Can a person have more than one emotional support animal? Can a person have multiple emotional support animals that are of a different species (for example, a dog and cat)? The answer is yes! It is possible to qualify for more than one emotional support animal as long as you have the right supporting documentation.
Many people that suffer from mental illnesses like depression or anxiety need more than one emotional support animal to help with their condition. If you need more than one ESA, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or suffer from unfair discrimination. The situation is more common than you think — the U.S. Department of Housing even acknowledges in its guidelines that many ESA housing requests involve more than one animal.
However, to have more than one emotional support animal, you must meet certain requirements:
- Your licensed healthcare professional must assess that you have a need for more than one emotional support animal to alleviate symptoms of your mental illness.
- Your ESA letter must reference each emotional support animal.
- All the animals must be able to reasonably live in your home — humanely and safely.
In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know if you plan to live with more than one emotional support animal. If you need an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional, ESA Doctors can help.
The ESA professionals that work with ESA Doctors are knowledgeable about ESA recommendations and ESA letters. They have experience with helping clients who need more than one emotional support animal. Click on the questionnaire link below to get started today.
How do you qualify for more than one ESA?
To qualify for one emotional support animal, a licensed healthcare professional must assess your mental health. If your provider determines that an ESA can alleviate symptoms of a mental health disability in the form of chronic depression, severe anxiety, PTSD, panic disorder, or other condition, then they can issue an ESA letter. An ESA letter is the only document that proves that you own an emotional support animal and not just a pet.
The process for qualifying for multiple emotional support animals is similar. Your licensed healthcare professional would need to determine that each emotional support animal you own is needed to help with different symptoms of your mental illness. Most ESA letters recommend just one ESA, but numerous recommend multiple ESAs.
If you have more than one emotional support animal, your ESA letter should reference each of your ESAs. The ESA letter should be signed by your healthcare professional and contain their contact and license number.
Do I need a separate ESA letter for each emotional support animal?
No, you do not need a separate ESA letter for each of your emotional support animals if you have more than one. Your therapist or doctor can indicate how many emotional support animals you need in one letter. However, it is possible you may have multiple ESA letters. For example, you have one therapist who helps you with a particular condition and recommends an ESA for that purpose. Another doctor who helps with another condition recommends a different ESA for a different purpose. You may have multiple ESA letters issued by different therapists. However, most people with multiple ESAs rely on just one healthcare professional for their ESA needs. Therefore all their ESAs are mentioned in one ESA letter.
Is there a limit to how many emotional support animals you can have?
There is no technical legal limit to how many emotional support animals you can have, but some practical limitations and considerations exist. As we’ve discussed, the first requirement for having more than one ESA is that a licensed healthcare professional must agree to your need for multiple ESAs to assist with your mental illness.
Landlords are also only required to reasonably accommodate emotional support animals. They can deny a tenant’s ESA request if they feel the ESA would endanger the health and safety of others. A landlord does not have to allow multiple ESAs if it would create a health hazard for any tenant or other animals that live in the building.
Any ESAs that live in your home must be accommodated humanely. If you live in a small studio apartment, it may not be practical or humane to house several large animals. Your ESAs should have plenty of space to live comfortably and safely in the confines of your home. It is crucial to think about the welfare and safety of the emotional support animals in your living conditions. And you must consider the impact your ESAs will have on other tenants’ rights in your building to have safe, comfortable living quarters.
There are also feeding, grooming, cleaning, and veterinary concerns when having more than one emotional support animal. An individual must have the ability, time, and means to provide for all of their emotional support animals so they can thrive healthily and happily.
If my building has a limit on the number of pets I can have, does that include emotional support animals?
An emotional support animal is not considered a pet under Fair Housing rules and is thus exempt from limitations on the number of pets you can have. This is why ESA owners are allowed to have emotional support animals even in buildings that allow zero pets.
For example, if your building limits the number of pets to one, you can still have two emotional support animals since ESAs are not considered pets and do not count towards the limit. However, as discussed above, this does not mean you can automatically have unlimited ESAs.
Each ESA you own must be covered by a recommendation from a licensed professional in the ESA letter, and you must be able to safely and comfortably accommodate all of your emotional support animals within the confines of your home.
How can I get an ESA letter for more than one emotional support animal?
You can obtain an ESA letter through an in-person visit or online with a licensed healthcare professional. Not all therapists and doctors are familiar with ESAs — you want to see someone knowledgeable about ESA requests and skilled in writing ESA letters.
ESA Doctors works with healthcare professionals who are licensed for your state and offer their services online. They understand that some people need more than one ESA to deal with the difficulties of their mental health issues and treat their clients with compassion. If you would like to see if you qualify for more than one emotional support animal, get started by completing the questionnaire in the link below.