A student who wishes to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in CalArts Housing must provide appropriate documentation of the need for the ESA completed and signed by an outside psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, physician, or other health care professional who has an established treatment relationship with the student.
To fulfill this requirement, students may have the provider fill out the Disability Services Office (DSO) ESA request form (coming soon) and/or submit a letter from the provider discussing whether the student has a need for the animal to help treat a qualifying disability. A letter from the provider on their office’s official letterhead, should respond in detail to the following documentation guidelines below and include their name, license number, contact information, address, signature, and date.
Reliable disability-related documentation for Emotional Support Animals should be specific to the housing environment and include the following information:
- Required: Documentation explicitly verifies that the person requesting the Emotional Support Animal meets the Act's definition of disability and a specific diagnosis of DSM-V or equivalent criteria (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities).
- Required: Describe how your therapeutic or medical relationship with the applicant has informed the basis for the conclusion and recommendation for the necessity of an assistance animal within Institute Housing. Documentation must establish a client-provider relationship with the individual for at least 30 days prior to providing the documentation requested regarding the individual’s need for an emotional support animal.
- When did you first meet with the student regarding their mental health diagnosis, and in what context (that is, was it a face-to-face meeting or a virtual interaction)?
- When did you last interact with the student regarding this mental health diagnosis?
- Required: Describe how the animal works, provides assistance, performs tasks or services for the benefit of this individual with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of their identified symptoms or effects of the applicant’s existing disability (i.e. what are the limitations the assistance animal mitigates, how is what the animal performs related to the disabling condition, and what is the difference in limitations, with and without, the animal being present).
- Required: Is the animal named here one that you specifically prescribed as part of treatment for the student, or is it a pet that you believe will have a beneficial effect on the student while in residence on campus?
- Required: Describe any expertise and training you have with regard to therapeutic human/animal interaction.
- Required: Have you discussed the responsibilities associated with properly caring for an animal while engaged in typical college activities and residing in campus housing? Do you believe those responsibilities might exacerbate the student’s symptoms in any way?
Required: Describe how much of an opportunity you have had in observing the interactions between the person and the animal in question as well as any observations of the animal's behavior around other commonly present animals or persons.
Please note that Disability Services Office (DSO) does not accept letters from the numerous online companies who (in exchange for a fee) offer verification or certification for the need of an ESA.
The approval of a request is animal-specific and is not transferable to another animal. Only one ESA will be approved per student, unless the medical provider gives justification for more than one animal (based on additional need).
Documentation that the Service/Support Animal is in compliance with all required Los Angeles County requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations. Dogs must also be registered with the county of Los Angeles. Please plan to have this documentation available to provide to the housing office.
Residential Life may also require ESA documentation, including but not limited to a photograph of the ESA, proof that the ESA has all required vaccinations, including, but not limited to distemper and rabies, proof of a current applicable licensure with the City of Los Angeles (for dogs only), proof of a spay/neuter certificate consistent with the City of Los Angeles ordinance (for dogs only), and proof of current flea treatment plan.