Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Detroit

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 6, 2021

emotional support animal in detroitAnimal companionship is fast becoming the source of treatment for a vast majority of mental health illnesses across America. People with disabilities suffering from the likes of depression, fear and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the many benefiting from animal-assisted therapy. Michigan, like the rest of America, is no different in recognizing the value of pet relief treatment. So here we will cover all you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Detroit!

Emotional Support Animal in Detroit: Specific protection

Not sure what exactly an Emotional Support Animal is? Don’t worry! We will look more specifically at the definitions, the federal laws and the state-specific laws for owning an ESA in Detroit.

Definition of Assistance Animal

The FHA defines an assistance animal as one which provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.

Assistance animal with an old man in a wheelchair in Detroit

The assistance animal definition overarches the following three animal categories.

  • In Michigan, a service animal can be of a dog or a miniature horse. However, the animal must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities, including a physical, sensory or other mental disability. An example of a service dog may be one which helps the visually impaired, a seeing-eye dog (guide dog). Psychiatric service animals are also protected by the ADA.
  • A therapy animal is typically found in a clinical setting, usually, therapy dogs providing people with therapeutic contact to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.  But therapy animals are not restricted to people with disabilities, and consequently, are not protected under the federal law (the ADA). As such, Therapy animals are not considered assistance animals.
  • On the other hand, an ESA can be any animal that works or performs tasks or services for an individual with an emotional disability, providing comfort and relief from the emotional effects.

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

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Detroit is actually easy!  CertaPet has made the process simple and accessible to anyone. Start by finding out if you’re eligible for an ESA with our free online screening process.

  1. Complete a free online 5-minute screening process.
  2. Become connected with a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP) online.
  3. If approved, you will receive an ESA letter from CertaPet in less than 48 hours!

Yes, its that simple!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

Did you know you can take your support animal in-flight with you? Regardless of the air carrier, air-travel is no restriction with an emotional support pet!

Protection from the ACAA means no further questions, and no further payments are required by law! This is a federal law, so it doesn’t matter where is the US you decide to take your support animal either. To ensure protection while traveling there are a few regulations you are expected to follow.

It is standard for the customs desk to ask for a verification letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP). The letter prescribes the animal to you and explains how it provides support for your associated disability.

Don’t worry, this is where CertaPet can help! Below are a few more important points to remember for air-travel with an ESA.

  • Although a rare occurrence, an airline can deny your ESA travel if it shows signs of aggression towards other passengers.
  • The diagnoses must follow the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Employment Laws

There are few places service dogs can not venture. The ADA is a federal law protecting service dogs from denial of entry into places such as restaurants, shopping malls, and the workplace.

Unlike service dogs, support animals are not protected under the ADA! Unfortunately, this means employers do not legally have to allow your ESA at work.

ESA dogs wearing neckties sitting on white chairs at work in Detroit

However, there are work places that enjoy animals, so there’s no harm in asking your employer!

 Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

Worried about getting an ESA will restrict you from where you can live?

Whether you’re in an apartment, renting a house or flatting, the FHA ensures fair housing for Americans with disabilities requiring a support animal. Landlords must provide reasonable accommodation for you and your ESA, this includes ‘no-pet’ housing too!

Protection from the FHA also means no traditional ‘pet fee’ can be charged for an ESA, ensuring equal opportunity for you when house hunting!

However, the landlord may ask for an ESA letter from an LMHP (as mentioned above) before allowing your ESA on the property. Finding reasonable accommodation can be tricky if you are not prepared.

To get an idea of what preparation might follow, check out the points below.

  • You must be prepared to pay for any damage your support animal causes to the property. If your support animal causes substantial damage this may enable the landlord to deny you of reasonable accommodation.
  • In the Detroit, there are regulations surrounding accommodation of miniature horses. These may include the height, the safety and whether the horse is housebroken.
  • The Michigan homeowners associations evaluate requests for ESAs or service animals on a case-by-case basis.

ESA Campus Housing

Moving away from home to study can be daunting, especially without the comfort of an ESA. Thankfully, the FHA covers all public accommodations in all state universities! Little less daunting studying with your support animal right?

Regardless of where you decide to study in America, you can take your best mate with you to the on-campus housing. All state universities understand the importance of support animals and must provide you with reasonable accommodation.

So don’t worry, getting an Emotional Support Animal in Detroit won’t halt you from an education!

Exception to Rules

Exceptions to rules are just as important as the rules themselves! Don’t be caught out, have a quick look at the ones noted below.

  • Remember ESAs are not service animals! The laws differ quite drastically so it is important to know the difference.
  • If your ESA is dangerous or causes damage to property, this can threaten your protection under the federal laws.
  • Remember an ESA does not entitle you to work place pets! Ask your employer before bringing your support animal to work.

Punishment for misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

Michigan has only very recently cracked down on those individuals falsely representing service animals, service animals in training or emotional support animals.

Michigan state law now very clearly states those who are guilty of this misdemeanor will not go without punishment.

Punishment includes imprisonment for 90 days, a fine of up to $500 or 30 days of community service. This law was recently implemented in an attempt to reduce the number of people falsely representing assistance animals in housing and travel in Detroit.

4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. ‘Registration’ or a ‘certificate’ for an ESA doesn’t exist! Many independent companies will try to charge you for one of these but don’t be fooled, it’s not real!
  2. You may notice service animals wearing official identification cards. These are voluntarily handed out by the state but do not apply to support animals as they are not trained in service.
  3. Support animals can be almost any animal, from a bird to a miniature horse! You are not restricted to a dog or a cat.
  4. A person with a disability as defined in the ADA includes veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Ideally, a support animal would come from a local animal shelter. Here, you get your pickings and even better, you’re giving the animal a second chance at life!

Because they don’t need any specialized training, ESAs can be almost any animal! Or if you already have a comfort animal you’d like to dedicate as your ESAs, just ask an LMHP for an evaluation. Regardless of where you get your ESA from, be sure to get a vet check done. This will help prepare you for any health expenses which may arise in the near future!

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

ESA dogs playing in a dog park in Detroit

There is no shortage of places in Detroit to take your emotional support dog!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Looking for a grassy area? check out:

  • Dequindre Cut Greenway
  • Detroit Dog Park

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

Going out for dinner? don’t leave your dog behind! Go to:

  • WoodBridge Pub
  • Jolly Pumpkin

Resorts, fitness, and spas

Passing through Detroit? Try:

  • MotorCity Casino Hotel
  • Air BnB Rentals


Bark in the Park! For all you Tigers fans out there, take your support dog to enjoy a game at Comerica Park, Aug 13th.

An Emotional Support Animal in Detroit: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your City Today

Having now read through everything you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Detroit, let’s get in touch! Start with the screening process we offer and very soon we could have you connected with an LMHP and on your road to recovery.

Any Questions about getting an emotional support animal in Detroit? Make sure you know the laws of your state! Check out Getting an emotional support animal in Michigan.

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