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How to dodge an ESA scam



As people become more aware of emotional support animals, companies and individuals pop up to take advantage of those looking to make their pet an ESA with scams. All you need to make your pet an emotional support animal is a valid letter from a licensed mental health professional. Many online services are offering these letters along with emotional support animal registration, badges, vests, and other paraphernalia for a high price. Learn how to dodge an ESA scam.

What is an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support animals are pets that help those with specific psychological disabilities by providing love support. Legally an animal can become an emotional support animal. They do not need any training, unlike a service animal. Emotional support animals can live in housing that does not allow pets. Landlords cannot deny a tenant housing because they have an emotional support animal and the complex does not allow pets. Emotional support animals can also fly with their owners, either sitting in their lap or in the space in front of their seat. Airlines can not charge a pet fee, and the emotional support animal does not need to stay in a carrier.

Fake ESA Letters

Be wary of any site that promises emotional support animals instantly. In order to get an emotional support animal, you need a letter from a licensed mental health profession, which can be a psychologist, psychiatrist, or doctor. A real LHMP will need to talk to you, either over the phone or through email to evaluate your condition. Only certain psychological conditions qualify for emotional support animals. If you never talk with a licensed mental health professional and receive an “ESA Letter,” the letter is probably fake. Find out how a fake emotional support letter can ruin your vacation.

ESA Registry Scam

Many people who want to make their pet an emotional support animal find themselves scammed by companies that offer ESA registries. There is no registration for emotional support animals. ESAs do not need to wear a vest or have a badge as a service dog would, these items are offered at a high price to take advantage of emotional support animal owners, and it is completely optional. These sites will often give customers a “certificate” which says their pet is now on to the ESA registry, but that does not qualify as an ESA letter. Airlines and landlords will only accept legal, emotional support letters from licensed mental health professionals.

Many services and sites are ESA scams. All you need to get to make your pet an emotional support animal legally is a letter from a licensed mental health professional. This letter states that your pet is needed to help you cope with the symptoms of your qualifying psychological condition and that the therapist recommends the ESA as part of your treatment plan. ESA scams offer certificates instead of ESA letters and badges, vests, and other gear that are entirely optional. It’s important to make sure you ESA letter is legit, so you are not denied housing or boarding.