What is an Emotional Support Animal/Emotional Support Dog?
An emotional support animal (ESA), can literally be a lifesaver for individuals dealing with a wide range of mental health problems from mild anxiety to severe depression. A recent study demonstrated that individuals with a strong bond to their pets showed a reduced likelihood of suicidal tendencies. Emotional Support Animals not only offer companionship and unconditional love, by they provide stability and invaluable support during difficult times.
Although Emotional Support Animals offer many of the benefits that a traditional pet offers, ESAs are not your typical “pet”, and if properly registered, offer unique legal allowances to their handlers that are specific to their designation as an ESA.
Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dog in Alberta are protected under the Services Dogs Act and are afforded certain protections by law.
Where Can I Bring my Emotional Support Animal/Emotional Support Dog in Alberta?
Alberta’s laws do not provide all that much protection for Emotional Support Animals and Emotional Support Dogs, however, ESAs can accompany you to many:
- Restaurants and bars
- Resorts and hotels
- Events and public gatherings
How do I Register my Emotional Support Animal/Emotional Support Dog in Alberta?
Step 1: Consult with a mental health professional
ESAs are not “just pets”, and they are intended to assist you with a disability and improve your mental state. Accordingly, it makes sense that the first step is to consult a mental health professional who can help determine that you require the use of an ESA. Similar to a prescription for medication, a mental health professional can write you a note stating that you require the use of an ESA. This is a requirement in order to ensure your ESA is valid.
Step 2: Register your ESA
There is no official registry for ESAs in Alberta and ESA certificates are not formally required by law. Any registry claiming to be government operated or sanctioned is false and misleading.
However, as a matter of convenience, many service dog handlers choose to voluntarily register their dogs as service dogs and carry an identification card with them. This can prevent uncomfortable situations or confusion when interacting with staff at public establishments.
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable ESA Identification and Certification.