Back in 2020, US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called for an industry-wide investigation of the emotional support animal letter business stating, “Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”
Ain’t that the truth. Having been in this business for nearly a decade, we’ve seen it all.
The assistance animal industry is unfortunately rife with predatory vendors and unethical clinicians looking to exploit consumers, dupe landlords, gain unfair advantage of individuals with disabilities, all while thumbing their collective noses at the Fair Housing Act.
In a word, it’s bogus.
And maddeningly infuriating, not just for those trying to comply with the spirit of fair housing, but for those clients truly in need of an assistance animal.
Are Online ESA Letters Legit?
The marketspace is awash with options and, but how does the average person know which online ESA company is right for them? How do you know good ones? In years past, we compiled our “black list” of sites we’d avoid at all costs, but quite honestly, it’s like 9/10 … the vast majority of vendors will lie and cheat in the hopes of stealing your money.
Buying a counterfeit Emotional Support Animal letter run risks that aren’t always obvious. Legal ramifications, jail, economic impacts, and issues with your landlord comes to mind. Counterfeiters don’t care one-iota about your mental health, they just want access to your credit card.
Sure, we could, in theory, peddle dirt-cheap “ESA letters,” but we don’t, and do you want to know why?
- They simply don’t work.
- We have to live with our decisions.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal.
To avoid running into red flags – perhaps resulting in your accommodation request being denied — here’s a quick checklist to follow:
- Make sure the clinician resides in your state. It’s common place for therapists to be in another state while licensed in yours.
- You completed a standardized intake exam (should take you 15-30 minutes to complete). Those “quick questionnaires” are an indicator of a letter mill.
- You’ll meet one or more times with a nearby clinician, who will develop personal knowledge of your disability.
- You disclosed your assistance animal at lease signing and did not submit an “ESA certificate or registration.”
In These Shark Infested Waters, There’s an Island of Relief.
ESAD Int’l (ESADoggy) has been connecting clients with doctors and therapists who use active therapeutic care, and through personal knowledge provide reliable verification of an individual’s disability-related need for an assistance animal. Verification is provided through a legitimate emotional support animal letter, or what is referred to as an ESA Letter for Housing.
Our culture emphasizes kindness, compassion, and respect for all. We have a zero-tolerance policy for intolerance of any kind, all while holding ourselves to the highest standards in promoting the mental health of those who use our platform.