Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Boston

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 16, 2021

emotional support animal in bostonAre you considering about getting an emotional support animal in Boston? Not sure where to start?

Today, millions of people suffer from various forms of mental and emotional disabilities that affect their day to day lives. Emotional support animals are comfort animals that act as a safety net for when we feel those anxiety episodes coming on or when we feel depressive.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from what exactly is an ESA, what laws protect you, and what you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Boston.

Emotional Support Animal in Boston: Specific protection

An emotional support animal in Boston, Massachusetts will be protected under two important federal laws. These are the Air Carrier Access Act and the federal Fair Housing Act.

Both laws, protect emotional support animals and as well as service animals, from any form of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Despite both service dogs and emotional support animals falling under the “assistance animal” category. It is important to note the differences between both types of assistance animal.

Definition of Assistance Animal

So, now you’re probably wondering, “what is an assistance animal?”

Well, an assistance animal is generally companion animals that aid persons with disabilities. Generally, there are three types of assistance animals—service animals (most often service dog), an emotional support dog, and then there are psychiatric service animals.

Service animals are generally service dogs, who are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of service dogs include; seizure-alert dogs and a guide dog. It is important to remember that a service animal is protected under the Americans Disability Act, and is thus allowed in all public accommodation.

An emotional support animal in Boston is defined as a companion animal that does not require any specialized training. Emotional support animals are comfort animals whose main job is to aid people with disabilities like, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

The cool thing about ESAs is that they don’t have to just be dogs! An emotional support animal in Boston can be anything from a cockatoo to a pretty Persian emotional support cat, to even a miniature horse!

kid touching the head of an ESA miniature horse in Boston

Lastly, are your psychiatric service animals. These types of assistance animals often do need to have the training to assist their handlers who may have a psychiatric disability. Generally, a psychiatric disability is a severe form of mental illness that can be anything from severe post-traumatic stress disorder to social anxiety phobia, to schizophrenia. Depending on the level of severity, psychiatric service animals may be trained to interrupt or block their handler from having a negative psychiatric episode.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal in the Boston: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

Emotional support dog biting the nose of owner in Boston

At CertaPet we recognize how an emotional support animal can better your emotional well-being! So, if you’re finally ready to take the first step to get an emotional support animal in Boston, then you’ve come to the right place!

Start by taking CertaPets easy, 5-minute pre-screening. At the end of the questionnaire, if you qualify for an ESA, you will be connected to one of our licensed mental health professionals!

All it takes is 5 minutes of your time—a few more minutes with our mental health professionals, and in 48 hours you too could have your ESA letter!

 Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

An emotional support animal in Boston will be protected by the Air Carrier Access Act. The ACAA is a federal law which states, that people with disabilities will be allowed to board an aircraft with their assistance animal. Should individuals with disabilities be discriminated from boarding a flight with their assistance animal, then this is considered a violation of the federal law.

The ACAA further states that an emotional support animal is allowed to travel in the aircraft’s cabin at no extra-charge, so as long as the emotional support animal meets the guidelines and follows the rules instated by the airline. Some of these rules instated by airlines include:

  • Provide a valid emotional support animal letter that has been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional
  • An emotional support animal needs to be well-behaved and pose to be a hazard to flight attendants or passengers
  • Passengers with an ESA are often required to give a 24-hour to 48-hour notice prior to departure.

Employment Laws

Under the Massachusettes state law and the Americans Disability Act (ADA), only service animals are allowed to accompany their handlers in public accommodation. An emotional support animal in Boston may be refused or rejected by a workplace employer. However, there is a case-by-case basis where an employer may make an exception to this. For example, if you have an emotional support animal who during a panic attack—provides calming pressure. Then you may be potentially covered under the ADA.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

The federal Fair Housing Act, states that owners of an emotional support animal in Boston have the right to ask for reasonable accommodation, in homes that may otherwise have a ‘no pets policy’.  A landlord must give equal opportunity to persons with disabilities.

ESA Campus Housing

The federal Fair Housing Act extends to campus housing as well. Today, many mental health professionals recognize that students, in particular, are at high risk of suffering from mental illness.  As such, an emotional support dog is permitted in campus housing to better the emotional well-being of students.

Exception to Rules

A landlord or Housing Association can choose to reject an emotional support animal if:

  • The animal is either causing physical damage to the property
  • There are overdue, or financial restraints
  • The emotional support animal displays aggressive behavior

Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal

It’s never a good idea to mess with the law! If you misrepresent an emotional support animal in Boston, Massachusettes, then you will face:

  • A fine of $500
  • You will be required to do 30 hours of community service in a non-profit organization or an organization that serves persons with disabilities
  • Or both!!

3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. While emotional support animals are mostly companion animals. They are still not considered a “pet” because they’ve got a job to do
  2.  Now, an emotional support animal won’t require intense training— like a service dog—to get their job done. However, in order to meet the requirements of the ACAA and FHA. An emotional support animal needs to learn “good manners” and behave well in public.
  3. When choosing an emotional support animal, it is important that you choose an animal that will best fit your lifestyle. For example, if you travel a lot, then choose a small dog, as this will make traveling with them on an airplane much easier.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

As we already mentioned, any companion animal can become an emotional support animal. The question you need to ask is, what are you looking for in an ESA?

If you’re not sure where to start, try visiting local pet shelters, rescues, and the SPCA in Boston. Chances are you’ll come across a sweet pup or a loving kitty that’s purrfect for the job.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

Being an emotional support animal in Boston can be hard work! So, why not thank you ESA by taking them out for something fun.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Let your ESA make some new doggie friends! Check out these pawesome dog parks!

  • Peter’s Park
  • Carleton Court Dog Park
  • Belle Isle Marsh
  • Stodder’s Neck

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

Does your ESA want to join you for lunch? or maybe dinner? Check out these puplicious dog-friendly restaurants

  • Blunch
  • The Living Room
  • Moonshine 152
  • Salcatore’s

Resorts, fitness, and spas

Even ESAs need a good hotel to relax! Check out these pet-friendly hotels:

  • Nine Zero Hotel
  • Onyx Hotel
  • Boston Bark Plaza
  • Seaport Boston Hotel

ESAs in Boston: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your City Today!

Today, there are many Americans with disabilities who require assistance animals to help them with their day-to-day lives. An emotional support animal is one such assistance animal that has proven to be quite an effective ‘medication’ for those suffering from emotional or mental illness.

If you believe you have any form of mental illness and that an ESA could help you immensely then contact CertaPet to get connected with an LMHP to get the help you need…today!

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