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Emotional-Support Dogs

Emotional-support animals (ESAs) provide comfort or emotional support to their person who has a disability just by being present. Because they are not trained to perform work or do specific tasks to mitigate the person’s disability they do not qualify as service animals.

ESAs do NOT have public access rights. However, the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act provide provisions for people with disabilities and their ESAs. There is no required certification for dogs to be considered an ESA.

Typically a letter from a licensed healthcare professional stating why it is important for the person to live with their dog (or fly with it) is needed for the accommodation. The letter must include information as to how the presence of the dog directly affects the person's disability. There is more information for healthcare providers about this on our Resources page.

Other than consideration for living with a dog in 'no pets housing' or being able to fly with a dog in an airplane, emotional-support dogs are considered pet dogs. They have no public access rights. They are NOT allowed in restaurants, hotels, malls, or other public places that do not allow dogs.

ESAs must be well-mannered, sanitary, and not a pose a threat to any person or other animals. If not, they can be denied from flying in an airplane, or living in 'no pets' housing.

Handi-Dogs' Pet Dog training is available to help with ESA training needs.

Learn more about our private lessons and group class options

For more information about the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Dog, go to our Resources page. 

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