New Emotional Support Animal Law in California- 2022

Publish Date: Jan 6th, 2021; Author: Darren M. Jorgenson.
New Emotional Support Animal Law in California - 2022

Did you know that this year a new ESA law has been implemented?

If not, let us tell you that Governor Newsom approved a new California law on emotional support animals that have been applied in California from January 1, 2022.

Before that, like in every state of the United States, emotional support animals were solely managed by ESA federal laws in California. However, from January 2022, things have changed!

Everyone dealing with emotional support animals, whether owners, ESA letter service providers, ESA sellers, or even Health practitioners, must follow these new California emotional support animal laws along with the federal laws!

The purpose behind the sudden implementation of this new emotional support animals California law was to prevent ESA fraud in California. Complaints were rising day by day, and after looking at the hype of ESA frauds, the government took a strict decision.

That’s how came the idea of Assembly Bill-468, and soon it turned into a law!

So, what are these new ESA laws in California?
Firstly, before learning about regulations under the new emotional support animal rental laws California, read what CA Legislative Committee stated about this issue;

“according to the bill’s author and sponsors, the emergence of ESAs has led to an increase in the fraudulent selling and subsequent misrepresenting of emotional support dogs as service dogs,” including “businesses[es] now sell[ing] various misleading ESA-related certificates and merchandise that inaccurately imply that ESAs have the same legal rights and privileges as service dogs. Items generally include vests, tags, patches, holographic identification cards, and certificate documents prominently featuring the words “Emotional Support Animal” and in some instances “ESA, Protected Under Federal Law,” which can imply that ESAs wearing such accessories are granted the same rights as service dogs.”

So, they mean that people are illegally describing ESA as service animals to benefit from all the privileges that are only offered to service animals by the U.S government.

Now you must be wondering, so what!
Aren’t they both pets?

Or service dogs and ESA dogs are so alike that the government had to create new California pet laws to distinguish between them knowingly or unknowingly unmistakable?

Well, the government is right!

Looking to Apply for an ESA Letter for Your Pet

Get Started by following these Steps:

1. Start FIlling up the ESA Evaluation form with your details.

2. Get Evaluated by a Local ESA Doctor once the submission is complete.

3. Get Approved and Receive your Letter In Your Email.

Apply Now

Service animals and emotional support animals are very much dissimilar. The main difference is as follows;

  • Service animals are animals trained to help patients with a disability as per the American Disability Act.
  • Emotional Support animals are animals that, just with their companionship, help patients who suffer from emotional or mental illness as per DSM-V.

From above, it is clear that Service animals are trained to serve a more intricate purpose. That’s why they are offered more rights than emotional support animals as per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and Fair Housing act. The other difference is that only dogs (miniature horses in some cases) are approved as service animals. In contrast, almost any animal like dog, cat, mouse, alligator, etc., can be approved as emotional support animals.

Whereas after the legalization of this bill, anyone who will intentionally and fraudulently express their ESA dog as a service dog will have to face the consequences of their doing as decided by these new CA ESA laws.

The instructions are made clear under this new law to all the ESA suppliers, ESA verification service providers, and Health professionals who sign ESA letters in California.

Emotional support animal suppliers and ESA verification providers who violate the new dog laws in California can be jailed up to six months or charged penalties of $500, $1000, and $2500 for the consecutive first, second, and third or further violations.

As per new CA emotional support animal laws; a specific person or business that supplies

  • emotional support dogs to the people,
  • certificate, identification, tag, vest, leash, or harness for an emotional support animal

Have to provide at least a 12-point bold typewritten document to the customer, stating that;
” The dog is not trained as a service dog. That’s why the dog has no rights to the laws’ privileges given to a guide, signal, or service dog. Other than this, the document should clarify that it is illegal if the dog owners purposefully and falsely claim the dog is qualified as a guide, signal, or service dog.”

Along with this, the new ESA laws in California mentioned some new guidelines for the health professionals like therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc., who write and approve ESA documentation for the ESA owners. The guidelines are;

  • Only that health practitioner who has a genuine license of state in which they are providing services can approve an ESA documentation.
  • The health practitioner can provide ESA documentation only after establishing a client-provider relationship with the client, and that too for a minimum of one month.
  • Just like ESA suppliers and ESA certificate, identification, tag, vest, leash, or harness providers, the health practitioner has to provide written notice stating guidelines as mentioned above to mark that documentation is for ESA dog and not for a guide, signal, or service dog.

As citizens of California, we can only hope that the new emotional support animal laws in California will show better results and stop ESA frauds. The changes needed to be made long before this. Anyhow, better late than never!

About Post Author

Darren M. Jorgensen has a fondness for all animals, though dogs especially, have a huge home in his heart. He enjoys quilting, making handcrafted soap and bodyworks and anything that produces practical products. Jorgensen lives with his own service dog who doubles as an Emotional Support Animal. He gets it.


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