Where Are ESAs Not Allowed?
An emotional support animal is an animal (normally a cat or dog but can include other species like hamsters, horses and guinea pigs) that offer its owner therapeutic benefits through companionship and unconditional love. The animal provides comfort and emotional support to individuals experiencing mental impairments and psychiatric disabilities. It is also important to note these animals are not specially trained to carry out any tasks for a person who is emotionally disabled.
Unlike a service animal, an emotional support animal is not granted permission to be in public places, like shopping centers, hotels and hospitals. However, under the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals are entitled to a form of “reasonable accommodation” when it comes to a housing unit that is not pet-friendly for its residents.
Where Are Emotional Animals Not Allowed?
Emotional support animals should be excluded from all areas of a building that are accessible to the public. These include restaurants, supermarkets, schools, universities, grocery stores, and beauty salons. However, if a certain public place is pet-friendly, it means it’s open to both emotional support animals and regular pets. Under the Fair Housing Act, the following types of housing are not covered for emotional support animals.
- Buildings with four or less units where one of the units is occupied by the landlord.
- Single family housing units rented or sold in absence of a real estate broker
- Private Clubs
- The FHA does not consider motels and hotels as dwellings. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are considered places of public accommodation.
Emotional Support Animals and Public Places
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, emotional support animals do not have the special training to perform specific tasks that will help an individual with an impairment or disability, unlike service animals. For this reason, pets may not be permitted in public areas, like stores, hotels and offices. However, some states have laws in place regarding emotional support animals and their presence in public places. It is therefore advisable that you first check with your local government for any rules that may apply to your situation.
In some instances, local places, such as hospitals, workplaces and hotels, may allow its visitors or guests who need their emotional support animal to remain by their side, to bring their pet with them to the premises. In order to avoid any last minute inconveniences and hassle, be sure to check the policies and make all the arrangements in advance with the management when reserving a table or booking a room.
If all this seems like too much work, the best way out here is to pick a pet-friendly establishment in the first place to ensure your chances of your ESA being allowed in with you. In the case of hospitals, arrangements may be made on a case to case basis.
The Air Carrier Access Act
The Air Carrier Access Act was approved in 1990 and works to provide the necessary accommodation for anyone with any kind of disability or impairment. This includes wheelchairs, any medical equipment or emotional support animals. Airlines may ask for advance notice for different accommodations depending on their guidelines. However, ESA verified identifications are necessary.
In conclusion, emotional support animals are not governed by the same laws as those that govern service animals. ESAs are not allowed in a majority of public places, but are granted access to apartments only (including those that are not pet friendly) and also on airplanes (with prior notice), it is also important to remember that ESAs need to behave well in public places.