How to Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter in Charlotte, NC

An emotional support animal (ESA) letter is a legal document that permits you to take advantage of the legal protections extended to people who need an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals are helpful for people living with various mental health conditions, as they can improve their quality of life and help manage the symptoms of their conditions. In order for you to qualify for an emotional support animal letter, you need to receive a diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional who agrees that you will benefit from an ESA.

This article discusses the basics of emotional support animals in Charlotte, North Carolina, the process of getting an ESA letter, and provides you with some options of local places where you can take your ESA.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that can provide comfort and support to people with mental or emotional disabilities. ESAs can be any domesticated animal, such as cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, and more. The purpose of an ESA is to provide companionship and emotional support to its owner and help them navigate difficulties in their everyday life.

They are not considered the same as standard pets under things like housing and pet rules. This means that they have additional protections.

It is important to note that an ESA is not the same as a service animal, such as a guide dog for the blind or deaf. ESAs are not specially trained like service animals and do not perform any specific tasks for their owners. Instead, they provide comfort and emotional support through companionship and affection.

Who Can Qualify for an ESA in Charlotte?

In order to qualify for an emotional support animal, you must have a recognized emotional or mental disability. You need to speak to a mental healthcare worker licensed in North Carolina who can diagnose you with this condition. Examples of conditions that may qualify you for an ESA include:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Social anxiety
  • Depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD

People with these conditions may benefit from the companionship of an ESA to help manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. These are not the only disabilities that can qualify for an emotional support animal, so if you feel like your emotional or mental health is impacted in such a way that you cannot carry out your day-to-day tasks without support, consult with USSA or a local licensed mental healthcare provider to find out if you can qualify for an emotional support animal.

What Are the Benefits of Having an ESA Letter in Charlotte?

An ESA letter is an important document that provides a legal basis for the presence of an emotional support animal in your home or other places. This document is issued by a licensed mental health professional and serves as proof that the person has been diagnosed with a mental health condition and needs their ESA to help manage their symptoms.

Some of the benefits of having an emotional support animal include:

  • Reduced symptoms
  • Improvement in mood
  • Benefits to your physical health through exercising your pet
  • Lower feelings of isolation
  • Greater access to housing

Many landlords rent out properties with no pet policies or have strict regulations around the species or breed of pet you’re allowed to bring into your home. If you have an emotional support animal letter, you and your animal are exempt from these restrictions.

How to Get an Emotional Support (ESA) Letter in Charlotte

To get an emotional support animal letter in Charlotte, you need to:

  • Find a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who understands the benefits of emotional support animals.
  • Schedule an appointment with the mental health professional to explain your emotional or mental disabilities and why you believe an ESA will benefit your situation.

Finally, if you receive an emotional support animal letter, you should keep it with you in case you need to provide it to companies or people requesting it.

For your emotional support animal letter to be legal, it needs to meet certain criteria. The letter must:

  • Be issued by a licensed medical provider
  • Be written on official letterheaded paper
  • Contain detailed information about the medical conditions that qualify you for an ESA
  • Include details of your ESA animal, including their breed and name

There are a large number of companies that suggest that they can provide you with an ESA letter through an online questionnaire. Unfortunately, this is simply not possible. For the letter to be legal, it needs to come from a mental healthcare provider familiar with your situation. They’ll need to have a conversation with you and discuss your circumstances and any issues you have.

How to Get an Emotional Support Letter (ESA) in Charlotte With U.S. Service Animals

Navigating the system and avoiding scams can be difficult when you’re trying to obtain a legally valid emotional support animal letter. At US Service Animals, we’ve taken all the guesswork out of getting you a legal emotional support animal letter.

  • First, schedule your risk-free consultation using this link or by giving us a call.
  • We’ll pair you with a licensed mental health professional in North Carolina. This is the only way that the process is legal.
  • We’ll then schedule a phone or video session with your licensed mental healthcare provider in order to begin the screening process.
  • After speaking to your provider, if they determine that an emotional support animal will benefit you, they’ll write you your letter, and you’ll be all set.

What Are the Laws About ESAs in Charlotte?

While there are some state laws governing ESAs, emotional support animals are federally protected. Therefore, a legal ESA letter is essential to ensure you and your animal can take advantage of these protections.

Can I Fly With an ESA in Charlotte?

Until January 2021, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) treated emotional support animals as service animals. However, an amendment to this act means that they are now considered the same as pets and therefore are subject to the same treatment as standard pets.

This means that airlines are allowed to charge pet fees and set restrictions on emotional support animals. You no longer have a legally protected right to fly with your emotional support animal. Depending on the airline you choose to fly with, your ESA may have to fit in a carrier under your seat. Some airlines have banned certain species of animals from flying altogether, and others may only allow you to fly your animal as ‘very special cargo’ in the hold of the plane.

For more information on the specifics of flying with an ESA, contact your air carrier in advance so you can be sure that you have everything you need.

Can I Live With an ESA in Charlotte?

Under the Fair Housing Act, people with emotional support animals are not allowed to be discriminated against. This act prevents discrimination based on various characteristics. This includes race, color, origin, religion, and any disability an individual may have.

If a licensed mental healthcare professional determines that you have a disability that requires an emotional support animal, you are protected under the Fair Housing Act. This means that you can submit an accommodation request to your landlord to ask them to allow you to live with your emotional support animal. They usually have to agree to this unless the specific animal may pose a threat to others.

Even if your city or state has restrictions that apply to pets, you and your ESA are exempt from these under the Fair Housing Act.

You also won’t have to pay:

  • Pet fees
  • Pet deposits
  • Pet rent

This is so that people who need emotional support animals have the same treatment as those who don’t require them.

Can I Bring My ESA to Work With Me in Charlotte?

There are no specific laws that allow you to bring your ESA to work with you in North Carolina. Emotional support animals are subject to general public access laws under the ADA, meaning that they are not permitted in certain locations. These public access laws only apply to service animals who have been trained to perform specific tasks for their owners.

However, many workplaces recognize the importance of emotional support animals and may allow you to bring your ESA into work with you if you can provide them evidence (in the form of your ESA letter) that it will benefit you. After all, everyone wants their employees to work at their best, and having your emotional support animal with you at all times can enable you to do that.

What Exceptions Are There to ESA Laws in Charlotte?

While you and your emotional support animal are protected under the ADA, there are some exceptions. Landlords are allowed to reject your request for an emotional support animal if your animal is aggressive, destructive, or poses a threat to anyone else on the property.

For this reason, you want to make sure that your animal is well-trained and well-behaved.

You’re also not entitled to take your emotional support animal into places that don’t allow animals, such as restaurants. These rights are reserved for service animals.

Where Can You Take Your ESA in Charlotte?

Charlotte, North Carolina,  is a pet-friendly city that offers a range of activities and attractions perfect for individuals with emotional support animals. From pet-friendly restaurants to outdoor parks and trails, there is something for everyone.

  • Lucky Dog Bark & Brew is an over-21 sports bar with an indoor and outdoor dog park where your furry friend can run off-leash safely while you socialize. They also offer additional services such as overnight boarding, doggie daycare, and a bathing salon.
  • The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a non-profit outdoor center located on 400 acres of woodlands along the Catawba River in Charlotte. The center offers a range of outdoor activities, including zip lines, rafting, and kayaking. Dogs are welcome on the grounds, outdoor restaurants, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and leashed on the hiking trails.
  • History Walk of the Queen City is a walking guided tour of Charlotte. You can bring your dog on the 1.5-hour walk around the US Mint Site, Settler’s Cemetery, 4th Ward Park, and more.
  • If you are looking for a neighborhood bar and grill, then Angry Ale’s is the place to go. Dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables on the patio, and you can even order them something from the special doggie menu!

Skyline view of downtown Charlotte, NC

Important Facts About ESAs in Charlotte

Unlike service animals, emotional support animals do not need to be certified, registered, or trained to perform specific tasks to help with your disabilities. They simply provide support and mental health benefits by being with you. However, they do have to be well-behaved.

Emotional support animals also:

  • Can be any animal, not just dogs
  • Must be prescribed by a licensed mental healthcare worker in your state
  • Are only granted to those with diagnosed mental or emotional disabilities/disorders

It’s also important to note that they do not need to be registered or have a certificate of any kind. Only an ESA letter is legally binding.

Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter in Charlotte Today

An ESA letter is a document that provides proof of your need for an emotional support animal. It must be issued by a licensed mental health professional who has determined that you have a mental or emotional disability and would benefit from having an emotional support animal. An ESA letter can provide many benefits, including legal protection for you and your pet, granting access to places where pets are usually not allowed, and providing emotional support during stressful times.

If you think that an emotional support animal may benefit your situation, schedule your risk-free consultation with USSA today to see how we can help you begin your journey.