It’s always a good idea to get yourself a pet, and the reasons for doing this are almost endless. Obviously, having an adorable furry friend at home is likely to make you feel less lonely and it’s also a perfect way to brighten up your daily life. But what if having a pet around is not just fun but also comforting because it helps you calm down when you are under stress and even cope with your mental problems? That’s exactly where emotional support animals come into play. 

Indeed, what makes support animals such a popular trend? Nothing else but their willingness to stay loyal to their owners no matter what. They will never accuse or criticize you. Instead, they will offer the long-hoped-for emotional support that all of us need so much. No wonder, anyone whose mental health is unstable would want to have a loyal companion that offers emotional help when you really need it and never betrays you even in the darkest days of your life. 

If you already know about all the wonderful changes an ESA can bring into your life, you would probably want to get one as soon as you can. But before you do it, there are a few things to learn about the legal rules that come with owning assistance animals. 

Read on to find out more about the key regulations in Maryland that you should get familiar with before applying for an ESA letter in this state. Learning a bit more about the local laws will let you know how to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA without breaking any rules. 

Why ESA is not like other assistance animals

The first thing everyone should understand when dealing with emotional support animals is that this category of pets is not the same as service animals. The letter confirming the need for an ESA is signed by a licensed healthcare provider and this is exactly what gives any pet a special status. The animal, in this case, is supposed to provide companionship and psychological support to the caretaker who suffers from a mental disorder such as

  • Anxiety; 
  • PTSD;
  • Depression;
  • Panic attacks;
  • Phobias;
  • Emotional traumas;
  • Stress, etc.

Meanwhile, service animals usually belong to canine species and need to be well-trained to complete specific duties and help a disabled person to live a more or less normal life. Service animals may do the following:

  • Remind their owners to take the next dose of pills;
  • Guide a disabled person;
  • Find something a disabled person has lost like prescribed medications;
  • Press buttons in the elevators;
  • Serve as another pair of eyes for blind people;
  • Offer help with pulling a wheelchair;
  • Warn about some dangers, sounds or anything that may pose a risk, and much more. 

In this way, unlike ESA pets, service animals actually do some real work to live up to their status. That’s exactly why calming one’s nerves and providing some emotional support is often not perceived as a worthy task. Anyway, knowing the difference between the types of assistance animals will help you understand your legal rights and limitations better.

Legal freedoms and limitations for ESA Owners in Maryland

If you are thinking of getting a support animal in Maryland, you should know that unlike other assistance animals, ESAs have slightly different access rights as they are not always allowed in public areas. But as long as you keep your certificate at hand and your pet knows how to behave in public, you’ll most probably face no problems with entering public places. And you can also enjoy many other fantastic opportunities. 

Thus, in line with the recent housing law, the ESA owners in Maryland can rent not just pet-friendly accommodation but also homes where no pets are allowed without any legal issues. What’s more, you can even be allowed to enter your workplace with your ESA pet but only if you have official proof that it will help you feel emotionally better. And we are not even talking about the amazing opportunity to travel with your pet by plane! Surely, all these benefits would persuade anyone that it’s worth giving it a try even if there are some restrictions.

Who qualifies for an ESA in Maryland?

If you want to get an ESA letter in Maryland, it might be useful to first get familiar with the legal requirements for future ESA owners. To make sure you don’t break any rules, it’s best to find out more about who can qualify for a support animal in this state and who might be denied this privilege. 

The very purpose of an ESA is to offer love, support and peace of mind to a person who desperately struggles with a psychological problem and needs emotional help. Just because the Americans with Disabilities Act only gives a vague and not very clear definition of a psychological disability, it seems like the laws determining who is eligible for an ESA are still not fully developed either. But perhaps this is only a matter of time. 

For now, the law defines an emotional disability as any mental abnormality that prevents a person from living an ordinary life and performing daily functions normally. This may happen as a result of continuous stress, trauma or some harmful behavior. Meanwhile, an emotional disability mainly affects one’s ability to control and express emotions. The health problems falling into these groups may include personality disorders, depressive episodes, psychological traumas and much more. 

Fortunately, it seems that modern-day laws tend to favor people with mental problems. Nowadays, to qualify for an ESA letter, the extent to which the disability affects you doesn’t really matter. In other words, to be deemed suitable, you only need to prove that an ESA would help you fight the symptoms of your disorder and make your life more meaningful. But that’s exactly why anyone would want an ESA in the first place, isn’t it? This means you’ll hardly face any problems with getting a little companion if you really need emotional help. 

Exceptions to Existing Rules

Some ESA regulations in Maryland give you more rights, while others force you to know the limits. In other words, it’s always important not to step out of line. So basically, before you take your new companion home, you should ensure that you know the rules and don’t abuse the existing laws

Even though any law is meant to safeguard the rights of everyone involved, there are a few exceptions to remember. This also applies to ESA owners. Just because ESA regulations are still rather young, some legal points may provoke debate. And unfortunately, in some cases, the right to own an emotional support animal might be denied or even withdrawn. Therefore, if you consider getting an ESA in Maryland, you should know the next rules:

  • Your right to have a support animal can be removed if others’ safety is at risk because of your pet’s behavior.
  • If your ESA causes a serious damage to someone’s property, you will need to pay a fine.
  • In case the pet doesn’t behave properly and displays violence or aggressive behavior, it will not be permitted to enter public areas.
  • It’s also important to always carry all legal papers proving that you need a support animal whenever you travel anywhere with your pet.

That’s about all you have to remember. Just follow these basic rules and enjoy your rights as an ESA owner with no limits.

Key Takeaways

It’s not at all surprising that more and more mentally disabled people want to get an ESA letter in Maryland. Just imagine – if you get one, you’ll be safe to take your pet with you not just to pet-friendly spots but also onboard the plane! What’s more, you may even be allowed to take your pet to the workplace to brighten up your workdays and let you calm your nerves in stressful situations. And there are lots of other freedoms that are kindly granted to ESA owners. As long as you have an ESA certificate, you can even rent a home where no pets are allowed as stated in the federal housing law

So why not use all these opportunities to the fullest? The only requirement is to follow the legal norms and stay within measure. At long last, it’s up to you what to choose but anyone who already has a support animal would agree that it is a great way to fight a mental disorder and unlock the doors into the brighter future.  

Ready to give it a try? Just weigh up the pros and cons and start shaping your reality right away!