3 Things to Know About Accommodating Emotional Support Animals

If you suffer from a mental disorder, you might require the assistance of an emotional support animal. The companionship of these animals has been shown to help those that suffer from these conditions. While service animals that help those with disabilities are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and can go almost anywhere, emotional support animals are limited in where they can go. Here is what you should know about where you can take your ESA service dog.

Not All Public Places

Since the ADA states that service animals can travel almost anywhere with the person they’re assisting, many people think that emotional support animals can as well. The ADA determined that these animals don’t have the same necessary training as those assisting the disabled and therefore have limited access. This means that restaurants, stores, and hotels can refuse to let the animal enter. However, some may let them in to avoid an inconvenience for the customer. If you’re considering taking your emotional support animal with you, you should contact the establishment first to see if they’ll allow them in.

Air Travel

While the ADA doesn’t require businesses to let emotional support animals anywhere, the Air Carrier Access Act requires that they are allowed in airplane cabins without any additional fees. In order to qualify to take your pet on an airplane, you must receive a written letter by a licensed health professional within a year of traveling. This will allow you to take your animal on the trip domestically or abroad. If you travel with your emotional support animal, make sure you have documentation as airlines are allowed to ask to see it.

Housing

Similar to air travel, the ADA doesn’t require that landlords allow emotional support animals. The Fair Housing Act, on the other hand, does. Under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord must provide reasonable accommodation without charging extra rent, asking about your disability, making you register the animal, or requiring specific training. They also can’t refuse to house the animal because their insurance doesn’t cover emotional support animals. While landlords usually must accommodate the animal, there are three reasons why they might be exempt. Those are if the animal is too large for accommodation, if the building has four or fewer units with the landlord occupying one, and if it’s a single-family home rented without a real estate agent.

While an emotional support animal isn’t allowed everywhere, there are certain places that must accommodate your support needs. This is some of the important information to know if you have an ESA service dog.

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