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ESA Laws in California, 2022 Update

New California ESA Laws Passed in 2022

Did you know that, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 70% of households in the US own a pet? This percentage has risen significantly, as the percentage was 67% in 2019. Around 90.5 million families own a pet.

If you’re one of the many Americans who have a pet, and you’re based in California, you might be wondering about the ESA laws in California.

Considering that they’ve changed recently, you might be stressed about what the changes to the California ESA laws mean for you. This is especially difficult if you aren’t sure where to start with your research.

Fortunately, in this article, we’ll review what’s new with the 2022 ESA laws in California. Finally, you can find out whether you can have an ESA animal and what rules you have to follow if you do. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

The New ESA Laws in California

When it comes to the new ESA laws in the state of California, there was a new law that was signed last September and that has gone into effect as of January 1, 2022. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed this California ESA law.

This bill was created in large part to fight against the fact that there were places saying that they were selling a service dog when really they were selling an emotional support animal in California.

Additionally, there were places that were selling merchandise and certificates related to ESA animals that implied that ESAs had, legally, the same rights that service dogs had.

While ESAs are important because of the emotional support they provide, it is important to note that their rights have never been the same as those that service dogs have.

After all, ESAs are assistance animals, but of a different type—they don’t have task training that’s disability-related.

This is why it’s wrong to pass off an animal that isn’t a service dog as one, and it’s why California has laws related to this issue already and has now passed a new one that is now in effect in 2022.

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Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

The Requirements of the New California ESA Laws

Three different requirements make up the new ESA law in California. One relates to the ESA sales notice, another to notices regarding ESA paraphernalia, and the third to LMHP requirements. We’ll review each of these in detail now.

ESA Sales Notice

This requirement of the law states that businesses and people that are providing or selling dogs as emotional support dogs need to provide a written sales notice that says that the ESA doesn’t meet the qualifications of a service dog.

Additionally, they need to acknowledge that fraudulently and knowingly representing oneself as being a service dog owner is illegal.

Notices Regarding ESA Paraphernalia

Anyone in California who sells a harness, leash, vest, tag, ID, or certificate for an ESA has to provide the same sales notice as covered above. This way, they won’t be selling paraphernalia pretending that it’s for service dogs.

New California Laws for ESAs in 2022

LMHP Requirements

Some requirements affect the licensed healthcare professionals who issue emotional support animal letters. Under current CA and HUD laws, ESA owners have to provide these letters to their landlords to show that they have an ESA.

Under the new law in California, licensed healthcare professionals providing these letters have to meet specific requirements.

First of all, they have to have a license that’s active and valid. It must also provide the professional license type, jurisdiction, license number, and effective documentation within the ESA documentation.

The professional must also be licensed for providing professional services that are within the jurisdiction’s license’s scope, with the jurisdiction being the one where the documentation is being provided.

The individual receiving the ESA letter must also have had a relationship of at least 30 days with the professional.

Additionally, the professional must complete an evaluation that’s clinical of the individual in regards to their need for an ESA.

Finally, the professional must provide verbal or written notice that is like the ESA notice covered earlier.

Can I Have an Emotional Support Animal in California?

Something you might be wondering, now that these new laws have been passed, is whether owning an emotional support animal in California is legal.

Fortunately, it is legal. This hasn’t changed. Additionally, under California and federal law, you can have more than one ESA.

Additionally, there are many ESA laws currently in place in California that protect you as someone with an ESA.

These new ESA laws don’t have a negative impact on these laws, either, so you don’t have to worry.

2022 ESA Laws in California

Note that to be able to protect yourself legally, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have a disability that requires you to have mental health or emotional disability.

Additionally, it helps to meet with a mental health professional. This will make it easier for you to demonstrate this when they provide you with an ESA letter after meeting with you.

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned about what’s new in 2022 regarding the ESA laws in California, you might need additional information. Maybe you want to learn more about the process of getting an ESA letter. Or maybe you want to learn about mental health professionals who can provide one.

Whatever information you need, we can help. At American Service Pets, we’re experts when it comes to ESAs.

Do you need a certification? Contact American Service Pets today to discuss your emotional support animal certification needs.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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