what are emotional support animals?

Emotional Support Animals provide emotional assistance to their handlers and may qualify as an ESA as long as the animal does not cause a disturbance or undue hardship for the property owner. All domesticated animals of any age may qualify as an ESA. Unlike a service dog, these animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence reduces the symptoms associated with a person's psychological or emotional disability.

For a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA), he/she must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional. This means the person must meet criteria for a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM 5)

What Are Your Legal Protections and Rights?


The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Dept. of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382, Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 are the laws that protect an emotionally disabled person and his/her ESA.

The legal protections an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) has are to:

  1. Fly with its emotionally or psychologically disabled handler in the cabin of an aircraft without being charged a pet fee. 
  2. Qualify for no-pet housing (that also includes limited size, breed, or species housing) without being charged a pet fee. 

Are You Interested In An Evaluation?

DCTC offers this assessment at our Uptown Dallas, Plano and Rockwall, Texas locations at a rate of $130 for a 50 minute evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. Unfortunately, we are unable to bill your medical insurance for this particular service. Please fill out the form on our 'contact us' page and select 'Emotional Support Animal Letter' from the drop down menu.