of others or would cause significant damage to the property of others. While some landlords may believe that speculation or fear of an animal is justification for not adhering to this law, the decision must be based on factual evidence of a specific animal’s conduct.

Because the laws regarding emotional support animals are fairly new, many property owners do not know or understand the guidelines set forth by the federal or state government. If you have received your first ESA letter and are unsure of what to do next, there are few basic rules that you should remember. Additional requirements for individuals with ESAs is prohibited. For example, property owners are only entitled to the ESA letter from a qualified healthcare professional and are not entitled to any additional information or demands. Contact with the professional is limited to verifying that the letter is valid and does not include any specific medical information including but not limited to medications or course of treatment. In fact, directly contacting the healthcare professional is not advised. If a property owner or landlord suspects the information provided is fraudulent, such verification should be handled by legal representation.

ESAs cannot be required to wear identifying tags or garments nor can owners be assessed fees or deposits normally required for individuals with pets no matter what species or breed.

Property owners do have certain protections under the laws just as employers do. Though they cannot demand deposits or fees for emotional support animals, they can legally charge the tenant for repairs if the property has been damaged by the animal.

Unfortunately, public places are not required to admit emotional support animals regardless of the requirement to admit service animals. Many places in San Diego are friendly to emotional support animals however, there are just as many who do not understand their purpose. Being prepared to discuss the benefits of ESAs with misinformed businesses and individuals could help you advocate for yourself and others. Please keep in mind that although emotional support animals have numerous protections, it is imperative that ESA owners respect laws that are designed to protect others as well.

How to obtain an Emotional Support Animal in San Diego

If you feel you would benefit from an emotional support animal and live or work in San Diego, the first step would be to consult your licensed mental health professional. To legally qualify you must be certified as emotionally disabled by a licensed psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist or other properly licensed or certified mental health professional. Once diagnosed and it is determined that you would benefit from an ESA in California, a letter from that provider can be issued that outlines your specific mental or emotional disability and your need for that animal can be issued. It can take some time for this process but once completed you the benefits you will receive from your animal is worth the wait.

Give us a call at EZCare Clinic at (415) 966-0848; we’re open 7 days a week, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm PST. Or you can click here to schedule an appointment online to get your ESA today.


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Emotional Support Animal in San Diego

At EzCare Clinic, We provide legitimate Emotional Support Animal letters from licensed mental health physicians in San Diego.
An emotional support pet letter is a document provided to you by a licensed therapist or mental health physician that indicates that your animal is part of a treatment program for your mental health or emotional disability. An Emotional Support Animal document allows permission to airline cabins and pet restricted housing without extra fees and/or deposits. The professional team at EZCARE Clinic is dedicated to providing San Diego patients with legitimate services as well as a comfortable, non-judgmental environment. Please keep in mind that our ESA MDs are available on Saturday and Sunday and appointments are not needed but they are encouraged.

LICENSED PHYSICIANS

Secure video chat with MD. No auto-approvals

MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

100% Refund if not accepted by Airline

12/7 HOUR SUPPORT

We are available 7 days 9 am- 9 pm



WORKING HOURS


Same day appointments are available during business hours. Online ESA letters are legit only after a telehealth visit with a licensed MD.



CONTACT INFO


(415) 966-0848

team@ezcareclinic.com

START ESA APPLICATION

Cost of an Emotional Support Animal Letter in San Diego


BASIC PACKAGE

$150

San Diego residents can get one certificate for housing or airlines.

FULL PACKAGE

$200

For Housing and Airlines, 12-month support, unlimited ESA documentation revisions, additional paperwork for free, low-cost annual renewals.

RENEWAL

$99

San Diego patients ESA online renewal package. Full package included.

Common Problems San Diego Pet Owners Face


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25000+

People were refused to fly with their pets by airlines companies

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$100-$250

One-way fee for an airline-compliant pet carrier to fly with your pet

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$25-$300

You’ll need to pay monthly rent for a Pet

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76%

Find it difficult to find a pet-friendly rental property


Benefits of ESA Letters

San Diego patients who have obtained an Emotional Support Animal Certificate report positive benefits both mentally and financially. The benefits of the ESA treatment is to abbreviate the levels of stress, anxiety, and solitariness. Financially, an ESA Certificate can save you out of pocket charges for your beloved cat. Landlords can’t charge animal fees nor ask for pet deposits for housing.  Another benefit is that Airlines have to allow an ESA cat to fly in the Cabin without charging a pet travel fee.




Legitimacy

EZCare Medical Clinic is an actual walk-in clinic in California, with a headquarter in San Francisco. We, at EZCare accept care of both local and distant patients for a wide range of medical problems. Our MDs are clever in a variety of services ranging from anxiety to ADHD, sexual dysfunction and overall male and female health. Our staff consists of doctors licensed to practice in the State of California. We’re capable of providing online ESA letters for all cities in 50 states including San Diego.




Support

For all residents of San Diego we provide 12/7 support. On the bottom of each page find a chat button to ask any question. Call EZCare Clinic in California at (415) 966-0848 or schedule an appointment online to start the process and receive a legally valid and legit emotional support animal letter from a licensed California ESA LMHP. We’re open 7 days a week, 11 am to 7 pm, same day appointments are regularly available! Get Your Emotional support Animal Documentation Online Now!



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#1 ESA Dog San Diego

DOG


Most of our Emotional Support patients from San Diego own dogs. Without dogs, we feel lonely. They don’t just fill the heart, they’re with you to make it better!


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#2 ESA Cat

CAT


Hey Dogs! You will not hold first place for a long time! Cats are very close. San Diego patients prefer to have more than one ESA cat at home to relieve stress.


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#3 ESA San Diego

RABBIT


Some patients might end up with a different ESA animal, and that is totally fine! Individuals could be accompanied by snakes, chickens, ducks and even ESA pigs. San Diego patients choose Rabbits. Why? Because rabbits are hilarious and turns your frown, upside down 🙂


San Diego ESA Certificate Discounts and Promo Codes

All residents of San Diego can apply this promo code at the bottom of the ESA application

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