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  • Michael Rader

ESA's & PSA's: Some Insight...

Hello everyone. Today I wanted to write a little about ESA’s and PSA’s. Firstly, ESA stands for Emotional Support/Service Animal and PSA can stand for either Physical Support/Service Animal or Psychiatric Support/Service Animal. If you had looked at and read my Meet Me page, you saw that I introduced you to my ESA and PSA. For myself, the P in PSA is for Psychiatric. I included both my ESA and PSA in my meet for the very specific reason that the two of them are essentially extensions of me rather than just a part of my life. The support they provide helps me overcome and to be who I want to be and therefore I feel they deserve to be introduced as a part of me.

From the time I acquired my ESA and PSA, these two played an important role in my life and have helped me overcome many obstacles. I have found that having an ESA and PSA is extremely beneficial to those with FASD's and PTSD to help cope, overcome, and return to a baseline in a rather quick, easy, and calming manner. While ESA's and PSA's might not be for everyone, I personally recommend for those who can have, or handle one, looking into obtaining letters of support from your physical and mental health care team. It is imperative that you have these letters of support to demonstrate that these are not pets to avoid any housing issues that may arise.

Letters of support are entirely different items than what some people try to say count as proof of an ESA or PSA. First, and foremost, just because you have a vest saying Service Animal does not make the animal a service animal. It is the letters of supports from your health care team that do this. Secondly, there is a lot of confusion out there on certifications, licenses, and permit and I would insist you looking into your state's, federal, or locale laws. I can say from experience that there is discrimination against these types of animals but there is also ADA, and Federal, laws and regulations in place that dissuade discrimination.

Federal law states that you cannot be denied housing, charged for, or evicted for having an ESA but you must have documentation proving such. The same goes for PSA's, however, there are a few more caveats. United States federal law dictates that there is no required licensing, certification, or permits needed for a PSA and anyone trying to persuade you to obtain one is violating those laws. These same laws also state that there are no federally recognized trainers and that you may train your own PSA so long as they have a task and can complete it and are not a danger, health hazard, threat, or public nuisance and your PSA is not required to wear a uniform or require the carrying of paperwork declaring such. You must be allowed full access to all public areas within reason. This also includes places of employment so long as it does not cost the employer to incur significant financial burdens to accommodate such.

What I have shared with you is not a catch all and I have not gone into full details regarding ESA’s and PSA’s. What I have shared with you is entirely from my own experiences so that you can understand and go about acquiring your own ESA and PSA should you find, or think, one may be of assistance to you. This does not substitute as legal advice however and should you need so, please contact an attorney to discuss all the ins and outs. I will also share resources for you on my resource tab in the future.

As always, remember that your greatest advocate for yourself is you.

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