11 June, 2018

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in North Dakota

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

Regardless of if you have a dog, cat, or small companion animal, the emotional well-being that animal provides for you is more than just a simple pet. The human-animal bond is amazing and can have wonderful therapeutic benefits. Your emotional support animal (ESA) is there to assist you with your mental disability, even though they aren’t trained to perform a specific behavior.

Emotional Support Animal in North Dakota: Specific Protection

Though they are not service dogs, your assistance animal is an important part of your life. Knowing your rights is half the battle, and when getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota your rights to your ESA differ from those of a trained service dog.

Definition of Assistance Animal

An assistance animal is defined as an animal that provides emotional or physical benefit for people with disabilities. Some examples include a dog that alerts its owner of oncoming panic attacks from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or a cat that improves it’s clinically depressed owner’s mood.

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

When getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota, the best way to get your ESA letter is through CertaPet. CertaPet provides a simple screening process that can be completed online.

To get an ESA letter through CertaPet, simply fill out their free 5-minute questionnaire.

This questionnaire will determine if you are eligible for an emotional support animal. If you are eligible, you will be connected to a licensed mental health professional through CertaPet. After the licensed mental health professional signs off, you will receive your ESA letter within 48 hours!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

When getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota one of the protections you will be provided is fair air travel. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) protects Americans with disabilities from discrimination, and also protects their emotional support animals or service animals.

When traveling with an emotional support animal or service dog, as long as the animal does not present a hazard to the other passengers, and is behaved, it must be allowed on board. When traveling with emotional support animals, the airline also requires an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional stating your need for the dog.

Employment Laws

In the workplace, an employer must provide reasonable accommodation for a disabled worker. This means that, while the employer is not required to allow your emotional support animal in the workplace, they must attempt to make a reasonable accommodation for that animal if possible.

One example of a reasonable accommodation would be if an employer moved your office away from another employee with an allergy to dogs, allowing you to have your ESA at work.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

If you are getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota, the Fair Housing Act will protect you and your animal from discrimination by landlords. Under the Fair Housing Act, you are provided these protections:

  • The landlord must provide reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability, this prohibits rejection due to a person’s service dogs or emotional support animals.
  • The landlord cannot charge an additional pet fee or pet “rent”.
  • The landlord cannot enforce restrictions against pit bulls or other breeds that might be prohibited, whether the restriction is their policy or covered by breed-specific laws.

ESA Campus Housing

If you will be getting an emotional support animal in North Dakota while attending a university, there are some protections for your emotional support animal in campus housing.

Your emotional support animal will still be protected under the Fair Housing Act, but this only applies to colleges receiving federal financial aid.

As with any other establishment, this protection only covers the animal’s presence in the housing accommodations, and not in non-pet friendly public spaces or classrooms.

For example, seizure-alert dogs would be permitted in the classroom, but a dog that reduces the intensity of depression would not.

Exception to Rules

An emotional support animal is not a service animal and thus is not entitled to enter any public space. These animals are protected only in your housing and during air travel. Restaurants, libraries, public transportation, and any location that is non-pet friendly has the right to deny entry for an emotional support animal.

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

Animal-assisted therapy is becoming more and more popular in nursing homes, and therapy animals can have wonderful benefits for the elderly and the sick.

Not all therapy animals are dogs, equine therapy is becoming exceedingly popular across the country for everything from disabilities to prescribed physical therapy.

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 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, but if found using a fake ESA letter during air travel you will be barred from your flight – regardless of the state you are in.

5 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. A service animal is trained to perform a specific behavior that assists their owner’s disability, and they are allowed to go anywhere the owner goes. An emotional support animal simply provides comfort from their presence but is not necessarily trained to do anything.
  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, your health professional’s license number and state of issuance, and be written less than one year ago.
  3. Under the Fair Housing Act, your landlord is not allowed to charge a pet deposit or charge additional rent for your emotional support animal. The landlord can, however, charge you for any damage your animal does to the property that is more than the usual “wear and tear”.
  4. Other animals can be considered an emotional support animal to you, but the most common are emotional support cats and dog. Airlines do have the right to restrict certain species of animals from flights, so please check guidelines before flying with your ESA.
  5. Even if your city has a local ordinance against certain breeds of dogs, your ESA is protected by the Fair Housing Act. Your landlord is not allowed to deny your emotional support animal due to their breed.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Though your emotional support animal does not necessarily need to be trained, it will be much easier for you if they are well behaved. An unruly dog can be removed from a flight, and that kind of stress negates your need for an ESA in the first place!

Look for a calm, well-behaved dog and train them to work well in public. Some guidelines when 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, and some not-for-profit organizations even offer low-cost spay-neuter programs.
  • Saving a pet is always a wonderful option, but be sure to choose an animal that is well-behaved if you aren’t prepared for extensive training.

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.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Some of the most popular dog parks in North Dakota – according to ratings on BringFido: 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 – according to BringFido: 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

Some of the most popular pet-friendly resorts, spas, and fitness in North Dakota – according to ratings on BringFido: Kelly Inn 13thAvenue in Fargo, Ramkota Hotel in Bismark, Staybridge Suites in Grand Forks, and Grand Hotel in Minot.

Events

Unfortunately, there are not any upcoming dog events in North Dakota. Take a look at BringFido for any new events that may be added!

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

To get connected with a licensed mental health professional simply follow CertaPet’s 5-minute screening process. An easy questionnaire will tell you if you qualify for an emotional support animal. A licensed mental health professional will review your symptoms on a case-by-case basis, and issue you your ESA letter.

If you suffer from a mental health disability, and your dog eases that disability, get started today!