Getting an emotional support animal in Michigan isn’t hard…if you know what to do and how to do it. To begin, an emotional support animal (ESA) provides love, care, and comfort for those who suffer from an emotional/mental disability and help their owners cope with about anything under the sun (in terms of emotional conditions).
Because of a companion animal’s support, you can fly and live with them for free anywhere in Michigan. “No pets allowed” won’t stop you from having your ESA. Learn more about important laws to the places you can take your ESAs in the great Wolverine state below.
Emotional Support Animal in Michigan: Specific Protection
There’s a lot to learn about getting an emotional support animal in Michigan from laws to what you can expect from landlords and airport attendants. Do remember though, there are exceptions to the rules that could ban you from these places so better read up!
Definition of Assistance Animal
This is a broad term encompassing any kind of animal, including ESAs, that therapeutically assists a person. These pets offer companionship and emotional support without any training. If you suffered post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD for example, an assistance animal would provide you with the emotional support needed to make it through each day.
Service animals: these animals have been trained specifically to perform tasks for persons with disabilities, like psychiatric service dogs. Seeing-eye dogs, for example, are trained to help the blind navigate and avoid obstacles. A service animal is for a person with a service-related disability.
Emotional support animal: from dog to raccoon to herd of miniature horses, an ESA can be any animal that offers you emotional support. They are not trained like service animals but are eligible for the travel and housing laws we’ll cover below.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Michigan: CertaPet’s Simple 5 Min Process
Getting your ESA letter can be daunting if you don’t have a therapist or licensed mental health professional to go to. It brings even more anxiety, stress, etc. if you suffer from a condition that makes it hard to do day-to-day things such as leave the house.
Obtaining your emotional support animal letter shouldn’t be so hard.
So with CertaPet’s simple with 5-minute process, you can get the help you deserve without having to step out of your comfort zone (your legal ESA will, later on, help you with that).
Step 1: check out our pre-screening process to find out if you can get an emotional support animal in Michigan.
Step 2: find your LMHP – if you can’t find a professional close to where you live, CertaPet offers telehealth therapy and gets you in touch with LMHPs that are licensed to operate in Michigan.
Step 3: have your first therapy session and receive your signed letter from the LMHP. This letter is proof that you require an emotional support animal in Michigan.
Step 4: with CertaPet, you also get 2 additional therapy sessions after you’ve received your letter!
As long as you can provide your ESA letter and have had at least 1 therapy session beforehand, you can take your emotional support animal on an airplane. Besides the letter, you will also need to fill out any necessary forms for travel and give the airlines as much notice as possible, so they can prepare.
Note: The extra documentation can be a signed approval of the animal’s behavior, a veterinary health form, a document of your ESA’s vaccination, and more.
Flying is easy when your ESA by your side. And by the ACAA, you don’t have to worry about fees or if they don’t allow pets in the cabin. With your emotional support animal, anything is possible.
ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act that allows service animals to accompany a person with disabilities in public places, doesn’t apply to emotional support animals in Michigan.
Currently, there are no laws stating you have a right to bring your ESA into the workplace. In fact, most workplaces will not allow you to bring your animal to work unless it is a trained service animal.
That being said, your employer cannot discriminate against you. If there are at least 5 employees, your employer needs to make arrangements to accommodate your ESA needs.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
The Fair Housing Act ensures that as long as you have your ESA letter, your landlord or housing provider cannot discriminate against you for having an emotional support animal in Michigan.
That basically means that they can’t charge you the fees they may charge a tenant who has non-ESA pets according to the pets policy. They also can’t deny you accommodation altogether.
This applies to all rented property, public accommodation, and even on-campus housing.
ESA Campus Housing
Because the FHA covers college campus housing, you can bring your emotional support animal when you make the big move. The university can and will request to see your ESA letter in order for you to live with your companion animal.
Exception to Rules
Travel Laws: different airlines will have different policies. Some will require many forms to be filled out, while others need several weeks’ notice.
Accommodation Laws: if you own your home, the Fair Housing Act won’t apply. If the landlord can prove that your animal is a threat to others or the property, they can deny you the rights to live with your ESA in that premises. If your ESA does cause damage to the property, you may need to pay for the repairs yourself.
Employment Laws: if you work in a private place, like an office, your employer may give you permission to have your ESA with you. It is all down to your employer and the rules of your workplace. If you work in a public place, like a shop, you can’t bring your ESA with you unless it is a pet-friendly workplace and your employer gives you permission.
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
The punishments for misrepresenting an assistance animal vary from state to state. In Michigan, those who misrepresent an assistance animal are guilty of a misdemeanor and could face:
- A fine up to $500.
- Up to 30 days of community service.
- Imprisonment for up to 3 months (90 days).
3 Important Facts That You Should Know About ESAs
- You cannot certify your animal. Your ESA letter applies to YOU. It states that YOU are eligible for an emotional support animal in Michigan. Any “ESA certification” is a scam. You must ensure that you have the correct letter from your LMHP.
- An ESA can be any animal of any age. As ESAs are untrained, you can pick any pet that you bond with from a pet store or rescue shelter.
- Your landlord can’t claim that your ESA is a threat just because it is a certain breed. The threat must be related to the individual animal itself. If the emotional support dog is showing aggressive behavior, for example, that would be a genuine claim regardless of the dog breed.
What’s in The ESA Letter?
You can’t just get any old letter signed by an LMHP. Your ESA letter must contain:
- Confirmation that you are a patient of your LMHP on a case-by-case basis.
- Confirmation that you are genuinely limited by your mental health disability.
- Prescription of an ESA. The letter must state that your support dog is essential for your wellbeing.
As you can see, your ESA letter applies to you, not the animal! Any website claiming to “certify or register” your pet is a scam.
Shelter Animals: Where to Find the Right ESA
There may be sellers targeting people with disabilities in their advertisements. Approach these breeders with caution and immediately back away if they try to tell you that only their animals are certified ESAs.
You can get your emotional support animal in Michigan from anywhere! Great places to look are animal shelters, rescue animal centers, and pet stores. Make sure you research the pet sellers before buying, just as you would any pet.
Ask for a family history and details regarding what medical shots the animal has had/will need in the future too.
Oh the Places You’ll Go With Your Emotional Support Animal
Public places are off limits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and about with your support dog or cat.
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
For sandy beaches and fun in the water, try Norman F Kruse Park at Lake Michigan in South-Central Michigan.
Colonial Michilimackinac (try saying that 5 times fast) in Northern Michigan is a great park for both dogs and owners! You can take your dog with you as you explore the 18th century fort.
Bear in mind that the re-enactments feature gunfire, so if you’re suffering war-related PTSD give this park a miss.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
There are over 1000 dog-friendly restaurants and bars in Michigan (that we know of). Try one of these great places:
- The Dish Café, Traverse City – visit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
- Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, Ann Arbor – dogs welcome on their patio. This is a fantastic spot on sunny days.
- Café Via, Birmingham – for a more upmarket meal with your pooch, this is a place worth visiting.
- Woodridge Pub, Detroit – take a break here for a hearty serving of comfort food with your favorite companion animal.
Resorts, Fitness, and Spas
How about a day spent shopping followed by a relaxing doggie spa treatment? The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township is doggy heaven! 4 comfort stations, water bowls, and even dog themed statues make this a great day out.
The Dog Zone Training & Activity Center in New Baltimore offers doggy daycare, training, and sports activities. Run by a canine behaviorist, we’ve heard great things about the positive, safe environment you can find at this activity center!
With any dog hotel, daycare center or resort, be sure to check all the reviews online and speak to people who’ve used the services before. When it comes to caring for your pet, you don’t want to take any chances.
If you go to any dog event in Michigan this year, make sure it’s the Dog Bowl in Frankenmuth! There’s free admission and plenty of events to watch and take part in.
ESAs in Michigan: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
Getting connected with an LMHP who has all the qualifications needed to practice in Michigan is simple. CertaPet actually runs a teletherapy service for those who struggle to leave the house so getting started for your ESA letter is way easier than you may have thought.
CertaPet is here to help you get the support you need from your ESA! Check out the helpful guides on the blog and get started with your application today.