Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Columbus

By: CertaPet Staff Updated: April 6, 2021

emotional support animal in ColumbusGetting an emotional support animal in Columbus is becoming a lot more of a common practice. As it’s now been recognized that ESAs provide exceptional therapeutic comfort to those suffering from mental illness, ESA can be crucial to a person’s health. When getting an emotional support animal in Columbus, you will need to understand a few important requirements.

Emotional Support Animal in Columbus: Specific Protection

There are a number of federal laws protecting people with disabilities. These laws also provide coverage for a disabled person’s service dog, and—to some extent, their emotional support animal. Emotional support animals are different than service animals and are afforded different protections. Generally, an emotional support animal in Columbus will be protected under the Air Carrier Access Act and the federal Fair Housing Act.

Definition of Assistance Animal

An assistance animal is an animal that provides mental or physical benefits to their owner. These animals do not have to be trained to perform a specific behavior, as service animals would. Assistance animals provide relieving benefits to a disability through their presence alone.

Emotional support animal or service dog in Columbus with ownerBoth emotional support animals and service dogs are considered assistance animals, and this can sometimes cause confusion. The following are examples of different types of emotional support animals and service animals.

Emotional Support Animal

  • A person with clinical depression with a cat that motivates them to get out of bed in the morning and begin the day (have you ever tried to ignore a hungry cat?!).
  • A person with panic disorder, with a small companion animal that alleviates the frequency of panic attacks during air travel.
  • A person with a post-traumatic stress disorder that has less frequent nightmares when their dog sleeps in the bed with them.

Service Animal

  • Miniature horses trained to assist those who are visually impaired.
  • Psychiatric service dogs that alert their owners at the onset of a panic attack.
  • Dogs trained to retrieve dropped items for mobility-restricted owners.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal in Columbus: CertaPet’s Simple 5 min Process

Getting an emotional support animal in Columbus can be an intimidating process. Taking time out of your schedule to visit a therapist or psychiatrist can be expensive and impractical.

ESA cat in Columbus on owner's lap

CertaPet provides a fast and simple alternative to visiting a mental health professional in person, by bringing the professional to you! Through CertaPet, you can chat with an LMHP online and get your ESA letter in as little as 48 hours.

Take the 5 minute, free pre-screening today to see if you qualify.

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

All emotional support animals—including an emotional support animal in Columbus will be protected under the ACAA.

The service dog or emotional support animal in Columbus, and any other U.S. city. Airlines are allowed to require an ESA letter when traveling, this letter must state the following:

  • You have a diagnosed, DSM recognized disability.
  • You must have an emotional support animal for travel or at your destination.
  • You are under the care of a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP).
  • The date, type, and state of issuance of your LMHP’s license.
  • The ESA letter was issued less than one year prior to the flight.

Employment Laws

Employers must attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for any person with a disability.

This means that, while your employer is not required to allow your emotional support animal in Columbus, they are required to attempt to accommodate them.

For example, if another employee has an allergy to cat, your employer may move your office away from that employee in an attempt to accommodate your need for that emotional support animal. These accommodations may be sufficient for some workplaces, but not for others, and each should be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

Landlords are also required to make reasonable accommodation for a tenant with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). They are required to allow entry to any emotional support animal in Columbus (and anywhere in the U.S.) and are not allowed to require additional rent or security deposit.

Emotional support dog on a bed with owner in an apartment in Columbus

Landlords are allowed to require an ESA letter, which must state the following:

  • You have a diagnosed, DSM recognized disability.
  • You must have the emotional support animal in your home.
  • You are under the care of a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP).
  • The date, type, and state of issuance of your LMHP’s license.

ESA Campus Housing

College residence halls are considered public housing accommodations under the FHA, but only if they receive federal funding. If they are public institutions that receive federal funding, university housing is required to provide reasonable accommodation like any other public housing.

Colleges are allowed to require an ESA letter, but not allowed to require the dog to be trained in any specific behavior.

Exception to Rules

Colleges and Universities that do not receive federal funding are not considered public accommodation and thus, not covered under the FHA. These institutions reserve the right to refuse admittance of emotional support animals in Columbus and across the U.S., as they would with pets.

They may not, however, refuse a trained service animal. Some public spaces make exceptions for therapy animals, which are used to provide therapeutic benefits to people other than their owner. Animal-Assisted therapy is becoming more popular across the country and makes a fantastic alternative to some traditional therapy types.

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

Misrepresenting an emotional support animal in Columbus is immoral, but not illegal – yet. Many states are cracking down on “fake” service dogs and emotional support animals. Always ensure that if you have an emotional support animal in Columbus, you also have an up-to-date and legal ESA letter to protect yourself and your assistance animal.

4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Before receiving your emotional support animal in Columbus, you should have a thorough understanding of your rights. These four facts will keep you in the loop! Avoid confusion, and embarrassment, by knowing your rights and any potential requirements.

  1. Emotional support dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are trained to perform a specific behavior, and are allowed to accompany their owner in any public space – emotional support animals are not. Emotional support animals are protected only in housing and during air travel.
  2. Under the Fair Housing Act, universities with federal funding are required to provide reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities. For example, a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently made local headlines with her emotional support cat. Her example provides students with a potential alternative to habit-forming medication in the battle against mental health disabilities.
  3. Landlords are not allowed to make breed restrictions for emotional support animals, even when cities have legislation against specific breeds. Some landlord’s insurance requires higher rates for allowing “dangerous” breeds, but because your emotional support animal is not considered a companion animal, but a medical necessity, they are exempt from these rules.
  4. Your current pet may qualify as an emotional support animal. If your pet improves your health and well-being through their presence, and you have a diagnosed disability, they may be considered an emotional support animal by a mental health professional. Take a look at CertaPet’s 5-minute pre-screening to determine if you qualify.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Finding an emotional support animal can be a struggle! Though ESAs don’t have to be formally trained, having a well-behaved animal can reduce your overall stress levels. When looking for an emotional support animal, choose one that is calm, well-mannered, and friendly. You can choose an animal from a breeder, or rescue a homeless pet from a shelter.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

Because your emotional support dog doesn’t have the same protections as a service dog, you will not be able to bring them in all public areas. The following pet-friendly locations are wonderful places to take your emotional support animal in Columbus.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Some dog-friendly parks in Columbus, include:

  •  Wheeler Memorial Dog Park
  • Big Walnut Dog Park
  • Scioto Audubon Dog Park, and
  • Goodale Park.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Some dog-friendly restaurants in Columbus, include:

  •  Brown Bag Deli
  • Alana’s Food and Wine
  • World of Beer High Street, and
  • Hamptons on King.

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

Some dog-friendly resorts and fitness in Columbus, according to BringFido, include:

  • Westin Columbus
  • Weston House, Hilton Columbus
  • Canal Winchester Trail, and
  • Gallant Woods Preserve.


While there aren’t any dog-friendly events upcoming in Columbus, the 2018 Dublin Pet Fair is held on September 30th in Dublin Ohio. The pet fair is free admission, and there will be pet contests, shopping, and entertainment.

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

To get your emotional support animal in Columbus, the first step is to visit CertaPet and begin their 5-minute screening process. The screening is fast, simple, and free, and you will be connected with a Licensed Mental Health Professional that can issue you an ESA letter.

The simplest and most convenient way to acquire an ESA letter is, by far, CertaPet. Get in touch with an LMHP today, and get your emotional support animal.

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