How To Get ESA in San Francisco
Many people suffer from psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, and many others. Among other treatments, emotional support animals can be prescribed to such individuals. These are animals that provide therapeutic effects to their owners to help alleviate their mental health problems. Even though most emotional support animals are dogs and cats, there are no restrictions on the animal that one can have. These animals do not require any specific training, but, are required to be well behaved and not pose any risk to other people. California is one of the most progressive states in terms of ESA and its protection. Here is how to go about getting an ESA in San Francisco and the laws regarding them.
Qualifying for an ESA
Before getting an emotional support animal, you have to be eligible for one. For you to qualify for an ESA in San Francisco:
One must have a psychological disability for which the assistance of an emotional support animal is warranted. This should be verifiable.
The disability should have function limitations on the individual to meet the law’s criteria which states that it must have “a substantial major impact on a life activity.”
The disability should bring about effects such as difficulties with sleep, focus as well as social interactions
The animal in question should be able to alleviate the symptoms of the disability and the effect it has on major life activities.
Getting an ESA Letter in San Francisco
If you meet the above criteria, then you qualify for an emotional support animal. But, you still need to qualify your animal as an ESA. To do this, you will first of all need to get an emotional support animal prescription. You can only get this by going through a licensed mental health professional. Here, they will assess you and determine whether you have a psychiatric disability that will benefit from an emotional support animal. If so, they will indicate this on an emotional support animal letter which they will then issue you with. With this letter, you will now be legally allowed to have an emotional support animal.
A Legitimate San Francisco ESA Letter
There are several walk-in mental health clinics in San Francisco from which you can get an emotional support animal prescription. Most of these clinics will also have the option of conducting this process online. Here, you can have both the assessment and the recommendation done remotely.
However, you must ensure that you are working with a California-licensed mental health clinic or professional. This must apply if you are planning to have your ESA in San Francisco. Otherwise, your emotional support animal letter will not be valid if you get it from a non-California licensed professional. You can use ESA doctors to connect you with vetted professionals who have been licensed in the state of California.
The California Law and Emotional Support Animals
As long as an animal is identified as an emotional support animal under the California Law, it is entitled to the following rights:
The Fair Housing Act
This law protects individuals with psychological disabilities and need the support of an ESA from discrimination by housing providers. Hence, a landlord must provide reasonable accommodation for and emotional support animal even if the building has a no-pets policy. This will apply if you are able to provide proof of disability and the need for an animal through the emotional support animal letter. With a valid letter, you have the right to file a complaint against a landlord if they deny your ESA accommodation without a viable reason.
The Air Carrier Access Act
This law allows individuals with psychological disabilities to bring an emotional support animal with them in their cabin during a flight. A verification process through the provision of an emotional support animal letter and filling out of forms will be required before the request is granted. Hence, the airlines should be notified at least 4h hours in advance. They should not charge an extra fee for this nor discriminate against the person. However, they can deny the request if the ESA is seen to be disorderly or a danger to the rest of the passengers.
If you live in San Francisco and are battling with a psychological issue that qualifies for an emotional support animal, you should consider getting one to help you get better. To do so, you will need to follow the above process of getting an ESA in San Francisco. It is also important that you know your rights as an ESA owner.