Emotional Support Animals In South Carolina

An emotional support animal (ESA) is any animal that has been deemed necessary for your wellbeing by a licensed mental healthcare worker. Unlike a service dog, an ESA doesn’t have to be trained to perform any specific task – their simple presence is enough to provide comfort and relief to mental or emotional disability symptoms. Also, unlike a service dog, they can be any sort of an animal – a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, fish, hamster, or anything reasonable that you and your mental healthcare worker find useful to you!

However, ESAs do share something in common with service dogs – they both are granted housing rights, thanks to the Fair Housing Act. This means that, in South Carolina (and anywhere else in the USA), you must be allowed to live with your ESA, even in housing that doesn’t allow pets. They’re also exempt from breed or weight restrictions, and you cannot be charged a pet deposit, pet fees, or pet rent to live with them.

Restrictions on Emotional Support Animals in South Carolina

Since ESAs aren’t trained to complete specific tasks, like service animals, they aren’t granted all the same rights. For instance, while you must be allowed to have your ESA with you where you live, that’s the only place you’re guaranteed to have access to your ESA. Unlike a service dog, they aren’t given public access – which means they aren’t legally required to be able to accompany you on public transport, in stores or restaurants, or even in hotels in South Carolina.

While some South Carolina businesses, workplaces, or public areas may decide to grant your ESA access, remember, it’s not a legal right – they can refuse it at any time.

Also, while your ESA must be allowed to live with you, if your animal is destructive or dangerous (for instance, if it tries to bite your neighbors), then your landlord can be allowed to demand you no longer live with your ESA at that property. Additionally, if you ESA causes any damage to your living space, you can still be charged for the repairs.

It’s important to remember that it’s illegal to imply that your emotional support animal is a service animal. They are considered two different types of animals in the eyes of the law and should be known as such. You should never put a vest on your emotional support animal that states it is a service animal unless it has been trained to be such.

Different Types of Laws for Emotional Support Animals in South Carolina

Under the Fair Housing Act, no one is allowed to deny an individual housing because of their ESA, but they are allowed to ask for proof that you need the animal. This is because rentals that are not pet-friendly are required to allow emotional support animals on the property. They are also not allowed to charge any deposits or fees for your assistive animals. This does not include any damages your pet does to the place. It is important to make sure your animal does not damage the location in any way.

Service dogs are allowed to fly in the cabins of airplanes for free, but this no longer applies to emotional support animals. The Air Carrier Access Act, which had protected emotional support animals, now only covers service dogs. Even if you do have a service dog, the airline can require you to fill out a form about your dog before a flight. This form will often ask about your dog’s training as well as ensure that your dog can relieve itself without making a mess.

If you have an emotional support dog you would like to bring into the cabin of an airplane, your only option would be to see if you can take it as a carry-on inside a small carrier that can be stowed under your seat. Obviously, this will not be possible for every ESA. Otherwise, you can use our online training program to teach your emotional support dog to be a psychiatric service animal, which is a dog that performs tasks that relieve mental health distress.

Psychiatric Service Dog in South Carolina

Psychiatric service dogs are a subset of service dogs that help people who have mental health conditions. They can treat many conditions and help people find comfort in a trustworthy companion. 

Mental health conditions that service dogs work well for include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • OCD

These are only some examples of conditions that a psychiatric service dog can help with. Depending on your needs they can be trained accordingly.

Psychiatric service dogs go through extensive training. This training gives them the necessary tools to help manage their owners’s conditions and the skills to open doors, guide people to safety, and apply deep pressure therapy. They’re also trained to recognize someone’s emotions or triggers, which will prevent panic attacks before they start.

In South Carolina, service dogs are protected by several laws. Federal laws outlined in the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect them in public spaces and in housing. It’s also a crime in South Carolina to interfere with someone’s service dog.

PTSD Service Dog in South Carolina

A post-traumatic stress service dog in South Carolina is a subset of psychiatric service dogs. They’re trained to help people who have PTSD, which is a mental health condition that can cause things like anxiety, panic attacks, and seizures.

PTSD service dogs can address these symptoms in a handful of ways. Primarily, they’re trained to perform a specific skill for their owner. These skills vary but usually involve reading someone’s emotions and preventing them from getting near things that trigger episodes. Additionally, PTSD service dogs can perform tasks that most other service dogs can do, which include things like opening doors and guiding their owner to safety.

Providing Proof of an ESA in South Carolina

Providing proof is very simple. All you have to do is get your ESA prescription letter for your emotional support animal and keep your documents on file. It is important to have these documents with you when you travel or move so that you can make sure you and your pet can take advantage of all the protections that are provided to you by law.

Why Emotional Support Animals Are Important

Emotional support animals provide comfort and a sense of security to those that might suffer from emotional illness or disabilities. They allow the individual not to feel so alone or deal with stressful situations more easily. There are many individuals who might benefit from an emotional support animal.

These individuals can be someone who suffers from any type of illness or disability that might make them feel different from other people, cause them to have stress about normal day-to-day situations, or someone who might have PTSD and need comfort when experiencing symptoms. For some, emotional support animals are just as important as service animals.

Why You Should Register Your Animal With USSA

It is important to always have your ESA letter current and on you at all times, just in case. Not all states have the same laws when it comes to emotional support animals, and having your registration makes sure that even when you are traveling your animal will be protected, and there is no risk of you having to experience any inconvenience due to lack of paperwork. In addition, while not legally required, registering your ESA with a reputable site like USSA can help provide additional proof, in case your landlord is hesitant to allow your ESA.

USSA makes it very simple and easy to register your emotional service animal. Some sites might not follow the proper laws and procedures when prescribing or registering your service animal and therefore will make the prescription invalid. This is not the cause with USSA. When you go through USSA, you can be sure that your emotional service animal will be protected and you will receive the right documents.

USSA makes registration very simple. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and answer a few questions. Then you will receive your registration and be able to start enjoying the protection provided to you by your state and federal law. USSA also provides a place to receive a doctor’s note if this is needed. USSA can take care of all your emotional support and service animal needs.