14 May, 2018

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Kansas

emotional support animal in kansasAre you thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Kansas? Read on to learn more about the process, the documentation you will need, and where you’ll be able to take it once you get one!

Emotional Support Animal in Kansas: Specific Protection

Like most other states, getting an emotional support animal in Kansas is fairly straightforward. There are three important pieces of legislation that will protect you on getting an emotional support animal in Kansas. These are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carriers Access Act.

Emotional support dog inside a bag on a chair on a public place in Kansas

These three acts protect the rights of people with a disability in public places, on airplanes, and in their place of employment. As part of this protection, The Acts support the rights of individuals with a disability to bring service animals into places where pets are not ordinarily allowed.

Definition of Assistance Animal

The first step of getting an emotional support animal in Kansas is to get to know the terminology. There are different kinds of assistance animal, and the legislation treats them differently.

A service animal is trained to perform a specific task for a person with physical disabilities. Examples of service animals are a guide dog helping someone with is a visual impairment or one that can predict fits or help with mobility-related tasks for wheelchair users. The majority of service animals are dogs.

Emotional support animals, also known as psychiatric service animals or companion animals, are not specially trained. They offer support to people who have an emotional mental, or psychiatric disability such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks or depression. Any kind of animal can be an ESA, including cats, dogs, birds, and even miniature horses.

All of the legislation relating the above-mentioned Acts above relates to service dogs, and some of it applies to ESAs in addition.

Therapy animals are different and are not covered by this legislation. A therapy dog might go and visit people in a hospital or old-folks homes and is used for animal-assisted therapy.

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

Traveling with an assistance animal is covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). This includes both service animals and emotional support animals. The Act protects people with disabilities from discrimination by commercial airlines.

The ACAA allows owners to bring their ESAs in the cabin of a commercial aircraft even if the airline does not usually allow pets. The service dog or ESA travels free of charge.

Take note, however: many commercial airlines have tightened their rules regarding emotional support animals. Most carriers now require passengers to supply an ESA letter, and some require the passenger to submit documentation 48 hours in advance. Some airlines also request additional medical information from a veterinarian. For more information on ESA letters, see below.

Employment Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act stops employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. This includes allowing service dogs into the workplace and making reasonable accommodation to support them.

Although the legislation does not say explicitly that this ruling covers ESAs too, with an ESA letter most employers will accept an emotional support animal in the workplace on a case-by-case basis.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

The Fair Housing Act legislates on housing laws and guarantees people with disabilities access to fair housing. The Act prevents landlords from discriminating against tenants with disabilities.

This includes people with both emotional support animals and service dogs. For emotional support animals, though, some landlords may require an ESA letter.

ESA Campus Housing

The Fair Housing Act also applies to university campuses, so all university housing is applicable. Therefore, students with service animals and emotional support animals are protected against housing discrimination. Most on-campus housing will require an ESA letter, however.

Exception to Rules

Bear in mind, the legislation discussed above has certain exceptions, in which case your emotional support animal may not be permitted. Animals that are unclean, aggressive, or disruptive (barking or going to the toilet inside, for example) may be barred.

Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal

According to federal law, falsely claiming that an animal is an assistance animal in Kansas counts as a class B nonhuman misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

ESA dog with ESA owner walking on a dirt road in Kansas

Here are the facts you need to know before getting an emotional support animal in Kansas:

  1. Service animals are different from emotional support animals! Although they are often mentioned in the same breath, the legislation around them can differ. See above for full definitions.
  2. No one but a licensed mental health professional can prescribe somebody an emotional support animal. The LMHP must have a valid license that is valid in your state, and they must be treating you as a patient.
  3. ESAs don’t have to wear vests or harnesses identifying them in public. However, we strongly recommend getting one so save questions.
  4. A vest or ID badge is not enough to identify an ESA though: only an ESA letter can do that.
  5. There is no such thing as an emotional support animal registration or certification! This is very important to remember because any service that offers to certify your ESA is basically a scam. The certification is not recognized anywhere. Only an ESA letter as detailed below is acceptable evidence of your need for an emotional support animal.

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

  1. The first step to getting an emotional support animal in Kansas: read up on what emotional support animals do, and whether you think you need one!
  2. Secondly, you will need to see if you qualify for an ESA. To do this, why not take the free Certapet screening process. It only takes 5 minutes and can help you see if you will be eligible for an emotional support dog.
  3. If you find that you are eligible, Certapet can connect you with a licensed mental health professional in Kansas (or any other state!). You’ll have a consultation with them, then you could have your ESA letter sent out within 48 hours. It’s that simple!

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.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

The animal shelter is a great place to find your perfect emotional support animal! Speak to the people there and tell them what you have in mind, and they should be able to find you the right kind of animal.

You could alternatively train an ESA from a pup, but be aware that young animals are not always allowed to travel. They may also take longer to learn to behave in public.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support animals are not allowed in private businesses to the same extent as service dogs. Don’t let this put you off getting an emotional support animal in Kansas, however, as there are lots of dog-friendly locations to visit!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Even emotional support dogs are allowed a little time off, and where better to take them than a dog park? There are some great dog parks in Kansas, including:

  • Chisholm Creek Pet Resort Pup Park in Wichita
  • Heritage Park in Olathe, and
  • The Mutt Run Off-Leash Dog Area in Lawrence.

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

After all that exercise, you and your emotional support dog will need to get a bite to eat and drink! Luckily, there are lots of pooch-friendly establishments throughout the state. Make sure to check out:

  • Rock & Brews in Overland Park
  • Cookees Drive-In in Pleasanton
  • Bluestem Bistro in Manhattan

Resorts, fitness, and spas

A trip away with your emotional support dog can be a great way to do some human-animal bonding. There are plenty of dog-friendly getaway spots in Kansas, including:

  • Candlewood Suites Kansas City Overland Park
  • Sheraton Overland Park Hotel, and
  • Baymont by Wyndham Kansas City.

Events

Doggy events allow dog-lovers from all over to converge and go gooey-eyed over man’s best friend: emotional support dogs and pets alike. Downtown Overland Park hosts regular “Downtown Dog’s Night Out” events, which are free of charge!

ESAs in Kansas: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!

The most important step to getting an emotional support animal in Kansas 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 could be closer than you think!