Do you consider taking an ESA pet in South Carolina? Or perhaps you already have a furry little friend and don’t want to travel anywhere without it? From depression to panic attacks and phobias, more and more mentally disabled people have started to rely on emotional support animals as a source of relief and comfort. Indeed, assistance animals have turned into a popular trend over the recent years. And the healthcare community seems to have realized how vital it is to have a little companion by your side when your mental health is unstable. 

But no matter how tempting it may be to get a support animal and to break free from mental troubles, what every future ESA owner has to understand is that owning such pets in South Carolina means also facing some limitations. That’s because it means not just enjoying some extra privileges but also having to deal with the state regulations. Luckily, most laws here are making it easier to keep support animals at home or even travel with them wherever you wish as long as you prove that you really need one. And knowing the laws means also knowing your rights where ESA is only one part of the system. 

As a growing number of people across the state are getting aware of all the benefits of ESA, it becomes crucial to learn more about the legal side of the question. Let’s examine this issue in greater detail to find out how easy it is to get a companion animal in South Carolina.

Best way to get an ESA pet in South Carolina

If you decide to get an Emotional Support Animal in South Carolina, your first and most important step would be to obtain an ESA letter. The letter itself serves as a proof that you really need an assistance pet and it should be provided only by a fully certified mental health specialist. You can either get this paper from your private therapist if you already use someone’s services or you can order it online which would be less difficult. In the process, you’ll be asked some questions about your mental state to find out whether an ESA can really help you feel better. 

You might now imagine yourself sitting in front of computer screen and going through a long interview with a therapist regarding your psychological problems. If that’s what you are thinking, leave your worries aside! That’s because an online consultation will hardly take more than twenty minutes. What’s even more important, every mental health expert whose job is to sign ESA letters is trained to deal with all sorts of mental disorders so you may expect a really professional approach and only compassionate attitude. If you are found suitable for an ESA certification, you’ll be told about it right away and your letter will be delivered to you shortly afterward. Nothing else is required so just sit back and wait. Surely, you’ll never find an easier solution.

Why are state regulations important?

Why would anyone need laws imposed on ESA owners? Well, the truth is that some ESA owners have started to misrepresent their pets trying to take advantage of their status and get around the local regulations. Too many people are just not aware of the regulations or simply don’t understand their rights and limitations well enough. That’s the key reason why it is necessary to establish and follow certain rules by enforcing regulations. Otherwise, everyone who treats their pet as a little companion would end up trying to take their furry friend anywhere they wish or even avoid paying pet fees.

Punishment for violating the state laws

South Carolina authorities are trying to reconsider the current legislations to solve the problem of “fraudulent” assistance animals. If they succeed, the local ESA owners will probably face some more fees just to ensure that they don’t make use of their certificates or misrepresent their animals. The new laws would probably be related to the problem of allowing emotional support animals in public places. And even today, South Carolina has certain penalties for any harm caused by a support animal or its uncontrollable behavior in public areas. 

The thing is that some people think it’s normal to use the status of a “support animal” as a way to enter places where no animals are allowed. This may lead to a growing problem related to taking your favorite pet wherever you wish. And it’s getting harder to keep everything under control.

That’s why South Carolina regulations are mainly directed at safeguarding the rights of those who really need support animals and want to travel with genuine furry companions. What’s more, the local laws take any fraudulent claims very seriously. The fines for misrepresentation here vary from $350-$1,000 to $3,000 or even more. And that’s not the only risk you may face because some regulations even require community service from re-offenders. You’ll hardly want to pay such a high price for the privilege to take your pet with you onboard the plane, won’t you?

What you should be familiar with ESA laws in South Carolina

Do you want to get your own ESA in South Carolina? First, learn the rules, then play. Luckily, it’s not difficult to get a support animal in this state but only if you really need one. No matter how strict the state laws may be to those who only claim to own a genuine therapy animal, there is absolutely no need to worry if you have a fully legitimate assistance animal. But even in this case, it’s always worth to be aware of not just your rights but also some limitations that all ESA owners have to face in South Carolina.

Air flights

Even though The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t give you a right to enter public places and travel with an ESA, it’s not the case with the more recently adopted Air Carrier Access Act. All current and future owners of support animals in South Carolina will be happy to hear that this new law is not so strict, at least to travelers. It gives you a chance to take a support animal on a flight if you have any mental disability. But to qualify for this right, you must get a letter from a certified medical professional. The airline, however, also has a right to request a special notice proving your intention to travel in a company of an ESA 48 hours before the intended flight. 

Accommodation

No matter which state you live in, it’s never an easy task to find a pet-friendly place of living with enough space for both of you. Too many landlords nowadays simply refuse to rent their apartments to pet owners. But what if your furry little friend is much more than just a pet as it gives you relief from your mental disorder? If this is your case, South Carolina regulations will grant you more freedom. 

In fact, the Fair Housing Act doesn’t allow landowners to practice discrimination against anyone who owns an ESA in this state. Instead, they must provide you with proper accommodation to suit your needs. If you have an ESA letter, landlords wouldn’t have a right to refuse you the housing, let alone increase the housing fee. Students in South Carolina are also allowed to share campus or public accommodation with their ESA pets. 

Employment

Do you want your ESA to accompany you to the workplace? Surely, it may seem like a good idea but South Carolina regulations don’t really give any undeniable entry rights to ESA owners who wish to take their pets with them to the workplace. In fact, according to the local regulations, the employer still reserves the privilege to investigate your specific case more closely and make a decision either for or against your claim based on the findings. 

Key Takeaways

Now you see that there are many rules to follow if you plan to get an ESA in South Carolina or already have one. But are there any exceptions? Indeed, anyone who got familiar with the state and federal laws might now be wondering whether there are any loopholes in the established norms. 

Well, even if there are, it’s always a bad idea to take risks when dealing with the law. What you have to understand is that any ESA owner does not just have some rights, but also a few duties. The most important one is to make sure your pet knows how to behave properly. That’s because support animals are not allowed to disturb anyone or have some habits that may bother other people. Strictly speaking, they should not be a nuisance. If your pet causes trouble in public, your rights and permissions could be withdrawn as easily as they were granted to you. 

So now that you know all about your rights and duties it’s high time to get an ESA letter yourself. Why not do it now? If you are ready to give it a try, just make your final choice and get started!