Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oregon

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emotional support animal in oregonAre you planning on getting an emotional support animal in Oregon?  Following suit with the rest of America, Oregon is beginning to use animal-assisted therapy to treat people with disabilities. Animal companionship is now a key player in treating anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Along with these, support animals are also helping in treating fear, isolation and many other effects tied to the field of mental health.

Emotional Support Animals can have life-changing effects on those suffering, so it is important we cover everything you need to know!

Emotional Support Animal in Oregon: Specific protection

Mental illness is an increasing problem now in the fast-paced cities of America. Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oregon is much like the rest of America, however, there are some slight differences in law you should familiarize yourself with. An Emotional Support Animal in Oregon is considered psychiatric service animals.

These psychiatric service animals are protected under 2 laws—the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act.

Definition of Assistance Animal

Often in Oregon, Assistance animal is used interchangeably with a service animal. However, by federal law, they are not the same, so it is important we know the differences between the two.

  • An emotional support animal in Oregon is considered a type of assistance animal. An assistance animal can include; service dogs and psychiatric service dogs. However, a therapy animal is not considered an assistance animal.
  • The purpose of therapy animals is to provide a form of pet relief and comfort for many people. Because they are not restricted to people with disabilities, they are not protected under the laws surrounding ESAs and service dogs.  They are usually not owned by any one person and will often be requested in hospitals on a case-by-case basis.
  • Defined in the ADA, a service animal is any service dog that has undergone specialized training to do work and perform trained tasks for the benefits of the owner with a disability. This includes the likes of a guide dog for the visually impaired or seizure alert dogs for medical attention.
  • However, ESAs do not need to undergo any specialized training, in fact, what qualifies them as an ESA is their ability to provide comfort and security for an individual suffering from a mental disability.As mentioned above, only service dogs and ESAs are covered by the federal laws, ADA, FHA, and ACAA.  And yes, there are laws separating ESAs from the regular companion animal! We will go through each of these to grasp a greater understanding of your rights as an ESA owner!

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

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oregon with CertaPet is simple. Start by completing the 5-minute screening process online and in no time you’ll be connected with a mental health professional.

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

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

ESA dog carried by owner while sitting down inside an Airplane in Oregon

Did you know as an ESA owner you can take your animal with you in-flight?

That’s right, regardless of the airline, it is illegal to deny you the company of your ESA during air-travel under the ACAA. No further questioning or even an additional travel fee is allowed! But before you get too many great travel ideas, ensure your protection under the ACAA by following these expected regulations.

  • A verification letter (from an LMHP) prescribing the animal as an ESA and the benefits it has for the particular mental/emotional disorder.
  • An explanation for how the animal provides emotional support.
  • The diagnoses must comply with the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

By following these simple airline regulations you shouldn’t have any trouble traveling with your ESA!

Employment Laws

An emotional support animal in Oregan—like in other states—is not protected under the Americans Disabilities Act.

Owning a service dog has almost no restrictions on your employment where ever you are in America. In Oregon, it is illegal to deny a service dog access to work areas, along with most other public areas. Unfortunately, because ESAs are not seen with the same necessity viewed with a service dog, these laws do not apply to ESAs and their owners.

This means employers are not obligated to allow your ESA in the work area. In saying this, although the employer is not obligated to allow your ESA in the workplace by law, they may not have a problem with it! Always pays to ask!

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

Whether you’re renting an apartment in the city, staying in a condo on the beachfront, or living on the outskirts of small towns, your ESA can come with you!

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Oregon has a very little effect on where you can live. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) ensures equal opportunity and prevents discrimination against those requiring an ESA, even in ‘no pet’ housing!

This means landlords cannot charge you a traditional pets policy fee, deny you reasonable accommodation or evict you for the mere fact of having an ESA. Although you do need to be careful, there are some specific occurrences which may allow the landlord to deny you reasonable accommodation.

You may also be asked for verification of your ESA and the associated disability – don’t worry, this is where CertaPet can help you! Highlighted below are a few points worth noting when searching for housing.

  • There are some types of housing with exception to this law. 
  • If your ESA causes damage to the property, this would be at your expense and may enable the landlord to deny you housing.
  • If you have multiple ESAs (which you can), the housing provider must consider each request for an assistance animal on a case-by-case basis, just like any other reasonable accommodation request.

ESA Campus Housing

The good news is when getting an emotional support animal in Oregan, you’ll be allowed to stay with your ESA on campus housing!

Don’t let an ESA get in the way of study either!

The FHA covers all university on-campus housing too. Yes, that does mean you can take your ESA with you when you move away from home! All Universities must appreciate the importance of ESAs and provide you with reasonable accommodation, regardless of where in Oregon you decide to study.

This is thanks to the federal FHA, however, this does not allow for ESAs to be in other areas of the university like the food hall or academic buildings. Nonetheless, taking an ESA with you away to study makes it all a little less daunting!

Exception to Rules

With all these rules and regulations working in our favor, there are some small exceptions to the law you need to be 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 other tenants (even in pet-friendly housing), this can enable the landlord to deny you fair housing.
  • During air-travel you may incur further regulations if you’re traveling internationally (or to Hawaii). Airlines may also require advanced notice due to country-specific regulations.

Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal

In Oregon, there is no explicit law regarding the misrepresentation of an assistance animal. However, due to an uprise of people taking advantage of this, Oregon state is beginning to crack down on this cheating behavior.

There are, however, laws in place for attempting to charge a fee for licensing an assistance animal, where no such licensing exists!

4 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 Oregon 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. Companion animals that can become ESAs include miniature horses, birds, and even rabbits!  Oregon is also one of the few states where service animals are not restricted to just dogs either—imagine seeing miniature horses as service animals!
  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 Oregon touched by the owner while walking around between owner's legs

ESAs are actually easy to find! An emotional support dog doesn’t need any special training, so if you have a pet, you’re halfway there already! There are plenty of Animal Shelters and Dog Rescue centers throughout all major cities of Oregon.

Most have furry friends of all shapes and sizes! Go online to find the closest shelter to you, or even better find the local adoption page! Where ever you decide to get your support animal, you should get a general health background check done, this will give you an idea of the care and potential expenses.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

Looking for somewhere to wind down with your support dog? Check out a few pet-friendly places in Oregon.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

In Portland you’ll find:

  • Sellwood Riverfront Park
  • Mt. Tabor Park

Salem:

  • Orchard Heights Park
  • Minto-Brown Island  Park

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

Bite to eat? in Portland, check out:

  • Tin Shed Garden Cafe
  • Oaks Bottom Public House

In Salem:

  • Mt.Angel Sausage
  • Gilgamesh Brewing

Resorts, fitness, and spas

Only in Portland for a couple nights? go to:

  • Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel
  • Lion Red Hotel on the River

Or Staying over in Salem? Head to:

  • Days Inn Black Bear
  • Hotel 6 Salem

Events

Annually Portland hosts a dog-friendly wine tasting event! Mark August in your calendars and head to Wine and Woofs with your support dog for a good time.

An Emotional Support Animal in Oregon: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!

The sooner you get in touch with CertaPet, the sooner we can help you get in touch with a Licensed Mental Health Professional! Join the thousands of other Americans with disabilities benefiting from animal-assisted therapy, start with CertaPets’ simple screening process today!

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