Did you know that getting an emotional support animal in Colorado Springs has a lot of advantages? They help people with mental health problems (such as post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) cope with their disability. Not only that, but an emotional support dog is also covered by two federal laws.
In this article, we go over what is an official emotional support animal, how you can get one, and what your privileges are as an ESA owner. To find all about this and more, keep reading!
Emotional Support Animal in Colorado Springs: Specific Protection
An emotional support animal in Colorado has a lot of rights. Rights that not even a pet has! In the city and in the state of Colorado, they can live in a rented unit and board an airplane. They’re protected by two iron-clad laws: the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
Using emotional support animals as an animal-assisted therapy has a lot of benefits. ESAs have even been taken to children’s hospitals! This human-animal bond increases a patient’s health and well-being by a lot.
These laws give people with disabilities and people without them the same rights in housing and air travel. They’re two very important hallmarks in American law!
Definition of Assistance Animal
An assistance animal is one that helps their owner in their day-to-day life. Emotional support animals give love and keep their owner’s company, helping them de-stress.
Think of it as hugging stuffed animals, only an ESA can interact with you and give you much more comfortable. They don’t need to go to a dog training school, for example, Karm Dog Training. ESAs are protected by the FHA and the ACAA.
A service animal is also considered an assistance animal. They’re prescribed to people with disabilities (for example to someone who is blind or unable to move around easily). They need to be professionally trained in order to perform tasks for their owners. Service dogs are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means that they can go into public places without notice, among many other things.
Despite being lumped together in the same category, a service dog and an emotional support dog are not the same. They are given to people with different disabilities.
They are also protected by different laws. Remember not to get them mixed up!
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
Thanks to this federal law, an emotional support animal in Colorado Springs can now fly with their owner. This will be done free of charge and they can travel in the cabin with their owner. To be covered by this law, make sure to follow these steps:
- Give the airline you’re flying with a notice of at least 48 hours that you’ll bring an ESA with you.
- Show the airline your emotional support letter.
- Check if they ask for any additional documents. If so, get those and show them as well.
You should also make sure your ESA won’t be aggressive or a nuisance to other passengers or flight crew. As long as you do everything on this list, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Unfortunately, an emotional support animal can’t go with their owner to the workplace. Since they’re not covered by the ADA, management would have to allow it on a case-by-case basis. However, you could try and talk to your employer to see if they can open an exception just for you. Remember to bring your ESA letter and explain that your mental health is positively impacted by your ESA’s presence.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
You can live with an emotional support animal in Colorado Springs, even in a rented unit. A landlord must provide reasonable accommodation to you and your companion animal. This will be done without an extra pet fee being charged to you.
To be protected by the Fair Housing Act, all you have to do is show your housing provider your ESA letter. You should also make sure your ESA won’t be aggressive or a nuisance to neighbors. If you do this, you won’t be discriminated against for being a disabled person.
ESA Campus Housing
If you’re a student getting an emotional support animal in Colorado Springs, you’re in luck. If you live in on-campus housing, you can live with your companion animal. You’ll be afforded the same rights as any other tenant. Because of this, you need to show your housing providers your ESA letter. Don’t forget to train your animal not to be aggressive towards other students!
Exception to Rules
The Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act won’t apply to you if you don’t follow their requests. These are some of the instances in which you can lose your privileges as an ESA owner:
- Not showing a valid ESA letter will mean you’re not allowed to board or to rent a house.
- Neglecting your ESA is enough for the state to take them away.
- If your ESA causes any damage, you’ll have to pay.
- Your ESA can’t just walk into any business or public establishment. They have to have a pet-friendly policy.
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
Misrepresenting an assistance animal has consequences in Colorado. If the person is caught doing this the first time, they’ll get a fine of $25. A second offense is punishable with a fine of between $50 and $200. Lastly, if the person does the same crime a third time, the fine can be of between $100 and $500.
4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
You need to know a few things before getting your emotional support animal in Colorado Springs:
- An emotional support dog is an assistance dog, but it is not a therapy dog or the same as psychiatric service dogs or pets.
- You don’t need to get a dog as an ESA. You can choose to have a cat, a miniature house or even bucking horses!
- All emotional support animals are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals.
- ESAs don’t have to be trained by professional dog trainers.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Colorado Springs: CertaPet’s simple 5-minute process
CertaPet takes care of the most boring and confusing part of the process. All you need to do is fill out some questionnaires and wait to get your emotional support animal letter.
The first step is to know if you qualify as an ESA owner. To know that, all you have to do is complete our pre-screening test. If you pass it, we’ll put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional in your area. They will be the ones responsible for issuing your emotional support letter.
Once that’s written up, you’ll get it shortly. In some cases, people get their emotional support animal letter in only 48 hours!
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
Choosing an emotional support animal is the fun part. Because the letter is issued to you and not the animal, you have a lot more freedom. There are no “ESA ready” animals, so you can choose virtually any animal to be your companion. As long as they’re on the list of ESA-allowed breeds and species, there won’t be a problem.
If you have a pet, they could potentially become your new ESA. If you don’t there is bound to be a shelter run by a non-profit organization looking for new owners in your area. It would be the best of both worlds: you’d have a new best friend and they’d get a new, loving home!
Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal
There are a lot of places where you can take your ESA in Colorado Springs. It’s natural to want to get out there and enjoy the city with your new pal. Because of this, we’ve come up with a list of pet-friendly establishments you can plan to visit.
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Let your ESA run to their heart’s content in one of these dog parks and dog runs:
- Bear Creek Dog Park
- Seven Falls
- Garden of the Gods
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
Go out for a bite to eat or for a drink with your ESA here:
- Pizzeria Rustica
- Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
- Bon Ton’s Cafe
Resorts, Fitness, and Spas
Are you arriving with your emotional support animal in Colorado Springs? If so, you should check into one of these pet-friendly hotels:
- Cheyenne Mountain State Park
- Mountain Retreat
- Mountaindale Cabins & RV Resort
- Radisson Hotel Colorado Springs Airport
Colorado Springs has a lot of dog-friendly events year-round you can visit with your ESA. It will be the perfect opportunity for your animal to socialize and for you to meet new people. A quick Google or Facebook search will reveal lots of events you can check out in your area.
ESAs in Colorado Springs: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your City Today!
To get connected with a licensed mental health professional, you need to take our pre-screening test. If you qualify, we’ll put you in touch with a mental health professional. After you talk to them, they’ll write you your emotional support letter. After that, you can live with your companion happy and worry-free!