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Emotional Support Animal Laws in California

Apr 8, 2019 By USSA

In California, an emotional support animal is defined as a dog or other animal which provides companionship, emotional support and a sense of well-being and safety to their owner. Unlike service dogs, they are not trained to perform specific tasks related to an individuals disability. They are also known as therapy dogs as they support their owner in response to symptoms relating to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Thus, emotional dogs do not require specialized training in the way that service dogs do.

The laws in California allow a person with a disability to bring a trained service dog or psychiatric service dog to all public places but not emotional support animals. This is the same as the federal law however there are a number of laws protecting emotional support animals in different settings, within the state of California. A public place includes libraries, hotels, shops, restaurants, theatres, and hospitals. The law for emotional support animals also applies to public transport in which they are not allowed. The two laws that protect emotional support animal are the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

Housing Laws

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, a landlord is required to allow an emotional support animal to live with their owner, in a rented home. Landlords cannot evict or restrict a renter because they have an emotional support animal. Additionally, landlords cannot ask for a pet deposit for an emotional support animal as they are not classed as pets. Documentation may be required to show evidence and support the disability of the renter but the owner should not have to show evidence that the animal is certified. The documentation will be in the form of an ESA letter which you can get easily online from US Service Animals.

If a property does not usually allow pets, landlords still have to allow someone who has an emotional support animal as long as they have a letter from a mental health professional stating their need for the animal.

Employment Laws

Both employees and job applicants with emotional support animals fall under California’s Fair Employment and House Act. The law states that employers should not discriminate with regards to an employee’s disability and they must make reasonable effort to adapt to their disability within the workplace.

Even if a workplace does not allow animals, they have to make an exception for an emotional support animal. And similar to landlords, employers may request documentation that states the owners need for an emotional support animal. This is why it is important to have an ESA letter to support you and your emotional support animal.

Travel Laws

A letter from a licensed mental health professional is needed to fly with an emotional support animal. This letter will explain the owner’s mental health disability and why they need the support of an emotional support animal. Detail is key and information should also include the need for an emotional support animal on a plane journey and the activity at the destination. The Air Carrier Access Act covers disabled people and emotional support animals on airplanes but can be very strict.

It is now a requirement from American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Air, Delta, Spirit, and Frontier Airlines to have extra documentation as well as a medical letter. When you choose to get your letter from us, you can pay an extra small fee to get this documentation as well which will be filled out by one of our medical professionals.

Public Transportation Laws

Emotional support animals are not allowed in many public places and this also applies to public transportation. This includes buses, trains, and cars which only allow service animals and psychiatric animals have access to.

ESA Letter

Landlords and employers can request proof that an animal is an emotional support animal. And this proof has to be from a licensed health care professional who will state why the user needs their emotional support animal to support their specific disability. A landlord or business can deny access if a letter is not provided and all airlines require a letter before travel.

It is advised to get documentation as soon as you get an emotional support animal to be on the safe side. Whether you’re traveling with your pet or moving into a new apartment in California, use the easy service we offer users across American at Us Service Animals to get an ESA letter.

Call us today and speak to one of our medical professionals to see if you qualify. Fill out details for yourself and your animal and consult on the phone with a medical professional. Then make payment and you will receive your ESA letter via email for you to print and use. This letter will grant your animal access to airline travel and housing that has a no-pet policy.