Which Animal Letter is Right for Me?

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

  • ACCESS: Only allows access to no-pet housing
  • DEFINITION: An ESA is not a pet. It is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefits to an individual with a psychiatric disability.
  • THE LAW: These animals are protected under the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) which prevents landlords and homeowner associations from restricting your ESA from living with you, even when a no-pet policy is in place. These associations are also not allowed to assess special pet deposits or fees upon you. Property exemptions include a building with four or fewer units (one of which is owner occupied), single-family homes where the owner manages the rental or sale of the property (and owns less than three single-family homes), and organization-owned homes, or private clubs designed for its members.
  • ANIMAL TYPE AND QUANTITY: Carla assesses individuals for one ESA (one dog or one cat only).
  • TRAINING: These animals do not have to be professionally trained to perform a particular task but must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting.

Psychiatric Service Animal (PSA)

  • ACCESS: Allows full public access, including airplanes, restaurants, public transportation, stores, workplaces, hotels, etc.
  • DEFINITION: PSAs are categorized as a type of service animal. Only dogs are allowed to be PSAs.
  • THE LAW: These animals are protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA defines a service animal as an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the animal must be directly related to the person's disability.
  • ANIMAL TYPE AND QUANTITY: Carla assesses individuals for one PSA (one dog only).
  • TRAINING: PSAs must be trained to perform a specific task (which Carla will assign based on your psychiatric need). You may either train the animal yourself or hire a professional trainer. Your PSA must be trained to behave appropriately in public.

Who Can Be Evaluated for an Animal Letter?

Carla Mannino LCSW-R, CAS, CCTP, CAMS is licensed to practice within the following states: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, and Massachusetts. Individuals who are 18 years or older, and live in one of the above-listed states, are eligible for an evaluation.

What are the Necessary Qualifications to be Eligible for an Animal Letter?

Eligibility is NOT guaranteed. You must have a debilitating mental health disability (diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional) that requires you to have an animal letter.

What Does the Animal Letter Evaluation Process Entail?

The evaluation requires a mental health assessment. During this session, Carla will obtain detailed information about your difficulties in order to make an accurate diagnosis and determine if you qualify for an animal letter.

Are There Any Breed Restrictions?

Carla does not provide letters for the following aggressive breeds: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Akita Inu, Presa Canario, Tosa Inu, Mastiff, Gull Dong (Pakistani Bull Dog), Bandog, Chow Chow, Great Dane, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Caucasian Ocharka, and Wolf Hybrid.

What is the Charge for an Animal Letter? What Does it Include?

The charge for this service is $395. If you are eligible, you will receive an animal letter and any extended support services (required legal forms, phone calls, emails, after-hours support, etc.) that you may need related to your animal.

Does My Animal Letter Expire?

Your animal letter is valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Should you wish to have your letter renewed, you can call or text Carla at (212) 810-1724 or carla@gothampsychotherapy.com to be re-evaluated. The cost to renew this letter is $150.

Are You a Licensed Mental Health Provider?

Carla Mannino, LCSW-R, CAS, CCTP, CAMS is a New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, and Massachusetts state-licensed clinical social worker, and the founder of Gotham Psychotherapy. She maintains a full-time private practice in New York City. Carla specializes in integrative psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups. 

Carla holds a master's degree from New York University. She has also been certified by The American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders as a Certified Addiction Specialist (alcohol, drug, eating, sex, and gambling), the International Association of Trauma Professionals as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, the National Anger Management Association as a Certified Anger Management Specialist, and has completed additional professional coursework in emotional support and psychiatric service animal assessments. 

Where is Your Office Located?

Gotham Psychotherapy is located at The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 26th Floor, New York, New York 10174. The office is easily accessible to New York City subways and buses, Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, Metro-North, NJ Transit, and PATH.

Will My Appointment be In-Person or a Video Visit?

In-Person Appointment: If you are located within the five boroughs of New York City.

Video Visit: If you reside outside the five boroughs of New York City, but within one of the following states: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, and Massachusetts.

How Do I Schedule an Evaluation Appointment?

To schedule an evaluation appointment, please call or text Carla at (212) 810-1724 or carla@gothampsychotherapy.com.