Ownership of an emotional support animal works both ways. On the one hand, the animal brings you comfort and peace, and on the other hand, it requires constant care and attention. So, for residents of Wisconsin who are seriously thinking about getting an ESA, we have prepared a piece of information about emotional support animals that will definitely be useful for you to know in advance.
Today, more and more people pay attention not only to their physical health but also to their mental state. The fast pace of life and daily stress that people experience can cause various psychic disorders. Emotional support animals can help cope with these disturbances. For example, therapists often recommend ESA ownership for people with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, various addictions, and other issues.
People with social phobia are often the “patients” of emotional support animals in Wisconsin. The main signs of this disorder are excessive anxiety when meeting and communicating with other people, fear of rejection or judgment, ignoring places where there may be large gatherings of people, and having problems in relationships with friends. In this case, an ESA provides its owner with the necessary level of comfort and protection, which allows them to feel more confident.
Moreover, emotional support animals also help to reduce the manifestations of stressful behaviors. Such patients often want to prove themselves through bold and often reckless actions, and also want to assert themselves and demonstrate their independence from others. However, the main reason for such a person’s behavior is his or her need for love and attention. ESAs guarantee unconditional love and care for their owners, and also prevent the person from putting themselves in danger.
In addition to protection, comfort, and unconditional love, ESAs bring positive emotions to their owners and relief from stress and tension. Over and above that, the presence of an animal can be a great excuse to avoid a conflict situation at home, as well as a rescue from nightmares, panic attacks, and unpleasant and painful memories.
However, awareness that you have a problem is only the first step. Diagnosis and treatment of a malady by yourself, usually, do not lead to positive changes, but only worsen the situation. Therefore, it is necessary to turn to professional psychiatrists and psychotherapists for help. They will be able to carry out the correct comprehensive diagnosis, determine the exact cause of the development of the problem, and also prescribe an adequate treatment scheme.
To begin with, you can make several appointments with different professionals so that you can choose someone with whom you feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about your concerns. By understanding the severity of your disorder and its underlying symptoms, your therapist will be able to determine which therapy will work best for you. Usually, specialists combine different types of therapy to speed up the patient’s recovery process. In Wisconsin, one of the adjuncts to the treatment of mental frustrations is emotional support animals.
The list of contraindications for prescribing you an ESA as adjunctive therapy is quite short. First of all, you should be sure that you are not allergic to animals or you should choose only those species and ESA dog breeds that will not cause you allergic reactions. For example, Poodles, Bichon Frises, Yorkies, and some other breeds are considered hypoallergenic breeds among dogs. We also do not recommend becoming an ESA owner for those who have a fear of animals. If the “patient” is afraid of his four-legged doctor, it will only make the situation worse.
However, if you have no contraindications and you and your therapist believe that an animal can really help you cope with your mental disorders, ask the specialist for an ESA letter. This document will confirm your need for an emotional support animal and can become a guarantor of certain privileges for the animal.
In Wisconsin, an ESA letter can be issued by a mental health professional, psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or by your GP. The main thing is that the specialist has a valid license, as well as sufficient qualifications in the field of mental health. It is also important for the physician to have an understanding of emotional support animals and their impact on a person’s psychological and physical health.
In addition, to have legal force this paper should be emanated on the professional’s letterhead and composited in accordance with the current requirements of the Wisconsin state authorities. A lawful ESA letter must confirm that you have a mental disorder and your need for an emotional support animal. Also, be sure to pay attention to the availability of up-to-date contact information of the person or institution where the certificate was issued. Also, the ESA letter must contain the date of issuance of the document and the date of its expiration. This document is usually updated every year. However, the document should not contain any detailed information about your malady or the course of treatment, as this information is confidential and its disclosure is a violation of medical confidentiality.
Emotional support animals in Wisconsin do not require additional formal registration. That is, in order for you to become the owner of ESA, you only need to receive a lawful ESA letter from the therapist. However, to save yourself from the need to constantly present an ESA letter in public places, you can issue an Emotional Support Animal ID card or an ESA Pet Tag for the animal, which will serve as additional identifiers of the animal’s special status. You can also order an ESA Vest and other necessary accessories for ESAs on MyServiceAnimal.
ESA registration will not take you much time. To do this, you just need to fill in all the required information about the animal, such as species, breed, size, and age, also, if you want, you can add a photo of the animal. After that, you can get a pet tag, which will help avoid misunderstandings and save you from having to justify your need for an emotional support animal.
You can also certify your pet as an ESA. If you already have a pet that brings you comfort and solace, and also encourages you when you have bad days, tell your psychologist or psychotherapist about it. Animals do not need an ESA status to be your faithful companions and support you. However, if you want to give the animal some legal rights, you can ask your doctor to issue you an ESA letter.
Under current Wisconsin law, emotional support animals can live with their owners free of charge, even if it is against the building’s pet policy. Before you sign a tenancy agreement with your landlord, tell him or her about your ESA and provide an ESA letter as proof of your words. The housing provider cannot refuse you and your animal residence based only on their own prejudices or justify the refusal based on the breed or size of the animal.
You also don’t have to pay a pet tax or a deposit if the animal damages the landlord’s property. A housing provider does not have the right to evict you unless the animal poses a threat to their property or shows aggression towards other residents of the house. Also, in the event of damages, you assume all obligations for their compensation.
Also, the proprietor may ask you to provide documents from your veterinarian to make sure that the animal is not prone to aggression and is not a spreader of various diseases. Ensure that the animal has been vaccinated against possible parasites and has a neat appearance. Also, don’t forget that housing reasonable accommodation only means allowing your ESA to live with you. At the same time, the proprietor is not obliged to make other changes to the general arrangement of the building or to equip it additionally. If necessary, you can do it yourself.
Currently, emotional support animals in Wisconsin have expanded rights only in the sphere of housing. This means that in all other situations, the ESA will be treated as a regular pet, including being treated in public places, at your workplace, or during air travel. Accordingly, you do not have the right to demand special treatment for your ESA, as this has no legal basis. However, people are often respectful of the needs of others, so you may be able to reach a compromise.
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