Emotional Support Animal Georgia: Laws & How To Get One 2023

Reviewed by Dr. Elmar Mammadov, MD & Research Scientist

A team of qualified and experienced fact-checkers carefully reviews our content before it is published on our website. At MIDSS, we rely on the latest and most reliable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the end of each article. We also do not accept plagiarised and misleading content from our authors and contributors. Read more about our fact check and editorial process.

emotional support animal georgia
Emotional support animals assist people with various mental health conditions. Photo: Shutterstock

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are any kind of pet that gives comfort to their owner. In recent years, ESA laws have changed to have stricter lines drawn between the rights of people with service animals versus emotional support animals.

Unfortunately, most emotional support animals are not considered service animals and as a result are not protected by laws such as the Air Carrier Access Act. Instead the rules are restricted to permitting psychiatric service dogs (PSDs),[1] but not ESAs.

In the housing world, the Fair Housing Act states that you can request that reasonable accommodation[2] be made for you and your service animal, as long as the request does not cause unreasonable problems for the housing provider.

Rules such as these can affect the health of individuals who may require the company of their ESA but didn’t have the proper paperwork. As laws continue to change, it is important to stay up to date on the rights of you and your animal.

Emotional Support Animal Georgia: The Laws

According to the American Psychological Association, ESAs are defined as [3]animals not specially trained and provide support based on its presence alone. 

In Georgia,[4] the state laws require housing providers to offer the same permissions for ESAs as other service animals. In terms of traveling by plane, ESAs are not afforded the same rights as service animals according to the Air Carrier Access Act. In other public spaces, ESAs are permitted only in pet-friendly areas and therefore not allowed in certain stores and restaurants. Finally, it is the owner’s responsibility to take care of their ESA and provide the proper paperwork when asked.

Emotional Support Animal Laws In Georgia

While the Americans with Disabilities Act[5] protects specially trained service dogs, it does not protect ESAs. A service dog is any animal that is specially trained to perform specific tasks that assist someone with a disability. They do not have to have a certification or go through any specific training course.

ESA Laws For Travel

In the past, airlines were required to provide whatever reasonable accommodation they could for a person accompanied by an ESA with an emotional support animal letter. However, laws have recently changed, and airlines are no longer required to honor an ESA letter. The Air Carrier Access Act only applies to service dogs.[6]

To bring your ESA on board, the regulations are therefore the same as pets. These details vary by airline, and it is advised to check with the airline of your choice before flying with your ESA.

ESA Workplace Laws

You can request that reasonable accommodation be made[7] for you to bring your ESA into the workplace, but it is important to note that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not specifically mention ESAs.

To apply, you may have to provide evidence that you need your ESA to function, that the animal will not be disruptive to anyone else at the workplace, and that the accommodation will not present an undue hardship to your employer. It will then be up to the employer to decide whether to approve or deny your request.

ESA Housing Laws

According to the Fair Housing Act, housing providers cannot discriminate against a tenant because they depend on the emotional support of a pet. This means that if you get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional, your landlord is required to allow your ESA to live with you and cannot charge you additional fees for your pet. In schools, campus housing is required to follow the same laws as all other properties.

Having an ESA letter means you can request that reasonable accommodations be made for you and your emotional support animal, but ultimately, a landlord can deny your request if they feel that your animal will cause damage to the property or disturb other tenants.

While there is no limit to how many emotional support animals you can have, you will have to show that your animals will not disturb other residents and will not cause damage to the property.

Finally, it is important to note that if your ESA damages any property, you will be responsible for covering the cost of repairs.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): Everything To Know

emotional support animal georgia
Any breed of pet can be an emotional support animal. Photo: Shutterstock

Emotional support animals are different from seeing-eye dogs or other specially trained service dogs. An emotional support animal can be any type of animal of any breed and doesn’t require any special training.

The lack of service training doesn’t make ESAs any less important. An emotional support companion can help with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.

Benefits Of Having An Emotional Support Animal

Having an emotional support animal can be a great benefit to you and your loved ones. According to the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,[8] ESAs are more than just animals. They have been shown to relieve loneliness, help people with emotional disability, and provide support for people with mental health conditions.

ESAs can be dogs, cats, rabbits, or even miniature horses. Any animal that provides emotional support and comfort for its owner can be considered an ESA.

Getting A Legitimate ESA Letter In Georgia: How To Do It?

If you are thinking about getting an emotional support animal, you will need to know how to get an ESA letter.

See A Therapist

With medical documentation of a mental health condition, you can be approved to get an ESA or a psychiatric service dog depending on your needs. With a mental health professional familiar with your case, they will be able to advise whether an ESA is a good fit for you.

Fill Out An Application Online

If you don’t have access to an in-person licensed mental health professional, websites like Certapet can help you get an ESA letter as well. Certapet reviews show that many people have been able to get reasonable accommodation by getting an ESA.

Use A Trusted Company For Your Letter

No matter which option you choose, make sure that you are getting a legitimate ESA letter. Talking to a mental health professional in-person is the more reliable option. If you are looking for an online certificate, be sure to research the companies to ensure the certification is legitimate before paying the fees.

Where Can You Find An Emotional Support Animal In Georgia?

One of the best places to find an emotional support animal in Georgia is through a pet sanctuary or rescue. Because there is no special selection process for an ESA, any pet can become one. Here are a few animal rescues in Georgia where you may consider adopting a pet from:

  • Atlanta Humane Society
  • FurKids Georgia
  • PAWS Atlanta

Places In Georgia To Bring Your Emotional Support Animal

If you want to bring your ESA to pet-friendly public spaces in Georgia, here are some recommendations. 

Pet-Friendly Restaurants And Bars In Georgia

  • Lucky’s Burger & Brew – Roswell, GA
  • J. Christophers – Savannah, GA
  • Cowboys and Angels Restaurant and Bar – Helen, GA
  • Moon River Brewing Company – Savannah, GA
  • The Original Crab Shack – Tybee Island, GA
  • Tortuga Jacks – Jeckyll Island, GA
  • Harvest on Main – Blue Ridge, GA

Dog Parks In Georgia

  • Newton Dream Dog Park – Johns Creek, GA
  • Piedmont Park – Atlanta, GA
  • Swift-Cantrell Park – Kennesaw, GA
  • Wills Park – Alpharetta, GA
  • Chattahoochee Bend State Park – Newnan, GA


Emotional support animals can provide companionship and improve one’s mental health. Many people depend on their animals to help them function normally. While getting an ESA letter can help in some cases, many public spaces and commercial airlines are no longer required by law to accommodate people with ESAs the same way they do with service animals.

If you have an animal best friend who you wish to live and travel with, the best options are to either find a housing provider that is already pet-friendly or get an ESA letter and make a request for reasonable accommodation. It is also best to avoid public spaces with policies that do not allow pets. 

Remember, unless you have a specifically trained service dog,[9] you will have to follow many of the same rules as pet owners regarding no-pet policies in public spaces with your ESA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an ESA and a service animal?

An ESA is any animal that provides comfort for people with emotional disabilities. A service animal is an animal that has specific training to perform tasks that help someone manage their physical or mental disability.

Does my housing provider have to allow my ESA to live with me?

You can make a reasonable accommodation request for your ESA to live with you. Your housing provider in Georgia is required to make accommodations for you unless they can show that your animal is disturbing other residents or causing damage to the property.

What is the best way to get an ESA letter?

The best way to get an ESA letter is to talk to a licensed mental health professional. This ensures that your ESA will be legitimate, and your visit may even be covered by insurance. You can also use online companies, but make sure the website you use is legitimate.

Where can I get an emotional support animal?

You can get an emotional support animal at the same places where you get a pet. Adopting from a shelter or rescue allows you to have a support animal and may even save an animal from euthanasia.

+ 9 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. service (2016). Emotional support animal vs. psychiatric service animal. [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/09/pet-aid-sidebar.
  2. HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (n.d.). Assistance Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/assistance_animals#_Obligations_of_Housing:~:text=not%20a%20pet.-
  3. service (2016). Emotional support animal vs. psychiatric service animal. [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/09/pet-aid-sidebar
  4. Yelpix (2021). Emotional Support Animal Laws in Georgia. [online] US Service Animals Blog. Available at: https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/emotional-support-animal-laws-in-georgia/
  5. ADA.gov. (2023). Service Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/
  6. Transportation.gov. (2020). U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals | US Department of Transportation. [online] Available at: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-announces-final-rule-traveling-air-service-animals#:~:text=No%20longer%20considers%20an%20emotional%20support%20animal%20to%20be%20a%20service%20animal
  7. Askjan.org. (2018). Emotional Support Animals in the Workplace: A Practical Approach, Volume 12, Issue 04. [online] Available at: https://askjan.org/publications/consultants-corner/vol12iss04.cfm.
  8. Wisdom, J.P., Goal Auzeen Saedi and Green, C.A. (2009). Another breed of ‘service’ animals: STARS study findings about pet ownership and recovery from serious mental illness.. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, [online] 79(3), pp.430–436. doi:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016812.
  9. ADA.gov. (2023). Service Animals. [online] Available at: https://www.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/


Jessica is a registered nurse with a masters degree in research and education. She loves to help people understand how to take charge of their health. She has cared for patients in all stages of life including newborn babies through patients at the end of their life. Jessica currently works in the cardiothoracic ICU managing patients on ECMO. She is also part of a medical transport team and is a new nurse and patient educator. She loves helping people reach their full potential.


Elmar Mammadov is a medical doctor with more than 5 years of experience working in both clinical and research settings. He served as a staff physician in a variety of clinical fields, including liver diseases, psychiatry, and chronic conditions. Elmar has also served as a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Maryland, Baltimore, where he carried out psychopharmacological drug discovery research. Elmar is an author of several peer-reviewed academic publications, and also loves to write about health-related topics for general public. Elmar's second passion besides medicine and neuroscience is computer programming, in which he is currently pursuing a graduate degree.

Help us rate this article

Thank you for your feedback

Keep in touch to see our improvement