Getting an Emotional Support Animal in North Dakota

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 14, 2021

emotional support animal in north dakotaIf you are looking into getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota, you likely have questions. You’re in luck! We’re here to provide you with answers!

Regardless of whether you have a dog or a cat as a companion animal, the emotional well-being that animal provides you with makes them more than just a simple “pet”. The human-animal bond is amazing and has wonderful therapeutic benefits on all spheres of life. Some people benefit more from the constant support of their canine or feline companions, and these are the people who need an ESA!

Emotional Support Animal in North Dakota: Specific Protection

People who have an emotional support animal have been diagnosed with a mental illness or condition by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). Any person with such a diagnosis is considered to have a “disability” and is specifically protected under 2 federal laws!

Definition of Assistance Animal

Assistance animals generally fall into 3 categories: service animals, psychiatric service animals, and emotional support animals. What these animals have in common is that they assist individuals in a certain way.

Service and psychiatric service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for the people they assist. Examples of service dogs are seeing-eye dogs or dogs that alert people to dipping sugar levels or oncoming seizures.

ESAs are a little different from service animals. They do not need any specific training (although basic obedience training is always a good idea). The role ESAs play in the treatment plan of people suffering from mental illnesses or conditions is to provide emotional support through companionship.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in North Dakota: CertaPet’s Simple 5 Min Process

First things first: You’ll need an ESA letter. When getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota, one of the easiest ways to get your (real) ESA letter is through CertaPet.

Simply start by taking our free 5-minute online pre-screening. If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an emotional support animal, we will connect you with a LMHP in your state! You could have your ESA letter within 48 hrs!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

One of the federal laws that protect any owner of an emotional support animal in North Dakota is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). This act protects people with disabilities from being discriminated against on the basis that they have a disability (and therefore need an ESA with them).

The airline has to allow you ESA to travel with you in the cabin free of charge. There are of course certain terms and conditions. Airlines are experiencing an influx of ESAs in planes, and with that, an increased number of incidents involving ESAs and passengers. Airlines have had to tighten their rules on allowing ESAs on their flights, so always make sure you read the airlines ESA policy before booking a flight.

emotional support dog in womans handbag at airport

Employment Laws

An employer is not required by law to accommodate an ESA in the workplace. Whether or not you may take your ESA to work with you is entirely up to the discretion of the employer. It doesn’t hurt to ask your boss whether you could bring your ESA to work with you. They might just say yes!

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

If you are getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects you from discrimination by landlords. Under the Fair Housing Act, ESA owners have the following protection:

  • A landlord must provide reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. This prohibits rejection due to a person’s need for an emotional support animal.
  • A landlord cannot charge an additional pet fee or pet “rent”.

ESA Campus Housing

If you are getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota and plan on going to university, you (and your ESA) have protection under the FHA..

As with any other establishment, this protection only covers the animal’s presence in the housing accommodations. Non-pet friendly public spaces or classrooms are off-limits for ESAs.

ESAs are flooding onto campuses in the U.S in hoards. Before packing Fido into the car and driving off to college, be sure to call ahead and ask them about the specifics of their ESA policy. It is also a good idea to have your ESA letter ready so that you can prove you are not simply misrepresenting an ESA to get your dog or cat into your dorm.

Exception to Rules

An emotional support animal is not a service animal and is not entitled to enter any public spaces. ESAs are protected only in rented housing and during air travel. Restaurants, libraries, public transportation, and any location that has a “no-pet” policy has the right to deny entry to an ESA.

If your ESA displays disruptive, destructive or aggressive behavior, you will lose your protection. The same goes for any signs of neglecting or abusing your ESA.

Another exception to the “normal” pet restrictions is therapy dogs. Though they are not considered service animals, they are allowed in certain locations (with permission) to provide therapy to groups of people or individuals.

Animal-assisted therapy is becoming more and more popular in places like hospitals and nursing homes. Interacting with therapy animals has a positively uplifting effect on the elderly and the sick.

Not all therapy animals are dogs. Equine therapy is becoming exceedingly popular across the country.

esa dog sitting in front of door waiting for owner

Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

According to North Dakota Century Code 47-16-07, if an individual provides fake documentation for an emotional support animal or service animal they may be evicted from rented accommodation and fined.

The fine for falsely representing an assistance animal cannot exceed $1,000. This rule only applies to falsely represent an emotional support animal in your housing. If anyone catches you using a fake ESA letter during air travel Fido will be kicked off the flight.

5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. A service animal receives specific training that assists its owner’s disability. They may go anywhere the owner goes. An emotional support animal simply provides comfort with their mere presence. They do not need specific.
  2. When getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota you will need an ESA prescription (ESA letter) from a licensed mental health professional. This letter must list: that you have a disability that the animal eases. It also needs your health professional’s license number and state of issuance. Your ESA is no longer valid after 1 year!
  3. Under the FHA, your landlord may not charge a pet deposit or charge additional rent for your ESA. The landlord can, however, charge you for any damage your animal does to the property.
  4. Other animals can be considered an emotional support animal to you, but the most common are emotional support cats and dogs. Airlines do have the right to restrict certain species of animals from flights. Always check the airline’s guidelines before flying with your ESA.
  5. An ESA is a living, breathing responsibility. You need to look after them and make sure their needs are all taken care of. Having an ESA to help you is a privilege that can be taken away!

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Your emotional support animal does not need any special training, but basic obedience is a must.

Look for a calm, well-behaved dog and train them to work well in public. Here are some guidelines for getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota:

  • You can choose a purebred dog, or choose to rescue a dog from a local shelter. Try contacting your local breeders and shelters for available dogs.
  • Sites like Petfinder can be helpful in your search. Some not-for-profit organizations even offer low-cost spay-neuter programs.
  • Saving a pet is always a wonderful option. If you don’t have the time or patience to raise a puppy, rescue an older dog with good manners!

Where to Take Your Emotional Support Animal

Because your emotional support dog doesn’t have the same rights as a trained service dog, you will benefit from finding local pet-friendly places to socialize your pup. There are a number of popular dog-friendly establishments to visit when getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota.

happy golden retriever lying on mans lap

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Some of the most popular dog parks in North Dakota, are Village West Dog Park in Fargo, Dakota Bark Park in Minot, Pepper’s Dog Park in Jamestown, and Spring Lake Bark Park in Williston.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars

Some pet-friendly bars/restaurants in North Dakota are Noodles & Company in Fargo (and in Grand Forks), Knights Bar and Grill in Riverdale, Five Guys in Minot, and Bab’s Coffee House in Jamestown.

Resorts, Fitness, and Spas

There are some really cool pet-friendly resorts and spas in North Dakota. Some of them are Kelly Inn 13thAvenue in Fargo, Ramkota Hotel in Bismark, Staybridge Suites in Grand Forks, and Grand Hotel in Minot.


Unfortunately, there are no upcoming dog events in North Dakota.

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

Start the process and take CertaPet’s 5-minute pre-screening. It is an easy questionnaire that will tell you whether you may qualify for an emotional support animal. If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a LMHP in your state. You could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs!

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