An emotional support animal in Oklahoma City is a type of assistance animal whose main job is to assist those with mental or emotional disabilities. Often prescribed to those suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks, these special animals are more than just pets. Find out the specific protections you get in the big OC for you and your ESA!
Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma City: Specific protection
An emotional support animal in Oklahoma city will be protected under two federal laws—the Air Carrier Access Act and the federal Fair Housing Act. Both federal laws ensure that people with disabilities will be protected from discrimination. Unfortunately, as an emotional support animal is not a service animal, they will not be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Definition of Assistance Animal
Perhaps you’re interested in learning more about what an assistance animal can do for you, or what laws protect you and your ESA.
It is first important to know what exactly is an emotional support animal, a service animal, and a psychiatric service animal.
To begin with, an emotional support dog is an assistance animal who helps individuals with disabilities such as depression, ADHD, and anxiety. An emotional support animal does not require any formal training to provide animal-assisted therapy.
A service dog is a type of assistance animal who will receive formal training to perform tasks. Service animals help individuals with both physical and mental disabilities that can range anywhere from blindness to deafness.
All service animals are legally allowed to accompany their handlers in any public situation. So, if you see a service dog wearing brightly colored dog vests, then chances are they’re a working service dog. Examples of service animals include; guide dogs for the blind, and seizure-alert dogs.
A psychiatric service animal is also a type of assistance animal, whose job is to help those with severe, debilitating mental disabilities. Psychiatric service animals are often prescribed to those with severe post-traumatic stress disorder or individuals who self-harm. Often a psychiatric service animal will be trained to stop an individual was having a post-traumatic stress disorder episode.
Lastly, it’s important to mention that therapy dogs are not considered an assistance animal. Therapy animals are simply pets who may serve more than one individual. For example, you’re very likely to see therapy dogs in an old age home or in a children’s hospital.
All assistance animals, are not considered “pets”. They are animals at work and are as such protected under anti-discrimination laws.
How to get an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma City: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process
Getting an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City can be a quick and easy process if you know how to do it! In order to qualify for an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City, you will need to provide a valid ESA letter.
CertaPet allows you to take a quick and easy pre-screening questionnaire that will evaluate your mental health. If by the end of the questionnaire, you are deemed a fit candidate for an ESA. Then you’ll almost instantly get connected to a licensed mental health professional
The mental health professional will further evaluate your mental health status, and if still deemed fit for an ESA. Then he/she will provide a valid emotional support animal letter. Your emotional support animal letter is vital, it is what grants you access to both the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act.
Without this letter, you will legally not be allowed an emotional support animal.
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
The first major federal law protecting people with disabilities is the Air Carrier Access Act. This law indicates that an airline should provide reasonable accommodation for anyone with an assistance animal. All assistance animals—including an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City, will be protected under the Air Carrier Access Act.
Now, before you do decide to board an aircraft with your emotional support animal, it is important that you contact your airline 48 hours prior to departure. All airlines will require you to provide important documentation such as:
- An emotional support animal letter
- Your ESAs latest vaccination records
- A signed waiver indicating that your ESA will not urinate or defecate on the aircraft.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law which states that individuals with disabilities are permitted to bring their service animals into a public setting. Public accommodation for service animals can include, bringing your service animal to your workplace, a grocery store, or even a mall.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City is not warranted the same protection under the ADA. This means that your employer is under no legal obligation to provide reasonable, public accommodation to your ESA.
Nevertheless, if you do believe your ESA will better your work performance, then you can always ask your employer to make a special exception. Most employers may allow an ESA in the workplace, but on a case-by-case basis.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
According to the Fair Housing Act, reasonable accommodation should be made for an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City. This means that if you show your landlord a valid ESA letter, then they cannot reject your ESA. As such, any no-pets policy should be lifted for you, and any pet-fee should be written off.
ESA Campus Housing
The Fair Housing Act also extends to university housing. Many universities recognize the importance of emotional support animals in bettering a student’s emotional well-being. Thus, an ESA will be permitted in university housing only.
Exception to Rules
There are a few exceptions to the FHA when it comes to ESAs. It is important to remember that a landlord or housing agency is allowed to reject your ESA when:
- The ESA in question is a threat to the public or displays aggressive behavior.
- Some landlords may be able to reject an ESA if they cause a public disturbance
- If the ESA is destroying the property
- If the owner does not show proof of a valid ESA letter
Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal
There are currently 12 states that punish those who misrepresent an assistance animal. As of now, the state of Oklahoma does not make it illegal to punish those misrepresenting an assistance animal. However, this is said to change in the very near future.
3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
- An emotional support animal can be any companion animal. Yes, you can get an emotional support cat, dog bird, or even
miniature horses as an ESA!
- Although not formally trained, an emotional support animal will need basic obedience and behavioral training. They need to be on their best behavior when they board an aircraft with you!
- There’s no such thing as an emotional support animal registry site! Remember, you don’t have to register your animal as an ESA! To be protected by federal laws you’ll need to provide an ESA letter only! Any website indicating that you need to register an ESA is a scam!
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
Since emotional support animals don’t require specialized training, you can choose to get an ESA from either a breeder or rescue. Most persons with disabilities may choose to adopt an ESA from a non-profit organization like an animal shelter or rescue. While others may choose to get one from a reputable breeder. If you’re interested in adopting an ESA then check out:
- Midwest City Animal Welfare
- Oklahoma City Animal Welfare
- Central Oklahoma Humane Society
Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal
An emotional support animal in Oklahoma City does not need to be restricted to their home or backyard! You can take your ESA any pet-friendly spot like hiking trails, dog parks, dog runs, pet-friendly restaurants, and even hotels!
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Let your ESA loosen up and enjoy some doggie fun time! Check out these pawesome dog parks in Oklahoma City
- PAW OK Dog Park
- Midtown Mutts Dog Park
- Edmond Dog Park at Bickham-Rudkin Park
- Fred Quinn Happy Tails Dog Park
Dog-friendly restaurants and bars
Although emotional support animals aren’t allowed in restaurants, you can still take your emotional support dog to a pet-friendly restaurant and bar. Check out these puplicious dog-friendly restaurants in Oklahoma City:
- Louie’s Grill & Bar
- Picasso Cafe
- Rock & Brews
- Urban Johnnie
Resorts, fitness, and spas
Traveling to Oklahoma City? Check out these pet-friendly hotels!
- Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel
- Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport
- Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn & Conference Center
- Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City
ESAs in Oklahoma City: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your City Today!
CertaPet recognizes the importance of the human-animal bond on mental health and emotional well-being. As such, if you are interested in getting an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City, then start by taking CertaPet’s 5-minute, pre-screening test. This will be your first stepping stone, that will connect you to a licensed mental health professional.
Got a question about an emotional support animal in Oklahoma City? Let us know!