Common Misconceptions When it Comes to ESAs

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Common Misconceptions When it Comes to ESAs

AD | ESAs were introduced to provide support to people suffering from a mental disability. However, with so many people now abusing the system, and with others confusing ESAs with service animals, there are so many misconceptions out there on the topic of ESAs. It always pays to arm yourself with the truth, so here are some of the most common ESA myths out there that you definitely shouldn’t believe.

An ESA Should Be Allowed Into All Public Areas

Many people think that their ESA will be allowed into all public areas, but this is not true at all (check all the facts here). This is a privilege that only service animals can enjoy, while ESAs still need to follow the pet policy that each public space has.  

Of course, there are a couple of laws that set ESAs apart from regular pets:

  • The Fair Housing Act – this ensures that all accommodation providers, even those who usually have a no-pet policy, are obliged to allow you and your ESA to stay there without having to pay any extra fees.     
  • The Air Carrier Access Act – this law requires airlines to allow an ESA to travel in the cabin of a plane with their owner. If your ESA is large, this may even mean that you would be able to request a seat with more room, in order to properly accommodate your ESA    

An ESA Needs to Wear a Special Vest

While many service animals do wear vests to show the general public that they are working, this isn’t a requirement for an ESA. In fact, it isn’t a requirement for a service animal either!

It is completely up to the owner whether or not they choose to have their ESA wear a vest.

It can sometimes be helpful, especially if an ESA is being trained, as the vest will often deter members of the public from approaching an ESA while out and about. However, even without a vest, anyone who wants to greet an ESA should still always speak to the owner first to get their permission.

An ESA Needs to Be Specially Trained

This is another area where ESAs are often confused with service animals.
A service animal is trained to carry out specific tasks, and this training can often take quite a few years.

On the other hand, an ESA does not need to undergo any special training at all.

While this may be the case, basic obedience training is a must for an ESA. While this is important for any pet, it becomes even more crucial if you plan on taking your ESA on a plane, or to stay in accommodation that usually has a no-pet policy. Although it isn’t technically required, an ESA should still be well-behaved, obedient, and, of course, completely toilet trained.

An ESA Needs to be Listed on an Official Database

This is a misconception that has arisen from the many scam ESA websites out there.

These offer owners the opportunity to be listed on an ESA database for a small charge, which is something that many owners happily agree to.

However, there isn’t actually an official ESA database.

Even when you go down the proper route of acquiring an ESA letter, there is no government database that stores your information.

If you are ever confused or unsure about anything relating to ESAs, it always pays to look into it further. There are so many ESA misconceptions out there, and it is important that these are set straight. 

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