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Can You Have More Than One ESA?

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Emotional support animals (ESA) are vital companions to many, and these comfort animals provide plenty of benefits when it comes to relieving the symptoms of certain mental health conditions and disabilities.

If you are interested in adding an emotional support animal to your treatment plan, or if you already have an ESA and you think you would benefit from another, you may be wondering if you can have more than one ESA. Our article answers this question and tells you how you can add an emotional support animal into your life.

What Is an ESA?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal. ESAs can be any animal, including birds, reptiles, and animals such as cats, dogs, and rabbits, and they are not trained in any way. The benefits that an emotional support animal provides come from their presence and the sense of routine that an individual gets from caring for their ESA.

These animals can be valuable in the treatment of many different mental health conditions, and common qualifying conditions for an emotional support animal include anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and mood disorders.

Emotional support animals have federally protected housing rights under the Fair Housing Act, though you must receive a valid ESA letter to access these rights. A mental healthcare provider licensed in your state can help you with this process.

Can I Have Multiple Emotional Support Animals?

No law or regulation states that you may only have one emotional support animal at a time. In fact, you can have as many emotional support animals as you need to reasonably treat and relieve the specific symptoms of a mental health condition.

However, your mental healthcare provider must approve each emotional support animal that you wish to add to your treatment plan, and your ESA requests must be reasonable. For example, this means that you likely cannot have ten cats all categorized as emotional support animals unless you can show that you need each of the cats to help with the specific treatment of your mental health condition in a way that only one or two cats would not.

Every emotional support animal that you are approved for must be mentioned in the emotional support animal letter that is written by your mental healthcare provider that allows you to access your federally protected housing rights.

How Do I Get an Emotional Support Animal?

If you want to add one or more emotional support animals to your treatment plan, your first step is making an appointment with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state . They will evaluate your condition and your needs, and they can then approve you for the addition of one or more emotional support animals to your treatment plan by writing you an emotional animal support letter.

Once you have been approved for an ESA, your provider will write you a letter that includes the details of your emotional support animal(s) and their details, such as licensing information. Your letter will also include an expiration date.

After you have this letter, you can then start using it to request housing accommodations for your emotional support animals, such as the right to live in any suitable area of housing with your ESA and the right to avoid breed restrictions and other pet fees.

Keep in mind that some states do require you to have at least a relationship for 30 days with your mental healthcare provider before you are qualified to receive an emotional support animal letter and start requesting accommodations.

Can My Emotional Support Animal Accommodations Be Denied?

A landlord or rental agency can deny your emotional support animal accommodations, though this only occurs in a few specific situations. Your ESA accommodations request might be denied if the following occurs:

  • You are attempting to live with too many emotional support animals in a space that cannot support them, such as bringing several large dogs into a studio apartment.
  • Your emotional support animals are destructive, dangerous, or out of control.
  • You are attempting to live with exotic animals that cannot be properly or reasonably cared for in your chosen area of housing.

Your mental healthcare provider and specific state legislation can offer you further guidance on what to do if your ESA accommodation request is denied.

Obtaining the Emotional Support Animals You Need

Obtaining one or more emotional support animals can be a complex process, as you will need to meet with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state and receive approval for each emotional support animal you wish to live with.

However, there is no law stating that you can only have a certain number of ESAs, and you can request reasonable housing accommodations in your area no matter how many emotional support animals you have. Speak with a medical provider or mental healthcare professional for more details about obtaining the emotional support animals you need.

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