Now, you may have been thinking that Emotional Support Animals can only be dogs or cats and that’s it – not birds. You’ve probably gone online and seen dogs serving as Emotional Support Animals and cats as well, but a bird? Well, it’s a common misconception to believe that only dogs and cats can serve as ESAs and here’s why:
The Law is on Your Side
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires landlords to provide individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodations to afford them equal opportunities to enjoy and use a dwelling. Service animals or service dogs are 100% protected by law. However, there are other kinds of “assistance animals”, like emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals, that may also be equally considered reasonable accommodations as well. However, the major factor is whether permitting the bird to serve as an ESA (therapy animal or service animal) would actually be a reasonable accommodation of the owner’s disability.
Ultimately, all domesticated animals may qualify as an ESA: rats, minipigs, ferrets, turkeys, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, hedgehogs, and many others!
So, can my bird be an Emotional Support Animal?
Yes, the Federal law currently does not place any restrictions on the species of animals that can serve as an ESA. The only requirement is that the bird is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the housing unit or in a plane.
It is very important, however, that the pet owner obtains an ESA prescription letter from a licensed mental health professional. If you are flying, check with the specific airline as they will require additional documentation such as American Airlines or United Airlines, Emotional Pet Support can help you out with those, however.
Remember, not only can birds provide affection and support to people in nursing homes, schools, etc. but they can also offer individual emotional support as a loving pet. So, there’s really no reason why they wouldn’t be considered ESAs!
Pigeon/Bird-Friendly Map Provided by Pigeon Rescue