Emotional support animals are such wonderful little creatures that it’s no wonder some people want one, or two or five! While it’s easy to see why anyone would want to fill their lives – and homes – with tons of furry friends, it’s important to know the legal situation when it comes to owning more than one emotional support animal.
So, can I legally – and feasibly – have more than one emotional support animal? Put simply, yes! But there are a number of things you should take into consideration when you’re deciding to expand your ESA family.
As your ESA certification only really affects two aspects of your life – renting a home and flying – we’ll take a look at how owning multiple ESAs could affect both of these situations.
Living Conditions with Your ESA
To avoid the stress of an ongoing argument with the owner of your home, make sure your emotional support animal letter clearly states your need for each one of your ESAs. Each pet should be named on your ESA letter, and it should explain the therapeutic benefit that each animal has on your life.
While you will be protected by the information in your emotional support animal letter, it’s also prudent to be considerate when choosing how many emotional support animals you want to have. A landlord cannot reasonably be expected to accommodate 5 large emotional support dogs in a small apartment, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to discuss your need for additional ESAs with them before you acquire more pets.
It’s also important to keep the needs of your emotional support animals in mind when you’re considering getting another. Make sure you have enough space and time to keep each of your ESAs happy and healthy. Ensure your living conditions are enough to satisfy everyone’s needs and you’ll have a harmonious home.
Flying with Emotional Support Animals
Things get slightly more complicated when it comes to flying with more than one emotional support animal, due to the obvious space restrictions. As a general rule, common sense should prevail. It is not reasonable for a customer to expect an airline to accommodate them and their many ESAs on a full plane, regardless of whether you have an ESA letter or not. This is particularly true of larger ESA breeds, like big dogs or miniature horses.
While you are covered by the Air Carrier Access Act while flying with your ESAs, it’s important that you’re au fait with the rules and regulations before you take off. As the idea of an emotional support animal is still relatively new, airlines can still be unsure of what’s allowed and what’s not, and therefore some ESA owners have been subjected to discrimination when they get the arrivals gate.
Save yourself the argument and make sure to inform the airline of your intent to travel with your ESAs at least 48 hours prior to boarding. This will give the staff time to make sure any necessary accommodations are in place for you and your ESAs, and if they think that it’ll be impossible for all of you to fly together, they’ll inform you then.
As your ESAs will be allowed to sit alongside you inside the cabin of the plane, it’s vitally important that they are well-behaved and kept under total control for the duration of the flight. If an ESA is thought to pose a threat to airline staff or to other passengers, you and all of your ESAs will legally be denied permission to board. The more ESAs you have when you fly, the harder it is to keep them all effectively under control, so it’s important to carefully consider whether you need to bring them all on your journey with you.
When flying with your ESAs, it’s important to have your emotional support animal letter on you at all times. This will be checked at your time of boarding. Failure to produce a valid ESA letter that states each of your ESAs on it may lead to you having to stow your furry friends in the cargo hold of the plane with the rest of the pets.
The All-Important ESA Letter
Before you get your first, second or third ESA, you need to make sure you have the correct emotional support animal letter or else you and your furry friend won’t enjoy the rights and privileges that come with emotional support animal certification. This certification comes in the form of a signed ESA letter from a mental health professional that states your emotional/psychological disability and your need for your emotional support animal’s companionship to alleviate the symptoms of this disability.
If you plan on having more than one emotional support animal, it’s important that you have an ESA letter for each animal, or one ESA letter that contains the details of all your ESAs.
Getting an emotional support animal letter is quick and easy and can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you think your life could benefit from the loving support of an emotional support animal, get in touch with us today and we’ll start you on your ESA certification journey.