Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are just a couple of our Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ESA (Emotional Support Animal)?

An ESA (Emotional Support Animal) is a U.S. legal term for an animal that provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship and affection. Emotional support animals do not need to be trained to ameliorate disability as psychiatric service dogs are. They require only as much training as an ordinary pet requires in order to live peacefully among humans without being a nuisance or a danger to others.

What is The Fair Housing Amendment Act?

According to the Fair Housing Amendment Act, a landlord should not discriminate against any individual who has documentation from a mental health professional illustrating their need for an emotional support animal in housing. Housing Providers must provide a “reasonable accommodation” for persons with disabilities under both the Fair Housing Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, according to the US department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are many instances where lawyers have sued and won cases against landlords for discriminating against ESA dogs. Most landlords will reluctantly agree to allow the pet, even after giving you grief at first. The customized ESA Letter International Therapy Dog provides you will be sufficient for your housing needs.

The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 establishes a procedure for modifying “no pets” policies in most types of housing to permit a person with a disability to keep an animal for emotional support. In housing that allows pets but charges supplemental rent or deposits for them, these fees must be waived. The ESA’s owner can be charged for actual damage done by the animal, but they may not require the applicant to pay a fee or a security deposit in order to keep the animal.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity investigates complaints from the public alleging denials of reasonable accommodation requests to live with assistance animals.

Does having an ESA exempt me from pet deposits in housing?

Yes. Having an emotional support animal exempts you from all pet deposits, regardless of whether the facility allow pets or not. If a landlord is asking you to put down a deposit for your ESA, he is breaking the law!

What if an Airline or Landlord does not accept my ESA Letter and charges me a pet-related fee?

International Therapy Dog is committed to ensuring your experience with us will be successful by providing your ESA Letter or documentation provided by International Therapy Dog . In the rare instance that an airline or landlord discriminates against you, then you are encouraged to file a report with the appropriate enforcement agents.

What is the difference between an emotional support animal and a service dog?

An Emotional Support Animal is prescribed to individuals with anxiety, stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) most of the time. This animal can only accompany a member in their home or apartment. This includes apartments or homes that are not “pet-friendly.” ESA dogs are allowed under the Federal Housing Amendment Act to be made exceptions to strict no-pet policies. ESA dogs may also be allowed on commercial air flights, provided that they present their ESA letter well in advance of departing on the aircraft.

There is quite a big difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal. First and foremost, a service dog is prescribed as a treatment by a mental health professional to assist heavily disabled donors, usually as a “seeing eye” companion for the blind. A service dog can also be taken anywhere, such as a bank, an airplane, a grocery store, and even court! ESA dogs are not afforded this privilege.

People who want a pet companion for travel on trains or airplanes, or want to have them be allowed at their home or apartment, despite their landlord or property managers “No Pet” policy will be ideal candidates for emotional support animals, not service dogs.

Can I bring my emotional support animal in the cabin of a commercial aircraft?

Yes, but it is advised that you check with your airline prior to travel. However, The Air Carrier Access Act does establish a procedure for modifying pet policies on aircraft to permit a person with a disability to travel with a prescribed emotional support animal so long as they have appropriate documentation and the animal is not a danger to others and does not interfere with others (through unwanted attention, barking, inappropriate toileting, etc.). Some airlines require additional documentation as well. International Therapy Dog can help you with this as well.

Can I take my emotional support animal into restaurants or other public places?

No. Emotional support animals are only intended for in home companionship, whereas service dogs are given unique access to both private and public establishments.

How will my landlord or property manager be able to verify my letter?

Your landlord or property manager can verify your letter by calling the verification number that is included on the International Therapy Dog letterhead signed by a licensed mental health professional. This is the verification phone number of the mental health professional that issues your Emotional Support Animal Letter. Your landlord will simply leave a message with the first and last name of the member he or she is trying to verify and someone will contact them to verify your letter.

How do I know that your website is legitimate and not a scam like so many other websites?

International Therapy Dog knows there are so many fake registries, ESA letters, and websites that offer wrong information and illegitimate information. All our information is verifiable. In fact, we are the only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing instant ESA documentation and fully HIPPA compliant and recognized by the IRS and Washington, D.C. Department of Consumer Affairs as a mental healthcare provider. You can verify us on the IRS website by clicking here

The information and documentation we issue is 100% verifiable and authentic. Your personalized letter is issued by a licensed mental health professional who is on duty at the time the letters are issued. In fact, each letter contains the documentation where the board can be contacted and verified. We are certainly happy to have one of our mental health professionals reach out to speak with you if you wish to further validate the credibility of letters issued.