Can You Have More Than One Emotional Support Animal? Emotional support animals (ESAs) are quickly becoming popular as a source of support for people with mental health conditions. If you’re thinking of getting an ESA, you may have questions about the rules and limitations around them, like can you have more than one emotional support animal?
There are no hard and fast rules about how many ESAs you can get, but there are still a few things to consider, like the practicalities of taking care of many animals.
We’ll talk all about that here. We'll also cover the basics of ESAs, the laws surrounding them, and what you need to know about ESA letters. So, whether you're looking to add a furry friend to your household or just want to learn more about ESAs, keep reading!
Can You Have More Than One Emotional Support Animal?
The letters should show that you have a disability that each ESA helps you with in specific ways. This is true for most states in the US, including states like Florida and California.
If you’re planning on having more than one ESA, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should make sure you have all the resources that you need to take proper care of multiple animals. Having more animals equals additional costs for food, veterinary care, and other supplies.
You should also consider how having more animals can affect your mental health. While having many ESAs may provide extra support, it may also be stressful to care for multiple animals. Make sure you’re prepared to handle the additional responsibility.
Emotional Support Animal vs. Service Animal: What’s the Difference?
You may have heard of service animals, which the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines as specially trained dogs that perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. These tasks may be leading a blind person through traffic or fetching objects for someone with a mobility impairment.
Mental health professionals are starting to see how having a pet can also help people with mental health issues. This is where emotional support animals, or ESAs, come in.
Licensed healthcare professionals may recommend ESAs to people with mental health conditions. ESAs support them by giving companionship and comfort and improving the signs of depression, anxiety, and some phobias, to name a few.
Unlike service animals, emotional support animals don’t have any special training. Instead, the companionship ESAs offer is usually enough to help a person with a mental health condition feel better.
What Kind of Animals Can Serve as an ESA and a Service Animal?
Since there are various types of tasks that service animals are trained to do, different dog breeds, ranging in size and traits, can be a good fit depending on the task.
Take Labradors and German Shepherds, for example, they're perfect for providing stability for people with mobility impairments. But smaller dogs like Terriers and Poodles can be good as hearing dogs, seizure-alert dogs, and diabetic-alert dogs.
For ESAs, there are no restrictions on what kind of animal you can have. Birds, rabbits, hedgehogs, hamsters, lizards… you name it! Even small pigs have been known to board planes as ESAs.
However, the most common ESAs are cats and dogs because they are easy to care for, and transporting them is less of a hassle.
What are the laws around emotional support animals?
Unlike regular house pets, there are certain laws that protect a person’s right to have their ESA nearby. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), individuals with disabilities who have an ESA have the right to request reasonable accommodation from housing providers.
Even if the building has a no-pets policy, landlords are required to make exceptions to their usual rules and allow tenants to keep an ESA in their homes if it’s necessary for their well-being.
Limitations of ESAs
Even with these legal protections, ESAs have some limitations compared to service animals. The ADA allows service animals to accompany their owners into all areas of public accommodation, including restaurants, stores, hotels, and other public areas.
ESAs don’t have those same broad access rights. Instead, they can only go to places under the Fair Housing Act, which mostly includes people's homes or apartments.
ESAs are also no longer allowed into an airplane cabin for free under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Since 2021, they are not considered service animals under this law.
Some airlines may still allow ESAs on their flights, with certain conditions. You should have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional, provide advance notice to the airline, and other limitations depending on the airline.
ESAs don’t have to undergo any specific training like service animals. But, they must be well-behaved and under the control of their owner at all times.
Airlines may kick ESAs off flights, or landlords may evict them from their homes along with their owners, if they misbehave, damage others’ properties, or harm others.
What Disabilities Qualify You for an ESA?
A range of mental health conditions can qualify you for an ESA, with some of the most common being anxiety, depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
ESAs can help people with mental health conditions by providing a sense of security and comfort to their owners. This can help ease feelings of anxiety and stress. Many people find that spending time with an ESA helps them feel more relaxed and reduces anxiety symptoms.
If you have anxiety, and your pet helps relieve your symptoms, your pet can qualify for ESA status.
Can ESA Letters Expire?
ESA letters are documents prepared by a licensed healthcare professional confirming that you have a mental issue and that your animal helps you cope with the effects of your condition. The letter usually talks about your mental health condition and how the animal alleviates symptoms.
This letter also includes a date of issue, and while ESA letters don’t technically expire under current laws, it’s still best to keep them up-to-date. At a minimum, make sure your ESA letter is a year old or less.
Can a cat be an emotional support animal?
Cats can, in fact, be emotional support animals (ESAs). An emotional support cat can help someone who is suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. It is important to note, however, that as of today, dogs are the only animals that can be considered service animals.
How many emotional support animals can you have in Florida?
There is no limit to the number of emotional support animals (ESAs) that a person may have in Florida. However, landlords or associations may request information about each ESA's specific need.
What is the best site to get an ESA letter?
There are a few sites out there that offer legitimate ESA certifications, but in my opinion, the best one out there is Service Paws USA. Let me tell you why.
First of all, Service Paws USA offers excellent customer service. They truly care about their clients and make sure that they get the support they need. Their team of professionals is always ready to answer any questions and concerns you may have throughout the process.
Secondly, Service Paws USA offers numerous advantages. With their ESA certification, you'll be able to fly with your pet without any additional fees or hassle. You'll also be able to keep your pet in any accommodation, even if the establishment has a no-pet policy. And the best part is that you won't have to pay any deposit for your pet.
Thirdly, Service Paws USA is compliant with both the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). This means that you'll have the legal protection you need when it comes to housing and air travel.
Finally, Service Paws USA provides you with an ESA letter from a licensed therapist. This ensures that your certification is legitimate and recognized by housing providers and airlines.
Can I have 2 emotional support cats?
Yes, you can have two or more emotional support cats as long as they do not violate any state or local laws and your therapist agrees that they are there to help you.
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