How Do I Register an Animal as an Emotional Support Animal?

Hey guys,

I’ve been thinking about getting an emotional support animal lately. I’m 18 and dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and BPD. I had a tortoise before from a bad breeder, but he passed away. Now, I’m considering getting a cat from a shelter and registering him or her as an emotional support animal so I can have them in my dorm. Do you know how I can go about doing that?

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As a landlord, when tenants claim their pet is a “registered service animal,” it indicates they may not be aware of the actual ADA compliance requirements. What’s necessary is a letter from a doctor confirming two things: 1. the presence of a disability, and 2. that the animal performs a specific task related to that disability. There are no official registries for service animals. HUD rules are somewhat more flexible for support animals.

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This post is incredibly important and should be read by everyone.

It’s crucial to understand that an emotional support animal is not the same as a Service Animal.

Anyone who pretends otherwise just to get their way is being dishonest. As someone who also deals with mental health issues, I know firsthand how comforting pets can be. However, I would never pretend that my pet qualifies as a service animal just to bypass rules against pets in certain areas.

Why not?

Because I once witnessed a situation where a person with a fake service dog caused a real service dog nearby to be attacked.

Service animals undergo extensive training and are highly skilled. Moreover, they come with a significant cost, often ranging from $20,000 to upwards of $50,000, depending on their specific role.

Let’s avoid being the person who takes advantage of these distinctions.

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In a small town where I once lived, there was a situation where a man brought a pony onto his property around Christmas. Initially, it was assumed that the pony was there for his grandchildren to enjoy during the holidays, so it was overlooked. However, when the pony remained there three months later, the town board informed him that he had to remove the animal because keeping livestock within town limits was against regulations. In response, he sued the town, claiming that the pony was his service animal and that the town was violating ADA regulations. The lawsuit did not end in his favor, but he was permitted to keep the animal.

To avoid such complications, it’s essential to obtain a letter from your doctor confirming your need for a service animal. Don’t find yourself in a situation like that man did.