Busting the Myths About Emotional Support Animals. If you frequently travel on flights, you may have noticed a gradual increase in the number of animals occupying passenger cabins. These animals can be emotional support animals (ESAs) or service animals.
Emotional support animals have seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years, leading to the development of unsavory myths about them that cause discord among the masses but don’t worry, we’re here to debunk all the falsehoods. And bring clarity.
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What are Emotional Support Animals?
First, let’s go over the basics. ESAs are animals that help normalize their owner’s state of mind in mental conditions affecting their daily life. These animals are simply pets whose presence is a source of comfort to their owners, and in no way do they need to be specially trained by any institution. If you are going through something and require emotional help, you can opt for an emotional support animal. You can register your pet as your emotional support animal if you already have one.
Myths About Emotional Support Animals
Now with that out of the way, the following is a list made up of some common myths about ESAs and whether or not they are true:
Emotional Support Animals Are A Scam
This myth may have developed out of a sense of hatred caused by ESAs occupying various spaces where animals were previously not allowed and scepticism sowed by the enormous amount of misinformation on the internet. Anyhow of the source, we can safely classify it as false.
In truth, emotional support animals have scientifically proven benefits to human health. Petting animals helps lower blood pressure but also helps manage stress, depression, and pensive sadness. They even help reduce agitation among Alzheimer’s patients and provide other health benefits.
You Can Pretend that a Pet is an Emotional Support Animal
This is not entirely false. Unlike service animals that government-certified institutions must train, emotional support animals do not require registration. If you have a mental condition, you should communicate your need to a licensed mental health professional, and they can assign you a letter declaring your pet as ESA.
The problem arises with companies offering prescriptions for emotional support animals for a sum of money without consultation with a mental health professional. This has caused society to become oversaturated with ESA carried by people who do not need them.
ESA Online Registration is not Possible
Nowadays, it can be incredibly difficult to meet people in person, even for a medical checkup. However, this has not been for the worse as the use and demand for online products have increased. People are moving towards the digital world as it makes things incredibly efficient.
This raises the question of whether online ESA registration is possible, and the answer is a resounding yes. No matter what others say, you can apply for an ESA with any psychiatrist or therapist who offers their services online. They can review your application and write you a prescription if they deem it appropriate.
Some things to remember are that the mental health professional you are contacting must be authorized and licensed to work in your state. They should also understand the implications of an ESA and not make unsubstantiated claims.
The Law Does not Control Emotional Support Animals
Such claims have no basis, as various laws regarding emotional support animals have been put in place. The rights that ESAs have to include entry into habitable spaces that do not normally allow pets on the premises. Airlines must also allow passengers to board flights along with their ESA if sufficient proof is provided.
This does not mean that emotional support animals must have access to all restricted spaces. For restaurants, shops, etc., an ESA may be prohibited from passing beyond the front doors. Only service animals are allowed in all public places per the “Americans with Disabilities Act”.
Therapy Animals and ESAs Are the Same
We have already explained emotional support animals, but EEE sometimes needs clarification with therapy animals. Often after a natural disaster or war, people need some remedy for the terrible number of deaths caused by such things. That’s where therapy animals come in.
Therapy animals are well-trained dogs whose main job is to provide comfort and reassurance to patients. You can often find therapy dogs inside hospitals and at natural disaster sites. These animals can manage public spaces, unlike ESAs, who receive no formal training.
Service Animals are the Same as Emotional Support Animals
Another common misconception is that service animals are the same as emotional support animals, which is completely false. Service animals must graduate from licensed institutes where they are trained to perform specific tasks, such as guiding blind people, fetching medicine, etc.
All service animals must be dogs and are given special privileges that emotional support animals do not. A good example would be unrestricted entry into any public space so they can do their job properly. Service animals are also protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, while ESAs are not.
ESA Chart Reference Sites are a Scam
The ESA reference sites are scams, but not all of them. There are a plethora of sites that make unsubstantiated claims about emotional support animals. Even if you receive a letter from ESA, it is often not legitimate or does not match the claims made by the company beforehand. Before paying for an ESA letter, ensure your therapist receives your application and is licensed. You should also check whether the company’s claims are true before making your final decision.
Only Dogs can Be Emotional Support Animals
Although both service animals and therapy animals are required to be dogs, emotional support animals face no such limitation. As long as it is legal to house that animal within your state and your doctor gives you a prescription for ESA, you can adopt any animal as your emotional support animal.
ESA Prescriptions Can Last for Several Years
Fraudulent ESA reference sites often make claims like this. They try to force people into thinking that they will be able to get an ESA prescription from a verified doctor that will last several years or a lifetime. Since it is too complicated to refill the prescription, people tend to fall for this scam from time to time.
If you see such a claim, you should immediately know it is false. Each ESA prescription is only good for one year, after which it must be renewed by any mental health professional. You can get this letter online or in person, but it will still expire after one year without exception.
The internet is where misinformation spreads like wildfire, so we, as responsible citizens, must separate the facts from the falsehood. Similarly, emotional support animals have been subject to nasty rumor’s requiring clarification. We hope you were able to educate yourself while grasping the truth.
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