How to get an Emotional Support Animal in NYC?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is something a lot of people are not really used to. Many of us tend to look for support in our pets, but you may not be aware that it is now possible to make your cat or dog an official, registered moral support. Yes, we are talking about Emotional Support Animals (also known as ESAs).

However, the process of getting an ESA may take some time; that’s why some people find it quite challenging. But don’t worry – we are going to tell you how to get an animal for supporting your mental health in New York. And in case you are nervous that you cannot do it on your own – My Service Animal is here for you! We are always glad to assist those who need it and help with all steps of the registration process – from getting an ESA letter to receiving a registration certificate, a tag, and other essential accessories for all types of support animals (we are talking about service animals, ESAs, and therapy dogs). So, without further ado, let’s start our discussion!

Who are Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional Support Dog with HarnessAccording to a definition of an ESA, it is an animal that provides moral support to people who suffer from any type of mental health problem (or a mental disability). It includes the following issues:

  • Increased anxiety;
  • Depression or depressive episodes;
  • Phobias and fears;
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder);
  • Schizophrenia.

Unlike service animals, ESAs should always be registered; otherwise, they cannot get all the benefits that come along with the certificate of registration. Special training is not required because an animal shouldn’t have any special skills; its main task is to provide support to an owner during hard times.

That’s one of the reasons why any type of animal can play the role of emotional support. Cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, miniature pigs and horses, bearded dragons, and so on – the list here is practically endless. The only limitation here is that the animal shouldn’t be illegal in your state. The only thing needed after is to get a letter from a mental health professional and start the registration process.

However, many people are still worried that it is extremely hard to qualify for the ESA because there are some myths about the complications and challenges that may occur during the registration process. That is exactly why such organizations as My Service Animal exist. Our main goal is to help people and make the whole experience as easy and comfortable as possible. The registration doesn’t require much time and is not expensive at all. And don’t forget that it is always possible to consult with specialists in case there are any questions about being an owner of an ESA, the way this status changes your life, or what benefits one can get after getting an emotional support dog.

Is it possible to get an ESA in NYC?

In order to register, a person should get a letter of recommendation (it is also called an ESA letter or note) from their therapist. If you don’t have it please read our article – How to Get Emotional Support Animal Letter From Doctor and ask your doctor for that one. That’s needed as proof that a person can qualify for an ESA owner due to certain mental health issues; the process itself is not difficult at all and shouldn’t take a lot of time. Some places (such as My Service Animal) offer a consultation and an Emotional Service Animal Online Registration.

Additional Animal Id Card
Emotional Service Animal Online Registration

The letter itself should be written on the doctor’s letterhead and state the disability that allows you to qualify for an ESA. Then, a specialist’s recommendation of you getting an animal as moral support should be included there as well. Lastly, the license number and signature of a medical professional should be indicated, as well as the date.

After getting a letter and compelling this important step, a person can register the animal. There is some information that has to be provided in order to complete the process:

  • The owner’s name;
  • A pet’s type, breed, and name;
  • Email address to send a PDF version of the registration certificate to a person (if an individual wants, a physical address may be indicated as well in order to get a copy of a registration certificate and other accessories for ESAs).

Speaking about the accessories, a great variety of products for emotional support animals are available out there. Those are needed in order to show a pet’s status to people and demonstrate that the animal cannot be disturbed. Vests, tags, harnesses, ID cards – everything mentioned is kind of a sign to others that an animal is currently working, so it is forbidden to talk, interrupt, or try to pet them. Once again, a conversation with specialists is recommended in case there are any questions about the ESA handling.

New York laws for Emotional Support Animals. What do you need to know?

As it was already mentioned, emotional support animals do not have as many rights and benefits as service animals; however, there are some advantages pet owners may experience. Today, we would like to discuss the main aspects – traveling, housing, and working routine.

Flying and traveling

According to The Air Carrier Access Act, emotional support dog owners need to demonstrate a letter from a licensed mental health specialist; in this letter, the reasons why a person requires the presence of an animal should be carefully explained. Some essential info should be included in the letter (we discussed those in the previous paragraphs). One more important thing to mention is that the letter itself cannot be older than one year. Some airlines require 48 hours advanced notices to the carrier.

ESA pdf Reasonable Accommodation

The fair housing act. Living conditions

People with pets that are officially registered are allowed to live with their animals in any type of reasonable accommodation. A landlord cannot charge extra for the presence of an animal, as well as is not allowed to evict a renter. The only situation a landlord can charge extra is when an animal damaged or broke furniture in the house. A landlord can ask a person to leave or refute their offer in case an animal is dangerous and can potentially harm other people in the building.

It may be required to demonstrate the letter from a mental professional to make sure a person doesn’t lie. The same requirements are for hotels, hostels, B&B, and any other type of accommodation. Once again, 48 hours advanced notices may be needed in order to prepare a living space for the handler with a dog.

ESAs and employment

Employers are not obligated to allow people with emotional support animals in the workspace. It’s totally up to them whether to allow their workers to bring ESAs with them to the office. That’s why this question should be discussed beforehand in order to set up rules and clear everything on this topic out.

A situation with service animals is completely different. Service dogs owners can bring their pets anywhere they go without a need to demonstrate a registration certificate or an ID card. Some employers do not allow bringing emotional support animals in the areas where people with service animals are working. All because animals can fight and don’t get along in general, which will cause discomfort in the working area.

To sum up

Emotional support animals are more and more common for people in America nowadays. Thanks to their support, it is easier to deal with everyday life stress and unpleasant situations that may affect one’s mental health. That is exactly why the topic of how to get an ESA is so up-to-date right now. In our newest article, we tried to provide you with all the needed and important info on the topic of getting an emotional support animal in New York. In case there are still any questions, we will be more than happy to answer them, so do not hesitate to contact a My Service Animal Team. Thank you for reading, and stay safe!

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