How to Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter in Mesa, Arizona

An emotional support animal (ESA) can provide comfort to an individual with mental or emotional health difficulties.

The process of getting an ESA letter involves consulting with a mental health professional. The following overview will answer your questions about this topic, helping you better understand how you can get an ESA letter and why you should.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

Mental health professionals prescribe ESAs to individuals who may benefit from the comforting presence of a pet. For example, an individual with anxiety may find that an ESA’s presence has a calming effect on them. Or, a person with depression might feel caring for an ESA gives them a sense of purpose in life.

The American Kennel Club points out that ESAs are not service animals. A service animal has received training to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. A common example of a service animal is a seeing-eye dog.

Consider this when exploring Mesa, Arizona with an ESA. Because an ESA doesn’t technically qualify as a service dog, you may be unable to enter certain public spaces with it. Examples generally include “public” spaces with private owners, like restaurants and stores.

Who Can Qualify for an ESA in Mesa, Arizona?

You must have a mental health disability to qualify for an ESA in Arizona. Examples of conditions that might qualify you for an ESA include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Various phobias

You can speak with a mental healthcare worker licensed in Arizona to receive what is essentially a “prescription” for an ESA. U.S. Service Animals can connect you with a mental health professional who can evaluate your needs and determine if an ESA is right for you.

If a mental healthcare worker determines you have a legitimate need for an ESA, they will provide an ESA letter. You may share this letter with anyone who requires proof that your pet is an ESA.

What Are the Benefits of Having an ESA Letter in Mesa, Arizona?

Having an ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona is potentially beneficial for several reasons. According to the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Arizona law recognizes that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) applies to ESAs. That means you can legally live with an ESA if you can provide a letter stating your pet qualifies as one.

Even if a landlord usually doesn’t allow pets, they must make an exception if you have an ESA. This highlights one of the main benefits of having an ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona. Instead of struggling to find pet-friendly accommodations when you need to move, you can present your ESA letter to any landlord who rents to you. The law states they must allow you to live with your pet.

Other benefits of getting an ESA letter in Mesa include:

  • A landlord cannot charge you extra rent or even require you to provide extra deposit money for a pet if you have an ESA letter.
  • A landlord can’t place restrictions on the breed or weight of your pet if you have an ESA letter.
  • Your current landlord can’t evict you for getting an ESA if you provide an ESA letter.

An ESA letter is a valuable document. Its value is most apparent when seeking housing. However, you may find yourself in various other situations in the future in which having a legitimate ESA letter proves helpful. For instance, you might provide an ESA letter when asking a manager if you can bring your emotional support animal to work.

How to Get an Emotional Support (ESA) Letter in Mesa, Arizona

Getting an ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona can sometimes prove more challenging than necessary. There are several potential reasons this may be the case.

For example, you may simply find it’s difficult to get an appointment with a mental health professional in a timely manner. Or, you might fall prey to scammers offering bogus ESA letters.

Signs of an ESA letter scam include:

  • A very quick approval process.
  • An unrealistically low price.
  • Claims that a service or platform can “certify” a pet as an ESA, as no official ESA certification exists.
  • A service or website only offers to register your pet as an ESA, and doesn’t connect you with a mental health professional to confirm your need for an ESA.
  • Claims that your ESA letter will remain valid for multiple years, as you must renew your ESA letter every year by speaking with a qualified mental healthcare professional.
  • Claims that your ESA letter grants you the right to take your pet anywhere.
  • Lack of ongoing support after providing the ESA letter.

Don’t let this discourage you from seeking an ESA letter from a reputable professional. U.S. Service Animals simplifies what may otherwise be a confusing process.

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

Getting an ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona through U.S. Service Animals involves the following steps:

  • Contact U.S. Service Animals: Start the process of receiving your ESA letter by calling (985) 570-5386 or contacting U.S. Service Animals online. You will provide your basic information, such as your state and contact information, so the service can connect you with a mental health worker.
  • Consult: S. Service Animals will help you set up a consultation with a mental healthcare professional licensed in Arizona. You may complete this step over the phone or live video.
  • Decision: The mental healthcare professional with whom you speak will determine whether you qualify for an ESA letter. If you do, you’ll receive your ESA letter via email shortly after the session concludes. You may print this letter at home and show it to landlords or other such parties who may need to see it.

U.S. Service Animals also ensures you’re not taking any financial risk by scheduling a consultation. If you don’t receive an approval for an ESA letter, you will not have to pay for the session.

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What Are the Laws About ESAs in Mesa, Arizona?

Federal law offers certain protections for ESAs. You already know that, per the FHA, a landlord must make reasonable accommodations by allowing you to live with your pet at no extra charge if you have an ESA letter.

Additional information regarding the laws for ESAs in Mesa, Arizona includes:

Can I Fly With an ESA in Mesa, Arizona?

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) used to allow ESAs to ride in the cabins of planes for free. However, this policy changed in January, 2021.

The law now regards ESAs as pets. That means airlines can place restrictions on the size of an ESA a customer wishes to bring on a plane. Additionally, you will likely need to pay an extra pet fee to fly with your ESA.

Can I Live With an ESA in Mesa, Arizona?

Yes. Your main reason for seeking an ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona may be the fact that the FHA guarantees you the right to live with your ESA. Even if a landlord typically has a no-pets policy, they must waive that policy if you show an ESA letter.

You might wonder if a landlord may simply deny your application if you apply with an ESA letter. If the landlord is unable to cite another valid reason for not offering you an apartment, they could be breaking the law by denying your application.

Can I Bring My ESA to Work With Me in Mesa, Arizona?

The law is less clear regarding whether you may bring an ESA with you to the workplace in Arizona. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you may bring a service animal with you to most public places. However, ESAs aren’t service animals, so the ADA doesn’t directly apply to them.

The ADA does require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. That said, what qualifies as a “reasonable” accommodation can depend on numerous factors.

Check your employer’s policies to see if they address the topic of ESAs. If they don’t, you may:

  • Gather information and documentation (such as your ESA letter) indicating you have a disability.
  • Present this documentation to your employer.
  • Formally request that your employer make an accommodation allowing you to bring your ESA to work with you.

There’s no guarantee an employer will make the requested accommodation. If you believe they have violated the ADA or another relevant law by denying your request, your next best step is to review the matter with an employment attorney. They can explain whether you have justification to take legal action.

What Exceptions Are There to ESA Laws in Mesa, Arizona?

The protections offered to ESAs under both federal and state law in Arizona aren’t without limits. A landlord doesn’t need to allow a tenant to live with their ESA if the animal causes some type of undue hardship for the landlord.

For example, perhaps someone’s ESA is a large dog. If the dog damages the property or is aggressive towards other tenants, the landlord may not have to allow the animal to live in the building.

The law also states that an ESA can be any animal that an individual may already legally own as a pet. If the Public Health Code or other relevant statutes or regulations prohibit certain animals from being pets or from living in certain environments, the law doesn’t make exceptions for ESAs.

Where Can You Take Your ESA in Mesa, Arizona?

Laws outlining the rights of individuals with ESAs generally apply to housing. Otherwise, private property owners can still prohibit you from bringing your ESA on their properties.

However, you can bring your ESA with you whenever you visit a public space. Examples include public parks, sidewalks, and other such spaces.

Noteworthy ESA-friendly spots in Mesa, Arizona include:

  • Dog Parks: Mesa is home to several dog parks throughout the city. Mesa’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities department offers a list of dog parks and dog runs you may wish to explore with your furry friend.
  • Hotels: A hotel doesn’t legally have to accommodate an ESA if it has a no pets policy. Fortunately, Visit Mesa provides information on some of the top dog-friendly hotels in Mesa, Arizona. However, a hotel that’s dog-friendly may not necessarily be accepting of all pets. Check the policies to confirm they allow your ESA.
  • Restaurants and Eateries: Visit Mesa also offers a list of dining spots throughout the city with outdoor patio areas and pet-friendly policies.

Always check a property’s rules and regulations if you’re not sure whether ownership permits ESAs. Don’t try to pass off an ESA as a service animal in an attempt to access a property with your pet. Doing so could result in a fine of as much as $500.

Important Facts About ESAs in Mesa, Arizona

Additional facts about ESAs in Mesa, Arizona that you should know include:

  • An ESA doesn’t require specific training. However, they must be well-behaved, non-destructive, and not overly aggressive. Even though there’s no requirement that an ESA undergo training, you may want to have yours trained just to err on the side of caution.
  • You have to receive a diagnosis and a legal ESA letter from a licensed mental healthcare professional in Arizona for ESA rights to apply to you and your pet. If a landlord or other such party doesn’t respect these rights, contact the service through which you received your letter. A reputable service will provide support when this occurs.
  • Even when it’s not a technical requirement, it’s best to let your landlord know you have an ESA. Doing so is key to showing you aren’t violating any of the landlord’s policies because you have a legal right to live with your pet. However, you do not need to answer any questions about why you have an ESA.

For more information on these topics, check the U.S. Service Animals FAQs.

Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter in Mesa, Arizona Today

Do you struggle with mental or emotional health issues in Mesa, Arizona? If so, knowing you can rely on an ESA could make day-to-day life much easier for you.

Protect your rights by obtaining a valid ESA letter in Mesa, Arizona through U.S. Service Animals. Schedule your risk free consultation today to get started.