Emotional Support Animal Georgia: Laws & How To Get One 2023
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), but not ESAs.
In the housing world, the Fair Housing Act states that you can request that reasonable accommodation 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 animals not specially trained and provide support based on its presence alone.
In Georgia, 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 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.
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 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 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, 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, 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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