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Does Texas Recognize Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals have a positive impact on individuals suffering from mental health problems and this factor no longer stands in question. The reason why just like other states in the US, Texas, too, recognizes emotional support animals. In other words, you can talk to a mental health professional in Texas and obtain an ESA letter for your pet. 

Under the Texas emotional support animals laws, any ESA owner who has been prescribed an ESA letter from a mental health professional is entitled to one privilege as of January 2021. They can rent decent accommodation without having to pay pet fees or any additional pet allowances. In turn, the company of an emotional support animal can help mental health patients lead a better life.

Apart from this, emotional support animals fall under a special category. In other words, they are not considered normal pets, but service animals that help provide emotional support. Read on to find out more about emotional support animals in Texas and how to qualify for an ESA letter in Texas

Texas Emotional Support Animals - Laws You Must Understand

Before you apply for an emotional support animal letter in Texas, here are a few things you must keep in mind. For instance, under the American with Disabilities Act, ESA’s do not require special training and you don’t have to register your pet as an emotional support animal. All you need is a certification from a state-licensed mental health physician stating that you have a mental health condition that requires the support of this particular pet. 

Because the sole purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide emotional comfort and relief from mental health symptoms, they do not have to perform physical tasks or support an individual’s disability. One of the main reasons why emotional support animals are either banned from public places and allowed to enter those premises that allow pets such as dogs and cats to enter. 

The major advantage that an ESA owner gets with the help of a doctor's certification is that they can live with their pet comfortably. There was another right that ESA owners enjoyed under the Air Carrier Access Act. Unfortunately, on 2nd December, all emotional support owners were stripped of that privilege. According to the new guidelines, emotional support animals can no longer fly with the owner in-cabin. They can fly inside the cargo just like other pets.    

The only exception, in this case, is that airlines can amend the rules and allow emotional support animals to travel in-cabin. Unluckily, until now seven airlines - Alaska, American, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Delta Airlines have already announced that they will no longer entertain emotional support animal reservations after 28th February 2021. 

What’s More?

This means that as an ESA owner you can travel with your pet but you have to pay the fees and the pet must travel in the cargo. Not only this, but the airlines also have the right to deny reservations, if required. Eventually, the only right that ESA owners now enjoy in Texas is to rent a decent accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. 

According to the Fair Housing Act, a mental health patient can get an ESA letter from state-licensed doctors and rent a decent accommodation across Texas. Those who fail to meet the requirements will not receive an ESA letter.  

In addition to this, a patient must get an emotional support animal letter from a Texas licensed therapist. The letter must be printed on the mental health professional's letterhead. And the letter can only be provided for domesticated (cat, dogs, ferrets, miniature horses, etc.) animals. 

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter in Texas?

To get an emotional support animal letter in Texas, you have to first talk to your therapist or licensed mental health professional. They can help provide a valid ESA letter by attesting to your mental health condition. 

If you don’t have a therapist, you can find one easily in Texas and start your treatment. This way the doctor will build a relationship with you and decide whether an ESA is necessary for the treatment or not. 

Besides this, there are various telemedicine platforms that help provide ESA letters these days. For the same, you have to make sure that you use a reputable online resource with a team of actual licensed mental health professionals. Because a fake ESA letter can land you a fine of up to $125,000 and jail time. 

To guarantee your letter’s legitimacy, make sure that you contact your therapist or spend time with a licensed mental health professional. After you are completely convinced that the doctor is legit, you can request an ESA letter explaining how your pet has helped you manage your mental health condition. 

Eventually, if the doctor deems it fit, they can help provide an ESA letter physically or through the process of telemedicine. If you choose to apply through a HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform, the process will most likely complete in three steps. 

Steps to Get Texas Emotional Support Animal Letter Online:

  • Sign up and fill a simple form

  • Talk to a licensed medical health professional through a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform.

  • Upon qualification, receive an ESA letter via email in a PDF format. You can download the copy and certify your pet as an ESA. 

So, these are two ways to get an emotional support animal letter in Texas. If you have a pet and a qualifying mental health condition, get in touch with state-licensed doctors and see whether you qualify for an emotional support animal letter or not. 

Final Thoughts

The whole purpose of getting an emotional support animal letter in Texas is that it can help those who have genuine mental health conditions rent accommodation without paying additional pet fees. Besides this, an ESA letter can also help you establish the fact that you have an ESA that helps with your overall well-being. This, in turn, will help people recognize how your ESA is different from other pets.    

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