Animal Emotional Support Laws by State (2023)

Emotional support animal (ESA) laws vary by state. While federal laws like the Fair Housing Act or the Air Carrier Access Act require you to be informed by local government agencies about your state's specific rules and guidelines regarding emotional support animals and where your pets are allowed.

While your state may allow emotional support animals in more public places than others, or you may receive more benefits if you need an emotional support animal, it's important to know the laws, including public guidelines on pets like this Fair Housing Act applies and how you can get federal grants and more.

Read on to learn more about your state's ESA laws, Americans with Disabilities Act, and therapy animal regulations.

Animal Emotional Support Laws by State (1)

What are the state laws for emotional support animals?

Many states in the US do not differentiate ESA laws. While many differ in thisservice animal laws, Federal, and State laws are generally the same for therapy animals in the United States.

It is important to note that emotional support animals, such as psychiatric service dogs, are not service animals.

Service animals assist people with physical or cognitive disabilities who are undergoing extensive training to perform a specific task for a person with a disability.

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(Video) What Are The Emotional Support Animal Laws in California?

woman holding a book

For example, the most popular choice for a service animal is a service dog. A service dog could be a guide dog that would be of great help to someone with severe visual impairments. They can also help with important life activities like work, school, and public outings.

Assistance dogs perform specific tasks such as B. as mobility assistance dogs or are specially trained to provide deep pressure therapy for someone with an anxiety attack or panic attack.

On the other hand,Emotional Support Animalsare therapy animals that provide companionship for people with mental health problems or mental or emotional disabilities. Emotional support animals provide a better quality of life for people with mental illnesses or emotional disabilities.

Professional trainers can train service dogs to perform deep pressure therapy when a person is having a panic attack. Assistance dogs can also be seizure response dogs, which can detect when their person is having a seizure and either stop the attack or help mitigate it. They also train to get outside help if needed.

Because service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs may have different federal and state laws than emotional support animals. Therefore we will only coverESA Actinstead of service animal laws.

Emotional support animals can vary from any breed. However, the most popular is an emotional support (ESD) dog. ESDs are individually trained to perform sedation techniques such as B. their presence offering support.

(Video) Understanding Emotional Support Animals (ESA) a Guide for Landlords

Animal Emotional Support Laws by State (3)

Laws on ESAs

Many states, including California, New York, and Florida, have their own rules protecting emotional support pet ownersHousing. These rules often mirror the rules of the federal Fair Housing Act and have similar protections and requirements.

ESAs, sometimes referred to as service animals, provide therapeutic use rather than being trained to perform specific tasks; are therefore not service animals. They are not individually trained to perform tasks related to a person's disability and their presence gives individuals peace of mind.

If you wish to bring your emotional support animal, be it a therapy dog, cat, even a rabbit or miniature horse or even an exotic animal, to work or school, under ESA laws in Illinois it is up to the individual employer or school campus .

Under federal law, housing providers cannot refuse your emotional support animal. They also cannot charge you a pet deposit or pet fee. Also, according to the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are not allowed to have housing discrimination where they discriminate against you because you have service animals that provide emotional support.

However, when it comes to letting your pet into classrooms or offices, that's a different story. Ultimately, it is up to your employer or school district to determine whether emotional support animals are allowed in their facilities.

Again, these laws are usually the same in every state. However, it may be helpful to check your local ESA laws as each city or municipality may have different policies. In general, no state is required to follow specific ESA laws, except where residence or travel is involved.

Due to travel laws, a service animal assisting a person with emotional disabilities may be required to have reasonable accommodations other than service animals. Emotional support animals or comfort animals may be asked to be on air carriers as they are not service animals and do not have a specific task.

(Video) Legal Update: New Laws Regarding Service & Emotional Support Animals

Let's cover federal laws regarding emotional support for animals

While each state or city may have its own rules and regulations regarding emotional support animals, what all 50 states have in common is that they must obey all federal laws regarding emotional support animals.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, which applies to residents of all states, landlords, including dorm directors or dorm managers, are required to adequately accommodate tenants who own emotional support animals, even if the building has a policy that prohibits pets.

Under the Fair Housing Rules, emotional support animals are recognized as a type of service animal or therapy animal that provides reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The US Department of Housing issues guidance on how to implement the provisions of the Fair Housing Act and enforce fair housing rules.

Prior to January 11, 2021, airlines were required under the Air Carrier Access Act to allow passengers to fly with emotional support animals in the cabin. The US Department of Transportation has issued new rules allowing airlines to no longer recognize emotional support animals on flights.

However, certain airlines still voluntarily accept emotional support animals, so it's important to research which airlines are willing to allow therapy animals on their flights.

How to get an emotional support animal

To obtain an emotional support animal, you must consult a licensed psychologist. Your licensed psychiatrist needs to determine if you have a mental or emotional illness. After this determination, a person with a disability may qualify for a service animal.

(Video) Emotional Support Animals Rules

Keep in mind that getting an emotional support animal is not an easy process. It takes time for licensed mental health professionals to determine a person's disability if an emotional support animal would be most appropriate for you. Emotional support animals are different from service animals, so deciding which one is best for you may take some patience.

Nothing can happen overnight except maybe receiving an emotional support animal letter. Your psychiatrist can write an ESA letter that can take effect immediately.

What proper documentation do I need for an emotional support animal?

As long as your doctor and a licensed psychiatrist have all the relevant information they need about you and your emotional support animal, they can provide you with a referral or prescription for an emotional support animal. You can then use theseAnimal letter for emotional supportobtain adequate accommodation for residential and travel purposes.

The legal regulations for receiving a certified animal letter for emotional support vary from state to state. For example aESA Brief ColoradoInstitutions accept that you must have a live appointment with a psychologist. This policy means that you cannot use a therapy chat service or email correspondence as an emotional support animal counseling meeting. Other states, like California, also require psychiatrists to wait at least 30 days after an appointment before issuing an ESA letter.

If you want to learn more about emotional support animal letters, the Austin Chronicle has ranked the best dynamic support animal services. You can find the articleHere.

Overall, owning and caring for an emotional support animal can help many people with an intellectual disability or mental illness. However, acquiring an emotional support animal is a lengthy process that requires consultation with mental health professionals and honesty about yourself and your well-being.

Once you are able to get a therapy animal, it's important to follow the documentation required and the federal, state, and local laws that protect you under so you can properly care for your pet. Having a therapy animal is very different from a service animal, but it's a responsibility that can help you feel a little better.

(Video) GET AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOG! // Housing Protections, Training Requirements, and More!

Therapy animals provide emotional support and can help with a person's disability, mental health, and emotional well-being.


Animal Emotional Support Laws by State? ›

Emotional support dogs, cats, and other species are protected under the Fair Housing Act. Because this is a federal act, it does apply to Kansas landlords. In other words, you can't deny a tenant's right to own an emotional support animal in your pet-free property.

Can a landlord deny an emotional support animal Kansas? ›

Emotional support dogs, cats, and other species are protected under the Fair Housing Act. Because this is a federal act, it does apply to Kansas landlords. In other words, you can't deny a tenant's right to own an emotional support animal in your pet-free property.

Can a landlord deny an emotional support animal in New Jersey? ›

Service or guide animals are automatically exempt from a housing provider's no-pet policies.

Can landlords deny emotional support animals in Iowa? ›

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, all housing facilities must allow service docs and emotional support animals if it is necessary for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to use or enjoy their home. You must have a disability and have a disability related need for the animal to qualify.

Do landlords have to accept emotional support animals in Idaho? ›

If a property does not allow pets, a person with a disability can give a Reasonable Accommodation request to her housing provider and the housing provider must allow an assistive animal, when needed. This is to allow the tenant an equal use and enjoyment of the property.

How do I write a letter to my landlord about an emotional support animal? ›

My disability limits my ability to [description of how your disability affects your daily life]. In order to ensure I have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy my home, I am requesting a reasonable accommodation to have my [service animal/emotional support animal] live with me.

Who can write an ESA letter in Kansas? ›

The most important step to getting an emotional support animal in Kansas is to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.

Can a landlord charge a pet deposit for an emotional support animal in New Jersey? ›

Your housing provider cannot require you to pay an additional security deposit or pet fee, or obtain additional renter's insurance, in exchange for allowing you to keep an ESA. However, your housing provider may require you to pay for any actual damage the animal causes.

When can a landlord legally reject an ESA in Florida? ›

(a) Deny a reasonable accommodation request for an emotional support animal if such animal poses a direct threat to the safety or health of others or poses a direct threat of physical damage to the property of others, which threat cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.

Who can write an ESA letter in New Jersey? ›

ESA letters can only be written by a licensed medical healthcare professional (LMHP). A few of the professions covered under this title are: licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT)

Does Iowa recognize emotional support animals? ›

In Iowa, the Fair Housing Act and the Iowa Civil Rights Act protect those with an emotional support animal. Specifically, these two laws outline rules related to “assistance animals,” which includes both service animals and emotional support animals.

How do I make my dog an emotional support dog in Iowa? ›

To obtain an emotional support animal letter in Iowa, you must attend an appointment with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who can practice in your state. They can evaluate your disability and symptoms and write you an ESA letter, should they find that you qualify.

Is US service animals legit? ›

US Service Animals has a rating of 4.11 stars from 19 reviews, indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. US Service Animals ranks 54th among Pets sites.

Can a landlord charge a pet deposit for an emotional support animal in Iowa? ›

You must be allowed full and equal access to all housing facilities, and may not be charged extra for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes). If your lease or rental agreement includes a "no pets" provision, it does not apply to your service animal.

Can a landlord deny an ESA letter in Idaho? ›

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

If you are getting an emotional support animal in Idaho, you will have access to housing as a tenant. Your landlord or housing provider can not discriminate against tenants with disabilities, and your no-pet rules and even a tenant pet-deposit can be waved.

Can you charge a pet deposit for an ESA in Idaho? ›

Can a landlord in Idaho charge a fee for an emotional support animal? Your landlord cannot charge you a pet fee or require a pet deposit for an ESA, as long as you have a valid ESA letter.

Is an ESA letter enough? ›

Legally, all you need to get accommodation under the Fair Housing Act is an ESA Letter written and signed by a licensed mental health provider. A landlord may look up your LMHP's license number, but they can't ask for your additional details or documentation about your disability.

What does an emotional support dog letter need to say? ›

In order to help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the dwelling unit you own and/or administer, I am prescribing an emotional support animal that will assist [FIRST NAME] in coping with his/her disability.

Is there a free letter for emotional support animals? ›

There is only one instance in which an ESA letter will be free: if you already see a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). A therapist you are seeing can issue your ESA letter at no added charge. If you find a free emotional support animal letter online, know that it is not legally binding.

Can my MD write an ESA letter? ›

Your primary care physician can indeed issue an ESA letter. If you, or someone you know, might benefit from an emotional support animal, ask your family doctor.

How do I get an ESA letter in Kentucky? ›

To get an ESA letter in Kentucky, you need to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional who can determine if you have a qualifying disability. The letter should be written on official letterhead and include the professional's licensing information, as well as your name and the animal's description.

Where can I get an ESA letter in Florida? ›

There is no official ESA registration process in any state, including Florida. The only way to legally recognize an emotional support animal is to obtain an ESA letter from a mental health professional licensed in Florida or whichever state you seek accommodations in.

Is Pettable legit? ›

Is Pettable Legit? Yes. Pettable is a legitimate provider of genuine documents that meet state and federal ESA letter requirements. They ensure that their letters are compliant with all relevant guidelines, including HIPAA.

How to register a dog as an emotional support animal in New Jersey? ›

To obtain an emotional support animal (ESA) letter online in New Jersey, you must consult with a licensed mental health professional about your mental health symptoms. If they determine that you qualify for an emotional support animal, they'll write you an ESA prescription, more commonly known as an ESA letter.

Are emotional support animals allowed in restaurants in New Jersey? ›

Under the state Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you can bring your service animal to all public accommodations—places like bars and restaurants or hotels and shopping centers.

Can ESA dogs be denied housing in Florida? ›

—To the extent required by federal law, rule, or regulation, it is unlawful to discriminate in the provision of housing to a person with a disability or disability-related need for, and who has or at any time obtains, an emotional support animal.

Can you legally ask for proof of service dog in Florida? ›

The entity may ask whether an animal is a service animal and what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. However, they may not require documentation that the service animal is trained or ask the person what their disability is.

Is ESA doctors legit? ›

ESA Doctors operates with integrity and does not sell ESA letters or charge unnecessary registration fees - the LMHPs we work with issue ESA letters on their own letterhead for qualified clients. Dealing with a mental illness is hard enough without worrying about whether your ESA letter is legitimate.

What is the Fair Housing Act in New Jersey for ESA? ›

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

The Federal Fair Housing Act protects those with service animals as well as an emotional support animal in New Jersey. This law states that landlords and homeowner's association must provide reasonable accommodation to those with an emotional support animal.

Can my mom write an ESA letter? ›

Only licensed mental health professionals in your state are the ones who can write an emotional support letter. There is no cutting corners here: if you don't get a licensed health professional to write you the letter, it won't be valid!

Does each ESA need their own letter? ›

Do I need a separate ESA letter for each emotional support animal? No, you do not need a separate ESA letter for each of your emotional support animals if you have more than one. Your therapist or doctor can indicate how many emotional support animals you need in one letter.

What disqualifies a dog from being an emotional support animal? ›

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an emotional support dog, also called an emotional support animal (ESA), the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness.

What animals are not allowed to be emotional support animals? ›

An ESA is not considered a Service Animal, but under U.S. law, an emotional support animal is also not considered a pet and is generally not restricted by the type of animal. Any domesticated animal may be considered as an ESA (e.g., cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, birds, hedgehogs, rats, minipigs, ferrets, etc.)

Do I have to pay pet deposit for ESA in Iowa? ›

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

As such, renters and tenant cannot be evicted or even charged a pet deposit if they require an emotional support animal, therapy dogs, or seizure-alert dogs in public accommodation because landlords must provide “reasonable accommodation” as provided in the Act.

Can I be emotional support for my dog? ›

To qualify your dog as an emotional support animal, you will need an ESA letter from a licensed professional, including: counselors. social workers. psychologists.

Does the Secret Service use dogs? ›

Why do some agents have dogs with them? In the 1970s, the Secret Service created the K-9 division, which paired specially trained dogs with handlers, or K-9 Technicians. These special dogs have been trained to detect drugs, explosives, and firearms.

What animals can be service animals in the US? ›

Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA. A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.

How much does us service animals charge? ›

What is the average cost to acquire a service dog? The National Service Animal Registry estimates the upfront cost of a service dog to be $15,000 to $30,000. But they can cost as much as $50,000. This price tag may include breeding, raising, training, and placing the dog.

How much can a landlord charge for pet deposit in Iowa? ›

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No statute is available, other than 562A. 12.1. In most cases, pet deposits are included within the security deposit, but when they are not, the total of the security and pet deposits can not exceed a total of two months' actual rent.

How much is pet deposit in Iowa? ›

Can Landlords Charge an Additional Pet Deposit in Iowa? Yes, landlords can collect an additional pet deposit in Iowa, except for service dogs and emotional support animals. However, the total security deposit cannot exceed two months' rent.

How do I get a service animal in Iowa? ›

You might qualify if: You are a disabled First Responder in the areas of law enforcement, firefighter, EMS, or dispatch or a Military Veteran. First Responders will need to provide their former supervisor's contact information. Veterans will need to provide a copy of their DD-214.

Does Idaho have ESA laws? ›

Idaho is another state that does not provide laws that protect emotional support animals. Emotional support animals are animals that provide an individual with comfort and companionship.

Can a landlord legally reject an ESA in Texas? ›

Can a landlord refuse an assistance animal based on breed? No. Service and emotional support animals can be any breed or size. However, the landlord may prohibit an animal if it is dangerous to others.

How many animals can you have in Idaho? ›

The maximum number of dogs, cats or combination of both allowable under a noncommercial kennel license is ten (10) animals in total.

Can you charge pet rent in Idaho? ›

In Idaho, for example, there are no laws regarding pets. As such, this means that you may be able to charge a separate pet deposit. That said, make sure not to overcharge tenants, as that may make your unit less desirable to prospective tenants.

Are dogs considered property in Idaho? ›

Dogs. This Idaho statute states that dogs are considered property. It further provides that no entity of state or local government may by ordinance or regulation prevent the owner of any dog from protecting it from loss by the use of an electronic locating collar.

Do you have to pay pet rent for ESA in Kansas? ›

Pet fees. Service, assistance and emotional support animals are not technically pets and owners do not have to pay pet fees. The landlord, however, can charge a security deposit and may still seek money from the tenant if there is any damage caused by the animal to the home.

Where can I file a complaint against my landlord in Kansas? ›

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a Kansas or local fair housing agency is ready to help you file a complaint, or you can apply for legal assistance from KLS online or call the application line at 1-800-723-6953..

Can a landlord charge extra for an emotional support animal Nebraska? ›

Fees: Housing providers cannot charge a “pet deposit” or extra rent for individuals with disabilities who rely on assistance animals. Again, assistive animals are not pets. Under the FHA, a landlord is not required to automatically allow a tenant to have an assistive animal.

Can a landlord charge a pet deposit for an emotional support animal in Missouri? ›

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

The Fair Housing Act states that your landlord can't charge you an extra fee or deny you housing because of your ESA. This is great news for everyone renting with an emotional support animal in Missouri!

What is the 14 30 notice to the landlord in Kansas? ›

To evict you, the landlord must provide a notice to you that you have 14 days to correct the problem, otherwise you will have to vacate 30 days after you get the notice. In other words, the lease will terminate 30 days after the notice date, unless you can correct the problem in 14 days.

Can you withhold rent for repairs in Kansas? ›

Can You Withhold Rent in Kansas? The only case in which a tenant may withhold rent in Kansas is under the repair and deduct statute. This takes effect if the landlord fails to make necessary repairs then the tenant may pay for the repairs and deduct the cost from their next rent payment.

Can a landlord enter without permission in Kansas? ›

Kansas law says that you can enter your tenant's premises for the following reasons: 1) to inspect it; 2) to make necessary or agreed repairs, alterations or improvements; 3) to show it to prospective workmen, buyers or tenants.

Can I deduct my emotional support animal? ›

A simple doctor's note unlocks many medical tax deductions. If your therapist suggested a companion animal to soothe your bouts of anxiety — and you went out and bought one — then yes, the emotional support pet counts. Cover your bases: Get it in writing. The IRS loves documentation.

What does an emotional support animal do? ›

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides a therapeutic benefit (e.g., emotional support, comfort, companionship) to a person with a mental health or psychiatric disability (such as a serious mental health condition).

How do I certify my emotional support dog in Missouri? ›

All you have to do is connect with a licensed mental health professional who can determine if you qualify for an emotional support animal and then write you an ESA letter if you do. Online services like Pettable can do the heavy lifting of matching you with a licensed mental health professional in Missouri.

What is the Fair Housing Act in Missouri? ›

The Federal Fair Housing Act and the Missouri Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination in housing rental, sales, and lending due to race, color, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, or having children in the household.

Are pet deposits legal in Missouri? ›

Pursuant to Missouri law, a security deposit charge can be no more than two month's rent. When you pay your security deposit, get a signed receipt from your landlord. In most cases, your landlord may not charge a non-refundable security deposit. A landlord can charge a nonrefundable pet deposit.


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