It is important to know the laws for emotional support animals in the state that you live in or plan to visit. Not every state treats emotional support animals the same, and very few states treat emotional support animals like service animals. Some states even put restrictions on what is considered an emotional support animal depending on the animal.
The law in Alaska protects service animals and the individuals they help, but not emotional support animals. Emotional support animals are animals that provide comfort and companionship but are not trained to perform a task that is directly related to any disabilities, including physical and mental.
If your animals perform services and have gone to school and been certified to do so, then it is not considered an emotional support animal. In this case, it would be a service animal and would be provided the same safety as other services animals. It is important to know the difference when understanding your animal’s rights.
The law in Alaska also does not restrict what type of animal can be considered a service animal, although the ADA does state that service animals are only dogs. The ADA provides a federal law for all federal buildings and locations in Alaska.
Restrictions on Emotional Support Animals
Since emotional support animals have received no direct training, they are considered unpredictable and are not required to be allowed into all public accommodations as services animals would. This means that your emotional support animal will be required to stay at home when you go shopping or do any other task that you feel you might want your animal with you for.
Even though it is against the law for places to ask for proof that your animal is indeed a service animal, it is also illegal to imply your animal is a service animal when it is not. Service animals receive the rights that they have in order to protect individuals with disabilities. If a non-service animal interrupts that work, then it can be dangerous for the individual that has the disability.
Different Types of Laws for Emotional Support Animals
Even though your emotional support animals may not be allowed in all public locations, this is at the discretion of the owner. Even though your emotional support animal is not considered a service animal, the owner of public accommodation may allow you to bring your emotional support animal anyway.
Emotional support animals do have protection when it comes to housing under the federal Fair Housing Act. This states that all service animals and emotional support animals are not to be denied housing of any sort as long as they are performing a service to someone with a disability.
For this, to qualify, you will need to have a disability that requires the use of an emotional support animal. Remember that emotional support animals are animals that have not been certified or trained. If they provide relief for an issue like anxiety or depression, you will need this documented that you have this for your animal to be considered an emotional support animal.
It is against the law for people to ask to see proof of your service animal’s certification before entering a public accommodation, but landlords are allowed to ask for proof that you require an ESA before renting to you. This is why it is important to obtain proof of your emotional support animal beforehand. They can also ask for proof of your disability.
You may be wondering if you need proof to bring an emotional support animal onto a flight. Unfortunately, the Air Carrier Access Act has been modified so that ESAs are no longer protected. Airlines do not have to allow your emotional support animal to fly in the cabin with you, regardless of whether or not you have a letter from your therapist. If your animal is small enough, it may be able to qualify as a carry-on that can be stowed under your seat. However, there will be a fee and the airline does not have to allow your pet as a carry-on.
Now, only service dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners for free. You may be able to train your dog as a psychiatric service animal (PSA) that performs tasks that directly treat your mental health disability. These tasks include things like your dog laying on you as a calming mechanism. Airlines are permitted to require you to fill out forms provided by the Department of Transportation before allowing your service dog on a flight. These forms will often ask for the name and contact information of the person or organization that trained your psychiatric service dog.
Why Emotional Support Animals Are Important
Emotional support animals are very important. Some even consider them just as important as service animals when it comes to helping individuals work through their daily routine. Some people experience a lot of anxiety, or even depression and the presence of an emotional support animal can provide them when comfort.
Emotional support animals allow individuals with these types of issues to be able to function better and make it through their day with more ease. It is important for these individuals to be provided with this comfort so they can live a normal life as much as possible. The comfort these animals provide can really make a difference in an individual’s quality of life.
Why You Should Register Your Animal With USSA
It is always a good idea to register your emotional support animal. Even though Alaska doesn’t allow for emotional support animals to enter public accommodations, they do allow for these animals to not be discriminated against with housing, but only if proof is provided.
It is also important to have your animals registered in case you are traveling to a new location. Not only does this mean they will get to stay in a hotel with you, but they might also have more rights in the location you are visiting, and having your animal registered before any trips will make the entire experience go a lot smoother.
USSA not only provides individuals with the means to get proof of their service animal or emotional support animals, but it also provides a place for them to get a doctor’s note if necessary for traveling purposes. They also provide a location to buy things you might need for your service animals, including vests and leashes.
Having proof of your emotional support animals protects both you and your animals. It can come in handy when you are traveling to a new location or renting an apartment. Registering your animals with USSA is simple and straightforward. There is no reason not to do it today.