People are increasingly aware of the seriousness of mental disturbances. The number of fixed cases of people suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and other frustrations increases every day because people are progressively beginning to pay attention to the deviations not only in their physical but also in their psychological state. Therefore, more and more people are about contacting to specialists every day, so that they helped them cope with the illness as quickly as possible.
Nowadays, there are many ways to combat psychic maladies, one of which is emotional support animals. However, the use of ESA in each state of the United States and the laws in relation to these creatures differ. In this article, we will tell you in detail about all the nuances of the possession of an emotional support animal in California.
There are several reasons for the growing popularity of emotional support animals. First, every year more and more new medical research appears in this area. Scientists have proven that the presence of pets in the house aids a human to relax, getting rid of the sense of loneliness and softening the general atmosphere in the dwelling. For example, men who have a job with a high level of stress are growingly obtaining animals at home to distract them, remove the tension, and not earn emotional and professional burnout.
Secondly, humans still hard to talk about their psychological issues even with experts. An emotional support animal is primarily a companion and a kind of silent “psychotherapist.” Many people tell their pets what they cannot share with relatives or friends. At the same time, having someone to talk to, a person feels freedom and some relief, and the endorsement and love that a man feels from his ESA, give him strength and confidence.
And of course, over the past few years, pandemic and quarantine restrictions have significantly affected people. In order not to feel lonely and abandoned, individuals are taking emotional support animals. Caring for someone, we feel important and necessary. In addition, animals help to cope with fears and act as a living calming. And the daily mandatory walks with animals are a great reason to get out of the house, breathe fresh air or do some sports.
In the US, emotional support animals are very spread among people who suffer from various psychological, mental, intellectual, and emotional maladies. ESA is one of the certified methods of therapy, that psychologists and psychiatrists are often prescribed to their patients. Therefore, ESA does not belong to the category of simple pets and uses some advantages.
Nevertheless, the law assesses the importance of animal emotional support below the importance of service animals. Rules and laws give privileges to service dogs, at the same time limit some ESA capabilities. For example, now the only sphere where ESA does not have restrictions is housing. In other areas of life, for example, visiting public places or traveling, there are certain nuances that should be considered by the ESA handlers. Nevertheless, emotional support animals in each particular state may have a different legal status and, accordingly, varied rights and freedoms.
A large problem in the United States and in California in particular is that for a long time, there was a lack of understanding of the distinction between emotional support animals and service dogs. It is worth noting that according to the law, ESA never equated with the status of service animals. Nevertheless, often people specially called their emotional support dogs service animals so that their pets have more rights and powers.
In this regard, in California, the law obliged all sellers of emotional support animals to issue a document that this animal is not a service one. The seller should also convey the information that it’s illegal to position ESA as a service animal. The same laws operate for those who sell special equipment and accessories for ESA. This is not only necessary in order to avoid violations of the law, but also so that people closely related to the discrepancy between these concepts.
Also, new laws in California have a list of requirements for the therapist, which gives an ESA letter to their patient. Most of them are standard. For example, the doctor must have sufficient qualifications in the field of psychological health and know all the shades of using ESA. Your therapist should have a valid license and the documents must contain current information with the phone number, number and type of license, and other information confirming the qualifications.
Before recommending an emotional support animal to the patient, the therapist should fully evaluate the psycho-emotional state of a person and have records about the history of the disease. However, the main innovation in the laws of California is that the patient must work with the therapist for at least 30 days. That is, you cannot just come to a psychologist or psychiatrist and demand to appoint you an emotional support animal. First of all, the doctor should meet you and explore all the details of your disorder.
It is believed that during this time a licensed doctor will be able to determine how much ESA will be useful to you in your condition, as well as be able to begin treatment of the disturbance. After all, you should not forget that ESAs are just an auxiliary tool of the therapist, which is designed to speed up the process of recovery. Yet, this therapy is applied only in conjunction with regular consultations with a professional and medication.
You may find this article useful: What to Do If Your Therapist Won’t Write You an ESA Letter.
A logical question that may arise from you, it’s how to register an emotional support animal in California. As in other states, there is no special registration procedure in California for ESA. In order to acquire ESA legally, you need to get an ESA letter from your therapist with which you collaborate for at least 30 days. Nevertheless, you can still fill in the ESA registration form and get an ID card to facilitate the decision of legal issues and avoid possible discriminatory ESA rights.
The ESA letter is not just a doctor’s prescription; this is a document confirming the status of your pet. For emotional support animals, the ID card is not a mandatory attribute, the main thing is that you have a document issued by a licensed qualified doctor. An ESA doctor letter in California is no different from those issued throughout the country. To have a legal force, the document must be issued on an official form, have all the information about the specialist who has signed it, as well as contain information on the nature of your disorder and confirm the need for the emotional support animal as therapy. You can find more about how to get an ESA doctor’s letter and find some ESA letter samples in our blog.
Most of the rights in California ESA have in housing. Emotional support animals can live with their owners under one roof without restrictions and obstacles from the landlord. The law protects ESA owners from all possible manifestations of discrimination in this sphere. This applies to discrimination against people with disabilities, including mental frustrations.
For example, the landlord is prohibited to require an additional fee for the residence of the animal or a deposit for the safety of the property. At the same time, ESA’s owners in California should understand that in case of causing damage, all costs for house repair are taken upon themselves, including the search for performers and the payment of materials and work.
Another important point that should not be forgotten, the host cannot refuse to provide reasonable accommodation without having good reasons. If you have provided an ESA letter, and the animal is not aggressive or uncontrollable, the publican must provide you with the opportunity to live with your animal. If this did not happen, such actions of the housing providers can be considered discrimination and a violation of the law, so we recommend that you contact the local HUD department. The same rules and laws act in case of illegal eviction of you and your pets from the dwelling. Learn also Where You Have the Right to Take Your Emotional Support Animal.
In California, there are all federal laws regarding ESA. For example, the landlord cannot refuse you and your animal accommodation, based on personal dislike or dislike for animals, or based on the size and breed of ESA. The housekeeper is obliged to provide reasonable accommodation for you, but at the same time, the law does not oblige him to specially equip or redo the buildings for the needs of tenants and their pets. You can independently show such an initiative and make it on a discussion with the owner of the house. In this case, all expenses for special equipment and its installation will fall on you.
The only situation in which the landlord has the right to refuse to place an emotional support animal is if the animal may pose a threat to other residents of the house. Therefore, we recommend carefully following the appearance of ESA, regularly attending the groomer and veterinarian, and doing all the necessary procedures. In addition, be sure to give time for training with the animal. Training your pet’s basic teams will make your animal more obedient and patient. In addition, such a joint pastime will have a positive effect on your psychological state and will strengthen your connection with the pet.
In California, there are still some laws that differ from those generally accepted throughout the country. We have already mentioned this earlier. First, these laws relate to people and companies that sell ESAs. During the purchase, the seller is obliged to inform the buyer that the emotional support animal in California, as well as throughout the country, is not the same as the service animal. Also, the sellers of animals and animal equipment should issue a special document that once again records this information and says that the emotional support dog is not registered as a service one.
Another law concerns the interaction of the patient with their therapist. Before recommending ESA, the therapist should carefully analyze your condition and choose the most appropriate type of treatment. This requires that you have at least 30 days attended a specialist. All of these data should be fixed in special documentation.
After receiving an ESA letter from the therapist, you should think about getting a special ESA harness, pet tag, and other accessories for your convenience and your ESA. The law does not require an ID card or specially recognized signs for ESA, however, you can also buy them to get rid of the need to constantly explain the status of your animal. For daily use, you may need an ESA collar, leash, or special wearing for the emotional support animal. If you are planning to travel with your animals, you should also think about a special harness, muzzle, and carrying.
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