“Can an ESA dog go into restaurants?” This is a question we get asked frequently. Emotional support animal ownership has grown in popularity over the last few years as mental health conditions have become more prevalent. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD are afflicting more Americans than ever before – but the company of a loyal and loving emotional support pet can alleviate the symptoms of all of these painful conditions.
When a person experiences the benefits of having an emotional support animal, they often get a whole new lease on life. ESA owners report decreased depression and anxiety, along with increased happiness and energy, and even better sleep. With all of these benefits of ESA ownership, it’s no wonder people want to be with their emotional support pet as much as possible.
Many ESA owners want to take their pets with them everywhere they go. People take their ESA shopping, on road trips, and even on vacation. But there is sometimes confusion around the specifics of the laws on ESA ownership. Many people think that having an ESA letter means their animal can accompany them absolutely everywhere – but, unfortunately, this is not the case.
Which Laws Deal With ESA Ownership?
The two pieces of legislation that deal with ESA ownership are:
- Fair Housing Amendment Act
- Air Carrier Access Act
The Fair Housing Amendment Act protects a person’s right to live in a residence with their emotional support pet, even if the residence does not normally allow pets. The Air Carrier Access Act protects a person’s right to have their emotional support pet travel along with them in an airplane cabin.
It is often believed that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers emotional support animals, but it does not. The ADA only covers service animals.
What Is The Difference Between An ESA And A Service Animal?
A service animal is a specific category of animal: a dog or small horse that is specially trained to perform tasks for a disabled person. An ESA, on the other hand, can be any type of animal and does not need to have any specific training.
It is because of the special training that service animals receive that they are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and they are allowed to operate in all settings and environments.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed Everywhere?
Unlike service animals, emotional support dogs are not allowed everywhere. The Air Carrier Access Act means that ESA dogs can usually travel on airplanes. The Fair Housing Amendment Act means that ESA dogs can live in most types of residences. However, most types of businesses are not obligated by law to allow emotional support dogs.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed In Public Places?
Emotional support animals are not allowed in all public places. Many indoor public places, such as malls, cinemas, theatres, trains, and buses, have a “no pets allowed” policy. Most outdoor public places will allow emotional support dogs, although not all.
Because ESAs are not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is always best to check with any public places you intend to visit to see if you can bring your ESA.
Can An ESA Dog Enter Restaurants?
Restaurants are not obligated to allow emotional support animals onto their premises. Many restaurants have a blanket ban on all animals apart from service animals. Some restaurants will allow an ESA onto the premises if it is suitably sized, clean, and well behaved. But this is completely at the discretion of the specific restaurant.
Where Can I Take My Emotional Support Animal?
Many public places do allow emotional support pets. Lots of public transport networks across the country allow ESAs, and most airlines, most parks, and many malls and restaurants have no problem with a well-behaved emotional support pet being on their premises.
Does An Emotional Support Pet’s Species Matter?
When it comes to bringing your emotional support pet into private and public businesses, the species of your ESA is often a dealbreaker. A small, well-behaved dog, cat, or even pot-bellied pig is much more likely to be allowed into a restaurant than a larger or more exotic ESA.
When you are choosing an ESA, it is wise to keep in mind that some species are much easier to take out in public than others. Even the Air Carrier Access Act does not cover unsuitable species of ESA.
What Are The Qualifying Conditions For An ESA Letter?
To qualify for an emotional support pet letter, you must be officially diagnosed with a mental health condition that will be helped by the presence of an ESA.
The most common mental health conditions that ESA owners suffer from are:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
How Do I Get An ESA Letter?
The best way to get an ESA letter is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a suitable medical professional through Moosh. The medical professional will verify your mental health condition and you will then receive an ESA letter of recommendation. You can use this letter to get a brand-new ESA or to grant a pet you already own official emotional support animal status.