The law in the USA requires that owners should have documentation for emotional support animals. This is where an emotional support animal letter (ESA letter) comes into the light.
This letter will be written by a specialist doctor who will assess the patient/owner’s need to have a support dog on a flight. The letter should not be older than a year to be accepted by the chosen airline.
The letter must be written by a licensed mental healthcare professional. It can be done online as well; go to https://esadoctor.com/.
To get your ESA letter, you will have to go through a questionnaire that goes straight to the doctor. The doctor will get back to you with the verdict and send you the letter through the post.
To bring your ESA on the plane, it is important to let the airline company know about this when booking your ticket. You will need to have these documents with you when flying:
- The ESA letter
- A health form for your pet from the vet
- The vaccination record book
- A signed letter/document that gives a testimonial of your pet’s behavior
You won’t have to pay a flight fee for your emotional support animal.
Emotional support animals
Owning a pet can be more than just keeping an animal in the home. Your chosen pet can become your companion, a friend, to give you emotional comfort during hard times in your life.
Increasingly, some dogs and other pets started to be known as emotional support animals. This means that they are used to help people deal with their emotions.
It is well known that mental health sufferers find solace and understanding in their pet companions. An emotional support animal can help someone deal with severe anxiety (such as an individual on the autistic spectrum).
People will deal with high emotions in unusual, unplanned, or things that change their established routine, for example, during a plane trip.
What does an emotional support dog do?
An emotional support dog is one that can bring comfort and alleviate distress in its owner. It can join its owner during a flight; however, whilst traveling by other means of transport, the transport company’s approval should be sought.
An emotional support dog doesn’t need to undergo special training. Its status is different from a service dog, and there are some requirements relating to traveling with an emotional support dog by airplane.
Airline companies might also have their rules concerning these companions.
Emotional support animal laws
In the USA the law supports the emotional support animal (ESA) status through The Air Carrier Access Act and The Fair Housing Act.
In the UK, the situation is different; no legal document recognizes the ESA status.
However, some landlords understand the need to own an ESA.
Some flight companies allow emotional support dogs in their planes (Virgin Airlines, EasyJet, and Ryanair).
List of emotional support animals
The most common ESA are dogs and cats. As said before, the UK airlines only accept dogs as emotional support animals. Having said that, some owners will have all kind of pets such as:
- Micro pigs
This led to creating a banned list by the airline companies to avoid incidents during flights such as bitting, foul odors, scratching, etc. The US Department of Transportation agrees with these companies and works closely to issue its statement concerning it.