Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma

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emotional support animal in OklahomaGetting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma can be daunting, so it is important we cover everything you need to know! Animal companionship is playing a pivotal role in the treatment of people with disabilities who are suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Animal-assisted therapy is revolutionizing the treatment of mental health and the many symptoms which associate.

With the use of animal companionship, Americans with disabilities including those suffering from a traumatic brain injury are benefiting across all states of the USA, including Oklahoma.

Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma: Specific protection

Not sure what exactly an ESA is? Don’t worry, we’re here to clear up any confusion surrounding ESAs and their laws in Oklahoma. The general laws regarding ESAs are much the same throughout America. However, in saying this, Oklahoma has some notable differences worth highlighting.

Definition of Assistance Animal

Defined by the FHA, an assistance animal must provide assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.  This is the extended definition which includes three main types of animals.

  • According to the ADA, a service animal must be a dog (including psychiatric service dogs) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities, including a physical, sensory or other mental disability. An example of a service dog may be one which helps the visually impaired, a seeing-eye dog (guide dog).
  • A Therapy animal provides people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.  However, therapy animals are not restricted to people with disabilities so they are not protected under the federal law (the ADA). Therapy dogs are usually requested on a case-by-case basis in hospitals and institutes. As such, Therapy animals are not considered assistance animals.
  • An emotional support animal ESA, on the other hand, can be any animal that works or performs tasks or services to alleviate the emotional effects of an emotion/mental disability.

Girl in a wheelchair hugging an ESA dog in Oklahoma

So do ESAs fall into the same lawful category as pets? No! The federal law includes the FHA and the ACAA which work to prevent discrimination of ESAs in housing and travel for Americans with disabilities.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma is just as easy as any other state with CertaPet! We’ve made the process short and friendly, start now with these three simple steps.

  1. Complete a free online 5-minute screening process.
  2. Get connected online with a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP).
  3. Upon approval, you will receive an ESA letter from CertaPet in less than 48 hours.

We want to get you connected with a mental health professional ASAP! The sooner the better

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

Taking an ESA with you in-cabin while flying is completely legal! It may seem hard to believe, but airlines can not restrict you from the company of an ESA. At no extra cost or further questioning of your disability, the ACAA allows Americans with disabilities to travel with an ESA in flight.

Most airlines may ask for verification of the disability and the need for an ESA, this is where CertaPet can help. However,  To ensure protection under the ACAA, there are some regulations you are expected to follow, these may include:

  •  A verification emotional support letter (from an LMHP) prescribing the animal as an ESA and the benefits it has for the particular mental/emotion disorder.
  • An explanation for how the animal provides emotional support.
  • The diagnoses must comply with the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
    By following these guidelines traveling with an ESA should be hassle-free!

Employment Laws

Generally, service dogs are seen as a greater necessity than ESAs, so consequently, they have more privileges in the workplace. In Oklahoma, it is illegal to deny a service dog access in almost all public places, including work areas. Unfortunately these laws do not apply to ESAs and instead, we must ask permission before bringing our ESA into work. With that being said, there’s no harm in asking the boss, you never know!

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

An Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma just like any ESA in all states will be protected under the Fair Housing Act. Owning an ESA has surprisingly very little impact on where you can live!

ESA dog with owners inside an apartment in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, it is illegal for a landlord to deny reasonable housing to those individuals with disabilities requiring an ESA. Thanks to the FHA, this includes ‘no pet’ housing too!

The FHA states it is illegal to deny housing, evict or charge extra for those people with an ESA. When looking for reasonable accommodation, a landlord may ask for a verification letter regarding your disability and associated ESA.

The letter must be from a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP), but don’t worry because this is where CertaPet can help you! Here are some important points to be aware of.

  • There are some types of housing with exception to this law.
  • There are specific regulations regarding miniature horses. For example, they must be housebroken and the facility must be able to accommodate the horses’ type, size, and weight.
  • Damage to the property caused by an ESA must be paid for at your expense and may enable to the landlord to deny you of housing.

ESA Campus Housing

If you’re a student thinking of getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma, then you should know that you have the right to have an ESA in campus housing!  That’s right, your rights under the ADA and FHA allow you to have your ESA stay on campus.

Regardless of where you study in Oklahoma, every university must recognize the importance of your ESA and provide reasonable accommodation. However, these laws only apply to university-specific living areas, not the general areas of the university like food courts, academic buildings etc.

Exception to Rules

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma means lots of fun to be had, though there are some exceptions to the rules you need to be made aware of.

  • ESAs are not service animals, be sure not to get the laws between the two confused.
  • If your ESA shows dangerous behavior or particular annoyance to others, airlines can deny you of air-travel.
  • If your ESA causes damage to property or considerable annoyance to another tenant (even in pet-friendly housing), this can enable the landlord to deny you housing.

Punishment for misrepresenting an Assistance Animal

In the state of Oklahoma, there is no explicit law for the misrepresentation of an assistance animal. In saying this, it would be naive to assume no such penalty for this misconduct exists. There is, however, a fine of up to $50 for those that state or enforce a false registration or licensing fee for a service animal.

Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1.  You don’t need to ‘register’ or have a ‘certificate’ for an ESA! there is no such document! ESAs do not have specialized training. The most official part of owning an ESA in Oklahoma is getting a verified letter from an LMHP! – this is where Certapet can help!
  2. Emotional support animals are not restricted to just dogs and cats! People have all sorts of animals as ESAs, in Oklahoma state you can even have pot-bellied pigs!
  3. Remember, an ESA does not entitle you to a workplace pet! You must ask your employer about bringing your ESA into work.
  4. ESAs are not service animals, their purpose is to provide comfort and security. This means they are not allowed in public places such as hotels, restaurants and shopping facilities.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

ESA cat in Oklahoma peeping out of a cardboard box

When planning on getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma, it’s important to remember that you will have many options on where to find a suitable ESA!

Remember ESAs are not specifically trained. This means they can be found almost anywhere! Most major cities in Oklahoma have animals shelters with all sorts of animals for you to take your pick. Otherwise, if an animal shelter doesn’t appeal to you, there are lots of adoption pages online.

Where ever you decide to source your companion animal from, just be sure to get a background veterinary check done. This should give you an idea of its current health and potential expenses which may occur!

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

When you get an Emotional Support Animal in Oklahoma, you don’t need to restrict them to the house! Even ESAs need to be rewarded for their hard work! So are you wondering where you can take your emotional support dog? here are a few favorites in Oklahoma!

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Live in Oklahoma City?

  • OKC PawPark
  • Myriad Botanical Gardens Dog Park

If you are in Tulsa:

  • Joe Station Dog Park
  • Biscuit Acres

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

Fancy a bite?

In Oklahoma City:

  • Louie’s Grill and Bar
  • Picasso Cafe

In Tulsa:

  • Wild Fork
  • Queenie’s Cafe

Resorts, fitness, and spas

In Oklahoma City:

  • Sheraton Oklahoma City Hotel
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oklahoma City Airport

In Tulsa:

  • Comfort Inn Tulsa
  • Motel 6 Tulsa South

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

The sense of well-being, the mental health and the general health benefits of owning an Emotional Support Animal are undebatable. Get connected with a mental health professional today through CertaPets’ screening process and you too could be on your road to recovery!

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