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. Any domesticated animal of any age may qualify as an ESA and, unlike service dogs, these animals do not need any specific task-training. This is 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), they 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?

Dallas Counseling and Treatment Center offers this assessment at our Uptown Dallas, Plano, Rockwall, and Denton locations at a rate of $200 for a 50 minute evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. This is a specialty service and one that is not covered by medical insurance.

We cannot provide assurance that this evaluation will allow an animal to fly on any airline. Therefore, it is recommended that you speak with your airline prior to scheduling for specific policies, guidelines, and forms.