EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA)
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a US legal term for a pet which provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship and affection. Emotional support animals are not specially trained to to aid someone with a disability, what this means is that you do not need to be disabled to have an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals are for people with mild anxiety or depression. 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.
Emotional support animals have a right to housing and can travel on an airline for free. You should check with your airline prior to travel for their specific rules.
In the U.S., two federal laws grant special rights to some owners of emotional support animals.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 USC 3601, et seq.) 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.
On April 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent notice to its regional offices that public universities are required to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which includes emotional support animals.
The Air Carrier Access Act establishes 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.)