It’s an animal that has been registered as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) by a licensed therapist, psychologist, doctor, psychiatrist or any other licensed mental health professional to provide comfort and minimise negative symptoms to a person with an emotional or psychological condition.
Unlike Service Dogs ESA’s do not need any specific training as they don’t perform specific tasks or provide their owners with any service other than soothing their symptoms. Usually, the only requirement is that the animal is in full control in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the domestic environment.
Currently Emotional Support Animals do not have the same legal rights as Service Animals in the UK. Registering your Animal may help you take your Emotional Support Animal shopping, travelling and living with you. However, you can be refused as access to any business is legally their decision due to Health laws and regulations. In other words, it’s best to check ahead of time.
In the UK ESAs aren’t legally recognised and there is no official registry. This means that whilst there are lots of sites out there promising that registering with them will allow you to take your pet shopping, travelling and living with you they cannot guarantee this and could be scamming you.
When looking into ESA registration keep these things in mind:
- Is it a UK site? – There are lots of American sites that lead many to believe their animals will have more rights than they do.
- Does it sound too good to be true? – If a site promises to take all these troubles away, it’s probably too good to be true.
- Read the fine print – There are lots of illegitimate registries with misleading information. Often these sites aren’t shut down because they often admit that by paying for their service you don’t actually get anything within the fine print.
- Fees – Be wary of sites charging high fees.
- Risk – Understand that because there are no official registries within the UK that registering with a site you’ve researched isn’t official or governed.