Those thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Alaska are afforded protection under laws passed by the United States government. These emotional support animal laws make it so that apartment complexes, and other properties for rent offer “reasonable accommodation” for ESA owners.
There are also laws permitting the transport of ESA with zero hassle on a flight. If you’re thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Alaska, keep reading this article to find out more about your state-specific laws and protection.
Emotional Support Animal in Alaska: Specific Protection
In Alaska, emotional support animals are not considered service animals. Thus, they are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
However, if you’re getting an emotional support animal in Alaska, then your ESA will be protected by the federal Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
What is an Assistance Animal?
According to Alaska state law, an assistance animal is any pet—cat, dog, or other small animals, that will not require specialized training in order to serve their purpose. In the state of Alaska, your emotional support animal would fall into this category.
In contrast, a service animal is a generally a dog that undergoes specialized training, in order to fulfill certain tasks. For example, guide dogs for the blind are considered service animals.
Thus, an ESA is neither a pet nor a service dog. And is rather considered an assistance animal.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Alaska: CertaPet’s simple 5-minute process
Are you ready to get an Emotional support animal? Certapet offers a quick, 5-minute pre-screening process that will help direct you to a licensed mental health professional.
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
Traveling via Alaska Airlines? Check out Alaska Airlines ESA policy for more information!
Emotional support animals are protected under the Air Carrier Access Act. This travel law states that:
- A passenger has the right to travel with their ESA in-cabin if they are diagnosed with an emotional and/or mental disability
- The passenger will require an emotional support animal letter from a licensed mental health professional
- The passenger is required to submit necessary documents and notify their airline travel at least 48 hours prior to your departure.
To protect the rights of people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t cover ESAs. This would mean that, in the state of Alaska, your ESA can be denied at your workplace.
Nevertheless, some employers recognize the importance of the human-animal bond! So, ESA owners can choose to ask their employer for permission.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
According to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a landlord is required to provide appropriate accommodation to those with an ESA, so as long as all the necessary documents are provided.
A landlord can only reject an ESA when:
- The proper documents have not been provided
- The ESA is a threat to neighbors and the landlord
- The ESA is mistreated, neglected, or abused.
ESA Campus Housing
If you’re living in a university-provided accommodation (such as an on-campus dorm), you might be wondering if the FHA also applies to you — it totally does!
Universities and their dorms are included in the Fair Housing Act, so they’re legally obligated to comply with the same rules as other landlords have to.
Just make sure you provide all the necessary documents!
Exceptions to the Rules
These rules might not apply to you if you don’t comply with your responsibilities as established by the laws. Exceptions to the rules include:
- The intervention of the local law enforcement should the animal be in danger, neglected, or abused.
- Termination of reasonable accommodation should the ESA damage property or endanger the public
- Failure of ESA owner to provide legal documentation.
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
As more people try to pass off their pets as ESAs, states have been responding by making this a crime, sometimes even fining the pet owners. Alaska hasn’t done this as of yet, but if you fail to show airline personnel or landlords documents that prove you own an ESA, you won’t be protected by the law.
4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
- The ESA letter is awarded to the owner, not the animal.
- Stay away from websites that promise “ESA certification registration.” These have no legal bounding and don’t grant you protection by the ACAA and FHA laws. CertaPet works to legitimize ESAs so read our article Learn the Truth about Emotional Support Animal Registration on how to look out for these bogus sites.
- You can’t take your ESA to non-dog/pet-friendly public places (such as workplaces, restaurants, libraries…)
- ESAs don’t need to go through the same training as service animals do. They do need to behave in public, though.
Where to Find a Suitable ESA
The ESA letter is awarded to the patient, so you can’t buy an “ESA certified” animal. Your mental health professional will assess whether your current pet if you have one, is suited to be an ESA.
If you don’t have a pet, you can always look around in shelters and adoption centers for an animal that will connect with you. With the help of professionals, finding the right companion shouldn’t be too hard.
After you’ve picked out an animal, the ESA letter will include a description of them, as well as information about you.
Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in Alaska
Your comfort animal will have an amazing time with you!
Dog parks and dog runs
Don’t let your ESA get lazy! Make sure you check out these national parks
- Denali National Park
- Fairbanks Dog Park
- Russian Jack Dog Park
Dog-friendly restaurants and bars
Dogs just love to eat with us! Check out these dog-friendly hotels and bars in Alaska:
- Tommy’s Burger Shop
- Ak Alchemist
- Dark Horse Coffee Co
Resorts, fitness, and spas
Check out some pet-friendly hotels in Alaska:
- Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa
- Comfort Inn Ship Creek
- Long House Alaskan Hotel
How to Get Connected with a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP) in Alaska Today!
If you’re looking for an LMHP to start your emotional support animal adventure today, we have good news for you. Once you complete our five-minute pre-screening and are approved, you’ll be put in touch with an LMHP that will handle the process with our company so you don’t have to worry about anything. If approved, you’ll have an ESA in your lap in no time!
Emotional support dogs and other animals help mentally and emotionally disabled people with their day-to-day lives and coping with their disability. There are so many benefits to owning an ESA, including being protected by US federal law when it comes to flying and living with your pet.