Emotional Support Animals In Connecticut

Emotional Support Animals or ESAs are going to have to be prescribed by a medical professional in the mental health department. Emotional support animals are going to be prescribed to people who have a mental illness or psychiatric disability that interferes with their everyday life.

The only people who can prescribe these animals are licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. These experts will decide if an emotional support animal is going to be useful in helping improve or stabilizing your mental health. For example, having an ESA may help decrease anxiety in certain people which would allow them to get through their daily activities a lot easier.

ESAs vs. Service Animals

A lot of people often confuse service animals and emotional support animals. They are more different than they are similar. An emotional support animal is not a service animal. ESAs do not have the same rights as service animals. Service animals are allowed in most, if not all, public areas whereas an emotional support animal is not. ESAs are not allowed to go into restaurants or malls as service dogs can.

A service animal is defined as a dog that is trained to work or perform a task for a person or persons with disabilities. This is defined by the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act. This act also states that emotional support animals are not service animals.

The one main difference between the two is that one is trained and one is not. Service animals are trained to perform a specific task or tasks and/or to complete a job that is related to an individual’s disability. For example, service dogs can alert someone who has seizures that one is coming and that they should sit down. Another skill service animals have is that they can tell people who have diabetes if they have low blood sugar. Emotional support animals are going to cuddle and do not qualify as service animals because generally these actions are done without training and it is a habit these animals instantly have.

Psychiatric Service Dog in Connecticut

Psychiatric service dogs are dogs that are trained to provide assistance to individuals suffering from a mental health condition or a psychiatric condition that interferes with their daily lives. These dogs are trained to support individuals via tasks such as interrupting harmful behaviors, providing mobility support or guidance, retrieving medication, and providing deep pressure therapy as a calming method.

In Connecticut, there are state laws that support the federal protections for service dogs laid out by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Connecticut state law doesn’t specifically support psychiatric service dogs, opting to support service dogs for guide dogs and medical alert dogs instead. 

However, Connecticut must abide by the protections for psychiatric service dogs defined in the ADA, meaning that individuals with a psychiatric service dog in this state can take advantage of the same public accommodations and access rights as individuals with other types of service dogs.

PTSD Service Dog in Connecticut

A PTSD service dog is one that has been trained to help individuals who may be struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD service dogs are a subset of psychiatric service dogs. In Connecticut, PTSD service dogs will find their main protections and public access rights protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

PTSD service dogs perform a variety of helpful tasks for their owners, and these tasks allow their owners to do about their daily lives with more confidence and support. PTSD service dogs may retrieve medication and water for their owners, guide them to safe spaces, guard their backs while out in public, and check rooms or around corners for their owners. These dogs are highly trained and they easily learn new skills that may help support their owner’s specific needs.

Legal Rights of ESAs

Emotional support animals are not service animals and they are going to have different legal rights compared to service dogs. The Fair Housing Act is not going to include emotional support animals in the same category and they do not qualify as assistance animals. However, with this being said, under Federal law, a landlord is not able to discriminate against anyone with an emotional support animal when they are looking or renting a home. This also means that a landlord is unable to turn this person away due to their emotional support animal’s size or breed. Even if the house does not allow pets, an emotional support animal has the right to live there with his/her owner. The pet deposits and fees are also waived if it is an emotional support animal.

Unfortunately, the Air Carrier Access Act no longer protects emotional support animals, so they likely won’t be able to sit in the cabin of the plane. This law only covers service animals and so you’ll want to refresh your memory of an airline’s pet policy if you plan on traveling with your emotional support animal.

Emotional Support Animals in Connecticut

Many people across the globe suffer from an emotional disability. Many people also suffer from a mental disability. However, many people do not understand how to qualify for an emotional support animal in Connecticut. This is what we are going to discuss below. We are going to discuss how to obtain an emotional support animal and some of the laws in Connecticut.

How to Get an ESA in Connecticut

These animals are typically going to be either a cat or a dog, however, they can be almost any domesticated animal. These animals use their affection, companionship, and love to help lessen an individual’s symptoms of their disability.

According to Federal laws, a Connecticut emotional support animal is not going to require any special training.

How to Qualify for a Connecticut ESA

To qualify, it is a pretty straightforward process. You must be seeing a mental health professional. He or she must be licensed. This person will certify that you have this disability and issue a recommendation letter to allow your animal to be an emotional support animal.

What Your Connecticut Emotional Support Letter Contains

Your letter of recommendation is going to contain a few points. However, in order for it to be valid, it must be written within the past year and feature the doctor’s letterhead. This letter is going to provide others with the information below

  • You are a current patient of this provider.
  • You are being treated by this provider for mental or emotional disabilities.
  • Your disability restricts you from daily activities.
  • An emotional support animal is important for your treatment.

What Conditions Qualify You For an ESA

  • Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD
  • Cognitive Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Learning Disorders
  • Phobias and/or Fears
  • Gender Identity Crisis

Why is a Letter Necessary?

The letter of recommendation that you get from your mental health provider is important because it will inform others such as your landlord that you have an emotional support animal and that

  • You are being treated by this professional for your disability.
  • That you are limited from participating in some daily activities because of your disability and that an emotional support animal helps you.

When you are looking to rent a home, this letter is important because the no-pets rule and breed restrictions do not apply to those with emotional support animals. Those who have these animals can live anywhere and landlords are legally required to let their animal live there with them no matter what the rules are. However, with this being said, it is up to the owner of the animal to keep their ESA letters up-to-date. Emotional support animals are not considered animals when this occurs.

If you believe you qualify for an emotional support animal, begin your registration at the USSA website. It helps speed up the process and determine your eligibility.