Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Minnesota

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 16, 2021

emotional support animal in minnesotaYou’re probably thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota. While it’s not an overly complicated process, you have to comply with some requirements. Emotional support animals (ESA) boost the emotional well-being of people with a form of mental illness. They can make their day-to-day lives easier and more enjoyable through this human-animal bond.

People with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, for example, can have an ESA in Minnesota. Read on to find out more.

Emotional Support Animal in Minnesota: Specific Protection

Getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota has plenty of benefits. Owners’ lives and their disability are made better by the soothing presence of their emotional support dog. Not only that, but there are also laws in place that protect both the owner and the companion animal.

The two most important ones are the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). These are some requirements you will have to meet, so it’s important to read the rest of this article.

Definition of Assistance Animal

Emotional support dogs (also known as comfort animals) provide mental comfort to their owner. However, they are not considered psychiatric service dogs. Since they assist humans, they are considered assistance animals. But ESAs are not to be confused with service animals!

Service dogs go through specific training to assist persons with disabilities — think of guide dogs, for example. Unlike these, support dogs do not have to be trained. ESAs are also not considered therapy animals.

On the other hand, they’re not pets either! Anyone can have a pet at home, but not everyone is entitled to have an ESA. Pets are also not protected by the same laws ESAs are — the Air Carrier Acces Act and the Fair Housing Act.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Minnesota: CertaPet’s Simple 5-Minute Process

It has never been easier getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota! The first thing you need to know is if you’re eligible to get one. You can find that out very quickly — in just 5 minutes, in fact!

If you qualify, we’ll put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). This person will handle the ESA letter process. If everything goes okay, you can have your official emotional support letter in just 48 hours!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

If you’re getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota, you’ll be allowed to travel by plane with them. Thanks to this law, ESAs can travel with their owners in the cabin without being inside a carrier.

You will need to present documentation to the airline before up to 48 hours from departure. This document should be your emotional support animal letter, issued by a mental health professional.

As long as you turn in all required documents and you comply with the airline rules, you should be good to go. The airline can’t deny you or your animal boarding if you’re doing everything right. The ACAA also states that airlines can’t charge you a fee to transport your emotional support dog.

Employment Laws

Getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota comes with a lot of questions. One of them is “will I be able to bring my ESA to work?” Since emotional support dogs do not count as service animals, companies don’t have to let them enter the workplace.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service dogs can accompany their owner everywhere. However, ESAs are not covered by this act and employers don’t need to provide reasonable accommodation for them.

If you want to bring your support dog to work, you should try talking to your employer. While the law won’t be on your side, your employer might once they realize your dog would help with your mental disorder.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

Getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota while renting a place has major benefits. ESAs and their owners are covered by the Fair Housing Act (FHA). This means housing providers must provide “reasonable housing” to you and your furry friend.

You should show your landlord your ESA letter to prove the law protects you. As long as you have all the documents you need at hand, the FHA will be on your side.

Being covered by the FHA means that you can rent a house even if it has a no-pets policy. It also means that the landlord can’t ask you for a fee to house your animal.

ESA Campus Housing

College students thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota are in luck. Legally, campus housing and “regular” housing are both covered by the FHA. This means that if you have on-campus housing, you can live with your ESA.

The school cannot charge you a fee for this, nor can they deny you accommodation.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to show your ESA letter to be covered by this law!

Exception to Rules

Getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota comes with responsibilities, too. Here are some cases in which the FHA and ACAA won’t cover you fully:

  • If your ESA misbehaves (is aggressive, vicious…), you might be evicted
  • You’re legally required to pay for damages caused by your dog
  • Airlines may deny boarding to misbehaving ESAs
  • If your ESA is being neglected, the state can intervene and take them away

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

Not everyone goes the legal route when getting an emotional support animal in Minnesota. Some try to pass off their pets as ESAs or service animals. This has caught Minnesota lawmakers’ attention. Following what 20 other states did, Minnesota wants to make misrepresenting an assistance animal a misdemeanor.

Getting an emotional support animal is not that hard, why not do it the legal way?

5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

Here are some handy facts if you’re thinking of getting an emotional support animal:

  1. The ESA letter is awarded to a patient, not an animal.
  2. Companies that promise an “ESA certificate” are not legit. Any document you get from them won’t hold up in court.
  3. ESAs don’t have to be just dogs — they can be a cat, a hamster, or even miniature horses!
  4. Disputes in court are heard on a case-by-case basis.
  5. An ESA is neither a service animal nor a pet.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Now that you know what to expect when getting an emotional support animal in your state. The next logical question would be “but, where do I find my ESA?!” Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think.

Since ESAs don’t require any special training, they can be just about any animal. As long as your LMHP sees your pet as fit, even they could accompany you under this new label. If you don’t already have a pet, you can always go to a shelter and see which animal warms your heart the most.

You would have a companion and be giving them a better life too!

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal in New Mexico

After you have your ESA, it’s clear that you’ll want him to go places and have fun with you. While they can’t go into all public places, there are plenty of dog-friendly (and animal-friendly) places in Minnesota.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

What dog doesn’t like running around and making four-legged friends? These are some of the cool dog parks and runs Minnesota has to offer:

  • Elm Creek Reserve Dog Park — Maple Grove
  • Bloomington Dog Park — Bloomington
  • Vali-Hi Drive In Theatre — Lake Elmo

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Want to grab a bite but not leave your furry friend’s company? Here are some restaurants that will accommodate them:

  • Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge — Minneapolis
  • Canal Park Brewing Company — Duluth
  • Brasa — Minneapolis

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

What about taking a relaxing or adventure-filled break? These resorts are welcoming of dogs:

  • Bert’s Cabins — Lake Itasca
  • Kahler Grand Hotel — Rochester
  • Sheraton Bloomington — Bloomington
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Minneapolis West — Bloomington
  • Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview — Duluth


Who doesn’t like a fun event with other dog lovers?

Luckily, there are hundreds of dog-dedicated events every year in Minnesota. Do a quick internet search to be up to speed on all the events going on around you in your state. Both you and your emotional support dog will have a blast meeting new people — and dogs!

ESAs in Minnesota: How to Get Connected With an LMHP in Your State Today

Gone are the days when you had to worry about finding a licensed mental health professional yourself. You won’t have to search through the yellow pages book for one in your area. CertaPet wants to make your life easier, which is why we worry about finding you the right LMHP.

All you have to do is take our 5-minute pre-screening test. If you qualify for an ESA, we’ll put you in touch with an LMHP. It’s that simple! The love and comfort of an emotional support animal could be closer than you think!

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