If you suffer from mental health problems (such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression) you might want to consider getting an emotional support animal in Montana. These animals, also known as ESAs for short, better the emotional well-being of their owners by offering company and love.
To find out what you have to do get an emotional support animal in Montana, keep reading this article!
Emotional Support Animal in Montana: Specific Protection
There are two federal laws that protect you and your ESA. Thanks to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), you won’t need to worry about being discriminated against on these two occasions. If you’re getting an emotional support animal in Montana, you have the right to live and fly with your companion animal.
Keep reading to know what documents you’ll need and how exactly do these federal laws protect you and your furry companion.
Definition of Assistance Animal
Assistance animals can be an emotional support animal or service animal. Both are considered as this type of animal as they both provide “assistance” to their owner, just in different ways and needs.
You might be wondering what an emotional support dog is. Is it a pet? Is it a service dog? Is it a therapy animal? The answer to all those questions is — no.
Emotional support animals give people with a mental illness a chance to get better and lead happier day-to-day lives. Unlike service animals, they are not trained to perform tasks such as opening a door or turning on a light switch. ESAs are recommended by a mental health professional and enjoy legal privileges that pets don’t.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Montana: CertaPet’s simple 5-minute process
So, have you decided to get an ESA in Montana? If so, the first thing you should do is check if you’re eligible. Thankfully, we’ve come up with a simple and trustworthy pre-screening test that you can take. It will only take you five minutes, tops!
From there, you can leave everything to us. We’ll put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They will assess whether or not you qualify for an emotional support animal. If so, they’ll issue your ESA letter and we’ll send it to you.
By letting us help you, you could have your ESA letter in only 48 hours!
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
Are you getting an emotional support animal in Montana and hopping on a plane? Not to worry, you should be able to fly with them at no extra charge!
According to the Air Carrier Access Act, ESAs and their owners can travel together if all the requirements are met. Here are some of the things you need to have and do when you’re thinking of your next flight:
- Give your airline at least a 48-hour notice before boarding.
- Show the airline your emotional support animal letter.
- Guarantee that your ESA will behave on board.
Some airlines request further documentation, such as a veterinary health form, signed testament to their behavior, and more. Make sure you are aware of the various forms you will need ahead of time.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service animals can accompany their owners to work. However, ESAs do not fall into this category. This means that your workplace doesn’t have to provide reasonable accommodation for your furry pal.
However, since they give you emotional support, you could try asking your manager to let them go to work with you. You can argue that not allowing it could be a discrimination against your mental impairment.
Don’t forget to show your ESA letter, too!
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
Thanks to this federal law, you can live with your ESA in peace. The Fair Housing Act says that housing providers must provide “reasonable accommodation” for you and your ESA.
If you’re a tenant with an emotional support animal in Montana, here is what you need to do to be covered by the law:
- Have a valid ESA letter with you.
- Make sure that your animal won’t cause damage or bother neighbors.
As long as you comply, your landlord can’t charge you a fee or deny you housing. This also applies to places with a no-pets policy!
ESA Campus Housing
If you’re living in on-campus housing and thinking of getting an emotional support animal in Montana, we have good news for you. The FHA still applies to your situation.
This means that even if you’re living in a university-owned dorm with a no-pets policy, your ESA can live with you. All you need to do is have your ESA letter at hand. You should also reassure your housing provider that your ESA won’t be a nuisance to others.
Exception to Rules
Being covered by all these federal laws is great, but you also have some responsibilities. Here are some of the instances in which the FHA and the ACAA might not apply to you:
- If you fail to hand over all the required documents to an airline.
- If you don’t show your ESA letter to a landlord who asks for it.
- If your ESA causes damages, you’ll have to pay for them.
- If your ESA is aggressive or unruly, you might be evicted and be denied boarding.
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
It is not illegal to misrepresent an emotional support animal in Montana. However, there are growing efforts to make it illegal. Several states have introduced fines and even jail time for people misrepresenting ESAs.
You might be wondering — what is the misrepresentation of an ESA? Well, it’s passing off a pet as an ESA when you don’t have the right documents. This can get you in big trouble, so don’t do it!
It’s not that hard to get an emotional support dog in Montana. Why not do it the legal way?
5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
If you’re a curious cat, here are some five facts you should learn before getting an ESA in Montana:
- People with mental illnesses may be entitled to an ESA.
- ESAs don’t have to be just dogs — they can be a cat or even a miniature horse!
- Your emotional support letter is issued by a licensed mental health professional.
- There is no such thing as an “ESA registration” or “ESA certificate.” Companies selling these are scams.
- ESAs are neither therapy animals, psychiatric service animals, service animals, or pets.
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
If you have your ESA letter in your hands, you might be wondering — “where do I find an ESA?!” Good news, this is the fun part! Because the ESA letter has been awarded to you, you can choose virtually any animal, as long as it is considered an ESA.
Do you have a pet at home already? They could become your official companion animal! Even if you don’t, shelters are always looking to give puppies and other animals a better life. Visit your local animal shelter! Who knows, your best friend could be waiting for you right there…
Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal
It’s understandable that you want to bring your ESA out on adventures with you. Because they’re not considered a service animal, they are not covered by the ADA. This means you’ll have to hand pick specific public places that are welcoming to animals.
These are our top recommendations for emotional support animals and their owners in Montana.
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Let your ESA stretch their legs and run around in one of these parks:
- Jacobs Island Bark Park — Missoula
- Norm Schoenthal Island — Billings
- Hugh Rogers Wag Dog Park — Whitefish
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
Grab a bite to eat or a drink with your emotional support dog in one of these bars:
- Pete’s Rocky Mountain Pizza — West Yellowstone
- The Garage — Bozeman
- Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits — Whitefish
Resorts, Fitness, and Spas
There’s nothing better than to go on a relaxing holiday with your best friend. Check into one of these hotels with your ESA!
- La Quinta Inn — Missoula
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Kalispell — Kalispell
- West Yellowstone Cabins — West Yellowstone
There are always dozens of events going on year-round dedicated to dogs and their owners. Why not bring your four-legged friend to one and let them make new friends? You might also meet like-minded dog lovers! Remember to check for dog-friendly events in your area to stay up to date.
ESAs in Montana: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
As you know, only mental health professionals can issue ESA letters. This means that if you want an emotional support animal in Montana, you need to reach out to one.
Luckily, we take care of that for you. No need to spend hours looking for an LMHP in your area online or on the yellow pages. As soon as you complete our 5-minute pre-screening test, we’ll get you in touch with an LMHP. After that, we handle all the paperwork you’ll ever need to be protected by the law.
Getting an ESA in Montana has never been easier!