18 June, 2018

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Colorado Springs

emotional support animal in colorado springs downtown viewDid 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. To make things better: there are two federal laws that protect emotional support animals.

In this article, we go over what an official emotional support animal (ESA) is, how you can get one, and what your privileges have as an ESA owner. To find out more about this, 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, ESAs can live in a rented unit and board an airplane. There are two iron-clad laws protecting them: the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

Using emotional support animals in animal-assisted therapy has a lot of benefits. ESAs visit children’s hospitals, nursing homes and anywhere else people can find comfort in connecting with animals! This human-animal bond increases a patient’s health and well-being substantially.

The FHA and the ACAA 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. The FHA and the ACAA protect ESAs.

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 are professionally trained in order to perform tasks for their owners. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects service dogs. 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. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks. An ESA does not need specific training but it is always good to have a well-behaved dog who has had basic obedience training.

They are also protected by different laws. Know the difference between a service dog and an ESA!

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.

They will write it up, and you’ll have it in no time. In some cases, people get their emotional support animal letter in only 48 hours!

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.

Employment Laws

Unfortunately, an emotional support animal can’t go with their owner to the workplace. The ADA does not extend to ESAs and management has the right to allow, or not allow and ESA in the workplace, 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 ESA’s presence positively impactes your mental health.

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, without charging you extra for a “pet fee”.

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.

emotional support dog in colorado springs

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 have 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:

  • If you don’t show a valid ESA letter, 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. There is a fine of $25 for first-time offenders. 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:

  1. An emotional support dog is an assistance dog, but it is not a therapy dog or the same as psychiatric service dogs or pets.
  2. 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!
  3. All emotional support animals are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals.
  4. ESAs don’t have to be trained by professional dog trainers.

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, you can start looking for a shelter run by a non-profit organization and find a dog 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!

emotional support cat in colorado springs apartment

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 cat 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

Events

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!