Fake Emotional Support Animal Letters
A valid ESA letter is not unreasonably expensive or difficult to obtain if you use a quality resource with a proven track record.
Unfortunately, there are companies offering ESA letter services that are, at best, negligent and, at worst, fraudulent.
There are also people who do not respect the legitimacy of emotional support animals as an alternative form of treatment for mental and emotional disabilities. As such, there are a number of individuals who fake ESA letters simply for convenience or to scam their way to special treatment for themselves and their pets.
Trying to get around the system with a fake ESA letter is not a good idea. Not only does it make it more difficult for people with legitimate needs, but also it might be considered fraud that may punishable with fines, jail time, and other potential consequences.
Penalties for Emotional Support Animal Fraud
There are an increasing number of states that are passing laws making it illegal to falsely claim that you are entitled to be accompanied by a service animal. Currently, about half the 50 states consider it a crime to pretend that you have a disability or to misrepresent your pet as a legitimate service animal.
The laws vary from state to state.
- In California, you can be punished by up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor of falsely and knowingly claiming that you are the trainer or owner of a service animal.
- In Florida misrepresenting a dog as a service animal is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor with a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
- In New Jersey, putting a dog in a guide dog harness to falsely represent it as a guide dog can result in a fine of $100 to $500.
- In Minnesota, a 2nd offense is a misdemeanor which can include 90 days in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.
How to Spot a Fake ESA Letter
An ESA letter is not valid if:
- it is not written by a licensed mental health professional
- it is not written on the licensed mental health professional’s official letterhead
- it is not written by a licensed mental health professional registered in the state you reside in
- it does not include the licensed mental health professional’s license number and direct contact information
- it does not include the date of issuance
- it does not include the specific wording to comply with regulations (legal diagnosis, statement of treatment, ESA prescription, etc.)
- it uses terms, such as “service animal” or “therapy animal” instead of “emotional support animal”
How to Spot a Fake ESA Service
While there are services that legitimately help people get a valid ESA letter to support their need to live or travel with an emotional support animal, there are companies that may be negligent in the product they offer. There are also some that are intentionally fraudulent.
Warning signs of a service that may not provide the documentation you need include:
- ESA letters offers are suspiciously inexpensive (less than $125)
- Mental health screenings are not required
- Requiring inclusion in a “registry” or “registration” of emotional support animals
- Offers of ESA “kits”
- Falsely requires add-ons, such as ESA ID cards, framed certificates, or ESA tags
- Claims you can “take your pet anywhere”
- Follow-up — such as response to verification requests — is not offered
Doing It Right
Over the years, the DOGtor has helped thousands of Americans get valid ESA letters. You can be comfortable that we can help you with a legitimate service and proven product so you can freely live and travel with your emotional support animal.
We make the process simple and affordable, even offering a 100% refund if you are not approved. Get your ESA letter through the DOGtor, a company with a proven track record of doing it right.