14 May, 2018

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware

emotional support animal in delawareSo you’re looking at getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware. Personal limitations are easily misunderstood by others, but animals offer the care and support to get many people with emotional tribulations over the many and varied obstacles they find before them. It is in such circumstances that Emotional Support Animals prove their worth. Let’s look at what’s involved in getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware does not restrict you to dogs. ESAs have been known to be miniature pigs and horses, cats and even birds, although the possibilities by no means end here. ESA’s provide companionship to relieve loneliness and may help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but are not specifically trained to assist individuals with disabilities.

Emotional Support Animal in Delaware: Specific protection

While Delaware does not recognize ESAs as they do service dogs, they have no state laws specific to ESAs; however, federal laws do apply.

Definition of Assistance Animal

An assistance animal may be a service dog or an emotional support animal which assists a disabled person.

Delaware’s Equal Accommodations Law defines a service animal as a guide dog, signal dog, or other animals individually trained to perform work or tasks for someone with a physical disability. An ESA provides emotional support to those with mental or emotional disabilities, without necessarily being trained to do so.

An emotional support animal is not the same as a service dog; they perform very different roles for their individual owners.

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) recognizes any animal that provides emotional support to emotionally or mentally disabled persons. Passengers traveling with an ESA are required to provide specific documentation to have their animal fly with them at no charge, such as an ESA letter.

An emotional support letter is an official document that proves your need for an ESA. It must be less than a year old and on letterhead paper or a prescription pad from a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional. The ESA letter must state the following:

  • That you have a diagnosed mental health condition or mental health-related disability
  • The emotional support animal accompanying you is necessary for your mental health or treatment.
  • The type of animal you are bringing, and how many
  • That the issuer of the letter is a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional, and that you are under their treatment or care for a mental health disability
  • The issuer’s license number, type of license, the license issue date, and the state or jurisdiction where it was licensed.

But be aware that some airlines require additional documentation! Check out our Airlines ESA Policy articles!

Employment Laws

Delaware has no state laws regarding ESAs in the workplace. Corporate policies disallowing animals in the workplace are subject to federal laws. It would be worthwhile to discuss your particular needs with your employer regarding your ESA.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

The  Fair Housing Act in Delaware states that housing facilities must allow such service dog or emotional support animals required to ensure the owner equal opportunity to enjoy the home. To qualify, the person must have a disability and a disability-related need for the animal and the letter to prove it.

ESA Campus Housing

Delaware law regards educational institutions as public accommodations, and these do not have to allow pets. Public accommodations in Delaware must, however, comply with both state and federal law, and are therefore subject to the Fair Housing Act which allows for ESAs!

Exception to Rules

While landlords and airlines will accommodate Emotional Support Animals, they may not accommodate your emotional support animal in these cases:

  • Private Clubs
  • The Fair Housing Act for ESA’s does not cover hotels and motels, which the law requires to accept service animals only

Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware requires you to adhere to the Federal laws and not misrepresent your assistance animal as a service animal but also a normal pet being represented as an ESA or service animal.

By law, it a misdemeanor to represent an untrained dog as a service animal. This carries a maximum penalty of a US $500 fine.

4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your Emotional Support Animal

  1. Costs: Animals are expensive to care for. You will need to be able to pay for its care, health requirements and feeding as well as provide it with a suitable place to stay and a comfortable life.
  2. Socializing: ESA does not require special training but you will have to see to it that the animal can get along in society and in social situations
  3. You need to bond with your ESA and it with you. This is not an optional extra!
  4. Choose an animal that fits you and your lifestyle.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal in the State of Delaware

  • An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is not a Service Animal. ESAs are for people suffering from an emotional or mental disability and can only be prescribed to a patient by a Licensed Mental Health Professional
  • CertaPet is a legitimate service that connects patients with LMHPs licensed to practice in their states.
  • An ‘Emotional Support Animal Certification’ is a misnomer.  Certification Services are not legitimate, and these certificates are worthless
  • An ESA is not required to be registered with any ‘Emotional Support Animal Registration’ service.

Take advantage of Certapet’s free and simple 5-minute process to see if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware.

Where to Find a Suitable Emotional Support Animal!

Remember that while a person may be awarded an ESA, an animal is not specifically assigned. It may happen that the licensed mental health professional feels the patient’s existing pet qualifies as the ESA, which is ideal.

If not, how does one go about getting an Emotional Support Animal in Delaware?

Dogs may be the most obvious choice since they are predisposed to be helpful and supportive of their human. But the dog must possess certain traits: calmness, obedience and an outgoing predisposition. Your local Humane Society or a Kennel Union for those dogs regarded to be the best breeds for support dog purposes would be a place to start. Great dog breed for ESAs are:

Larger breeds:

  • Labradors
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherd
  • Mixed breeds

Small breeds:

  • Poodles
  • Beagles
  • Pug
  • Corgi
  • Pomeranian

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal:

It is safe to say that any establishment or public place which allows for pets, will allow your ESA. In Delaware the Equal Accommodations Law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allow only service animals assisting the physically disabled into public accommodations. Emotional support animals are not specifically provided for by these laws.

Let’s have a look where in Delaware you may be accompanied by your ESA:

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

  • Carousel Farms
  • Lums Pond Dog Park
  • Levels Road Dog Park

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

  • Crabby Dicks
  • Iron Hill Brewery
  • Kelly’s Logan House

Resorts, fitness, and spas

  • Delaware River Family Campground
  • Tri-Valley Hiking Trail
  • James F.Hall Trail
  • Cape Henlopen
  • Delaware Seashore
  • Fenwick Island

Events

The Delaware Humane Association is never short on events throughout the year. Keep an eye on them for things to do with your Emotional Support Animal. In May, they offer:

  • Cat Yoga
  • Puppy Prom Night

Emotional Support Animal in Delaware: How to Get Connected with a LMHP in Your State Today!

The most important step to getting an emotional support animal in Delaware is to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional. CertaPet streamlines this process by helping you to connect with LMHPs in your state. An emotional support animal is within reach! Just contact us for more information on the process and how to get your letter soon than you think!