An emotional support letter is essential for people wanting to have an emotional support animal (ESA). Having one of these letters validates the needs of those requiring mental or emotional support and allows greater access to housing for people to live with their support animal.
To obtain a legal ESA letter, you need to be prescribed one by a mental healthcare professional licensed to work in Ohio. This means that there is a process to getting a letter, and only people with qualifying disabilities can get one.
Read on to learn if an emotional support animal may be right for your situation, what protections having a letter can offer, and where you can take your emotional support animal in Columbus, Ohio.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides comfort and support to its owner in times of stress or difficulty. These animals can help to reduce anxiety and depression, provide companionship, and increase feelings of security. They are not required to have any special training, but they must be well-behaved and able to interact with their owners. ESAs can be any type of animal, from cats and dogs to rabbits and even horses.
Emotional support animals can be invaluable for people experiencing a number of different emotional and mental health problems, so it’s important that people have access to an ESA letter where appropriate for them.
Who Can Qualify for an ESA in Columbus?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the definition of an emotional support animal is a pet that offers therapeutic benefits to its owner through companionship and affection. In order to receive an emotional support animal letter in Columbus, you must be living with a diagnosed emotional or mental health condition. This could be, but is not limited to:
- Generalized anxiety
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Social anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social shyness
- Stress disorders
A licensed mental healthcare professional must diagnose you and agree that an emotional support animal will benefit you. As long as they do, you can access the protections offered by having an emotional support animal letter.
What Are the Benefits of Having an ESA Letter in Columbus?
Having an emotional support animal letter means you can ensure your rights to an emotional support animal are protected. This means you don’t have to worry about the stress of potentially losing your housing due to pet restrictions.
There are also other benefits to having an ESA and an ESA letter. For example, if you experience depression, you may find it difficult to take care of yourself adequately. Having an animal relying on you means you’re more likely to do certain tasks so that you can properly care for your emotional support animal.
Other benefits of having a legal emotional support animal in Columbus include the following:
- Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Increased sense of security
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved mental health
- Access to housing that you may otherwise not be eligible for
Many landlords operate no pets policies. This means that if your emotional support animal is considered a standard pet, they would not be allowed to live with you. However, obtaining a legal ESA letter means you can submit a request to have your ESA living in your home, keeping them close by at all times.
How to Get an Emotional Support (ESA) Letter in Columbus
To obtain an emotional support animal, you’ll need to discuss your situation with a mental healthcare provider licensed to practice in Ohio.
The letter needs to meet certain criteria in order to be legal. It must:
- Be issued by a licensed medical provider
- Be written on official letter headed paper
- Contain their contact information and license number
- Confirm that you have a medical condition that qualifies you for an ESA
- Include details of your ESA animal, including their breed and name
Many people find it difficult to locate a licensed mental health professional in their area. Long waiting lists mean it can take quite a while before you can see one and start the process of obtaining an emotional support animal letter. At U.S. Service Animals, we can match you with one, meaning you don’t have to wait around for long.
Another thing many people struggle with is finding a legitimate emotional support animal letter provider. Many companies say that they can provide you with an ESA letter under dubious circumstances. For example, they will say that they can get your letter immediately. However, unless you speak to a licensed mental health provider in a live environment, like a telephone or video call, you cannot get a legitimate emotional support animal letter.
How to Get an Emotional Support Letter (ESA) in Columbus With U.S. Service Animals
At U.S. Service animals, we’ve taken the guesswork out of getting a valid emotional support animal.
- To initiate the process, you’ll schedule your risk free consultation using this link or by calling us at (985) 570-5386.
- Then we’ll set you up with a mental health professional licensed in Ohio.
- We’ll arrange telephone or video calls for you with your paired mental health provider, during which you’ll discuss your situation and circumstances and explain why you believe an emotional support animal is right for you.
If you qualify for an emotional support animal, your mental health professional will write you a letter, which you’ll receive by email.
What Are the Laws About ESAs in Columbus?
Emotional support animals are an important part of the lives of many people with mental health conditions. With the federal protections provided to ESAs, it is essential to ensure that you and your animal can take advantage of these protections, along with making sure you’re aware of Ohio state laws regarding ESAs. Having a legal ESA letter is the best way to do so, as it will prove that your animal meets the requirements for an emotional support animal.
Can I Fly With an ESA in Columbus?
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) saw a significant amendment in 2021, bringing about a major shift in the way emotional support animals are treated. This amendment means that emotional support animals now receive the same treatment as pets when traveling on airplanes.
This means that emotional support animals are subject to pet fees and must adhere to any regulations that the airline you choose has imposed. If you’re unable to fly with your emotional support animal but really need your animal with you on flights, you could consider training them to be a psychiatric service animal, which will permit you to fly with your animal. However, that is another process you would need to go through.
Can I Live With an ESA in Columbus?
The Fair Housing Act is a law that protects people from discrimination based on protected characteristics, including national origin, color, race, religion, and disability. This means that people with disabilities cannot be treated differently from those without the need for an emotional support animal.
Therefore, you can request accommodations from your landlord to allow you to live with your ESA in a property that usually has a ‘no pets’ policy. They usually have to comply with your request (with a few exceptions listed below), and this means that you are exempt from the following:
- Breed restrictions, including landlord restrictions, city restrictions, and state restrictions
- Weight limits
- Size limits
You also won’t have to pay:
- Pet rent
- Pet fees
- Pet security deposits
Can I Bring My ESA to Work With Me in Columbus?
There are no specific laws allowing you to bring your ESA to work with you in Ohio. However, more and more companies recognize emotional support animals as important to their workers. As a result, many workplaces offer reasonable accommodations that go above the ones specified by the law.
Speaking to your HR department and providing them with a copy of your ESA letter means they will be more likely to accept your request for reasonable accommodations and permit you to bring your ESA to work with you. However, it’s important to note that this is not a guarantee, and there is no legal recourse if they refuse to allow your ESA to come with you.
What Exceptions Are There to ESA Laws in Columbus?
Although you and your emotional support animal are protected by law in Columbus, there are some exceptions to how you’re protected. For example, unlike service animals, ESAs are not granted public access, which means:
- They are not guaranteed the right to visit public spaces
- They are not guaranteed the right to be in airplane cabins with you or on any other public transport
- They are not guaranteed the right to be allowed to stay with you in a hotel
Regarding housing, your landlord is allowed to deny your request for an emotional support animal if they are aggressive, destructive, or pose a threat to others. There are also a few exceptions for landlords. Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units are allowed to prohibit emotional support animals, as are single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent. Additionally, any properties owned by religious organizations are exempt. But that still leaves most properties available to you.
You also cannot spring an ESA on your landlord. You have to submit a request and provide a copy of your ESA letter before moving your emotional support animal into the property.
Where Can You Take Your ESA in Columbus?
Emotional support animals are becoming popular in our everyday lives. Columbus, Ohio, now has many places where they and their owners are welcome, such as shopping malls, restaurants, parks, hotels, and other recreational spots; ESAs are gaining more access to public places.
- The Dog Park at Godown Park on the Northwest side of Columbus is a fully fenced park with double gates and separate areas for big and small areas. The park is open all year and has benches, dog wash stations, and water fountains for humans and dogs.
- If you are looking for a restaurant that can cater to dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, or keto, then TownHall is the place to look. Your leashed dog is welcome to join you at an outdoor bar-style or four-top table, and be sure to order a treat for your furry friend off the dog menu.
- Residence Inn Columbus University Area is a hotel that welcomes both cats and dogs. Two pets of any size can join you for an additional fee of $100 per stay. There is a grass area for pet relief, and waste stations are provided. Four-legged guests may be left in rooms unattended as long as you notify the front desk beforehand and keep pets crated during housekeeping service.
- The Scioto Mile is the perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty of the downtown Columbus riverfront. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome to join you on the 145 acres of lush parkland, fountains, scenic overlooks, and a riverfront promenade.
Important Facts About ESAs in Columbus
Columbus, Ohio, is home to many emotional support animals (ESAs). These animals provide emotional support and companionship to their owners. Everyone should know a few important facts about ESAs in Columbus. Knowing these facts can help ensure that ESA owners in Columbus can enjoy the benefits of having an emotional support animal without any legal issues or complications.
- Unlike service animals, ESAs do not need to be certified, registered, or trained to perform specific tasks.
- To qualify as an emotional support animal, the animal must be well-behaved and neither aggressive nor destructive.
- ESAs are allowed to be any animal and are not limited to dogs.
- ESAs must be prescribed by a licensed mental healthcare worker in Ohio.
- ESAs are only granted to those with diagnosed mental or emotional disabilities or disorders.
- Certificates and registrations are not legally binding – only your emotional support animal letter is.
Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter in Columbus Today
Emotional support animals may be appropriate for anyone who is struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. They can also be beneficial for those who have experienced trauma or a traumatic event in their life. By speaking to a licensed mental health professional, you can find out if an ESA is right for you. Schedule your risk-free consultation with USSA today to start the process of making your day-to-day life easier.