Those who own pets often understand the impact they have on one’s emotional well-being, and the support they provide can be invaluable. This is why so many have opted out to attain an Emotional Support Animal letter for their pets so that they have more freedom and equal opportunities when it comes to the things they can and cannot do when owning an animal.
One question that arises in regards to the ESA letter is where you can take your pet, and what places still do not allow them. Although the ESA certification will give plenty of openness to where you and your pet can travel, there are also some places that are restricted. Here’s a list of a few places that ESA animals can and cannot go:
Places You Can Have an Emotional Service Animal
Often times, landlords will establish rules that exclude pet owners from being able to rent or lease a home. This is due to the potential damages and issues that a pet can cause to the home, and thus landlords are generally dissuaded from accepting applicants that own animals. However, an ESA letter protects you and your pet under the Fair Housing Act, making it illegal for a homeowner to discriminate against you if you own a pet for emotional support reasons.
This will make you exempt from any potential charges which may incur, such as pet deposits, despite the fact that the pet must still maintain orderly and proper behavior while living in the home. Similarly, the animal must be one that is in a reasonable context to own in a home. The Fair Housing Act will not protect against attempting to bring a horse into the household, for obvious reasons that it will damage the property.
College Dorms ESA
The Fair Housing Act not only applies to rented or leased properties but also living units when in college dorms. The ESA certification makes it illegal for colleges to forbid the ownership of a support animal, and many such institutions have been penalized for attempting to keep out pet owners from living in the apartments. The Housing and Urban Development department enforces heavily the FHA laws and ensures such animals are allowed on the property.
Commercial Airlines ESA
Whether moving to a new city or going on a trip, bringing your emotional support animal becomes more efficient with an ESA letter. In doing so, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), permits travelers with their animals to board airplanes without having to worry about the added fees that may come with it. However, it is crucial for individuals to have a legitimate letter that is granted by a medical professional, in order for the documentation to be deemed valid and legitimate for airline purposes.
As the popularity of ESA certifications has grown, illegitimate business services have popped up everywhere online claiming that they provide proper documents that certify your animal for emotional support. However, the reality is that many of these online services are a scam, and the only surefire way to get the right letters in your hands is by getting them from a credible medical professional, such as a therapist.
Places You Cannot Have an Emotional Service Animal
Although some hotels do permit the ownership of animals on their property, many do not, and are not required by law to do so. Since they are considered temporary housing units, these institutions are not enforced to follow the FHA. Contacting the hotel ahead of time to ask whether or not the animal is permitted with an ESA is crucial to ensuring that you and your pet have a place to stay when traveling.
This is the same situation when it comes to Airbnb locations that may be rented out for a limited period of time. Since these are also temporary living units, owners of the AirBNBs have the right to refuse the accompanied ESA even with such certification. Similar to the varying guidelines that hotels setup, asking the owner of the unit if the animal is allowed can be a way of ensuring whether or not your pet can stay with you while residing in the units.
ESA Restaurants and Stores
Another place where an ESA certification is invalid is in stores or restaurants. Although service dogs have this right to accompany their owner to stores, the ESA certification does not need to be upheld by store managers or owners. However, some businesses do allow ESA’s to come into their store and can be better understood by simply asking whether or not the animal can come in as well. Popular belief tends to make people feel that having an ESA automatically requires the store owner to allow the animal into the public place, however, this is by no means the case and depends on a per store basis to see if it is allowed.
In recent years, workplaces have become far more open and accommodating to their employees, and allowing the entrance of pets has been increasing in these environments. However, according to federal laws, employers are not required to allow your ESA into the workplace if they have established guidelines against it. Having a properly trained ESA can increase the chances of your employer allowing the animal to accompany you, but does not make it a requirement.
Overall, when looking at the places where an emotional support animal can or cannot be allowed, it is clear that there are a lot of nuances and distinctions that make the entire process confusing. Understanding the places that the animal is required to be allowed by law, such as rented or leased homes, or on commercial airlines, will help better gauge whether or not to bring the ESA.
On the other hand, knowing the rules and regulations of various stores or hotels that may be in your schedule will let you know if a given location allows animals, and can help prevent any unforeseen consequences. Make sure to do your research on where your ESA can and cannot go in order to ensure that your pet remains safe and secure with you wherever you may go.
Those who own pets often understand the impact they have on one’s emotional well-being, and the support they provide can be invaluable. This is why so many have opted out to attain an Emotional Support Animal letter for their pets so that they have more freedom and equal opportunities when it comes to the things they can and cannot do when owning an animal. One question that arises in regards to the ESA letter is where you can take your pet, and what places still do not allow them.