Emotional Support Animal California

Emotional support animals in California have a few rules and regulations that they must follow and you may be breaking them without knowing it. While there have been laws passed to protect emotional support animals (ESA’s) and their owners from discrimination, there are still laws which they must abide by. The law does greatly work more in your favour than against it, but there is also a lot of misconception regarding these animals and service animals.

What’s The Difference?

There is a clear and distinguishable difference between a service animal and a support animal. A service animal has specific training in order to perform a task for their owner that they are not capable of doing or are severely limited in doing. An ESA doesn’t need any form of training and their purpose is to provide companionship for their disabled owners which can help mitigate the symptoms of their disability.

What Should I Know?

Since an ESA doesn’t require any form of specialized training and they can be any domesticated creature which doesn’t have any behavioural or social issues, they are considered different to service animals in the eyes of the law. Your ESA cannot accompany you to public places such as restaurants, shops, hotels, and government buildings. They also can’t go into medical facilities or accompany you onto transportation such as buses, trains, and taxis. They can however, come with you onto an aircraft providing you obtain a certificate permitting this beforehand.
Service animals are permitted to enter public places and buildings without documentation and the owners can only be asked if the animal is required or not for a disability and what task it is trained to perform. They also don’t require to be certified, registered, or be identified as an animal of service.

So What Can I Do?

Your registered ESA is allowed to accompany you into a rental property to live there with you by housing laws or to board an aircraft with you. Both of these will require a certificate issued by a mental health professional to do so and it may be worth your time to look at examples of what these letters look like. California Law stipulates that people with ESA’s are not to be discriminated against along with The Fair Housing Act and the Aircraft Carrier Access Act for their protection.
The Fair Housing Act states that people with ESA’s cannot be discriminated against or denied a residential tenancy application because of their pet. The landlord must allow the pet to live on the property with the owner and can’t charge any additional fees for doing so.
The Aircraft Carrier Access Act is in place also to protect people with ESA’s from being discriminated against, but on airplanes. An ESA can accompany their owner onto an aircraft providing they have a certificate from a mental health professional stating the person’s need for the animal. The airline must allow the owner and pet to fly without any additional fees charged for the animal. The pet may also be permitted to sit in the cabin providing it doesn’t obstruct to aisles as that is a federal law.

The Online Dogtor