An emotional support animal in West Virginia is defined as an assistance animal who helps those with mental and emotional disabilities. ESAs are best suited to those suffering from depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Their job is to provide a sense of comfort, safety, and security to these individuals.
So, if you think you’re ready to get an emotional support animal, read on to find out more!
Emotional Support Animal in West Virginia: Specific protection
If you plan on getting an emotional support animal in the state of West Virginia, then you and your ESA will be protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Unfortunately, emotional support animals will not be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is because according to West Virginia’s White Cane Law, an emotional support animal is not a service animal.
Definition of Assistance Animal
Assistance animals are those who help people with disabilities. An assistance animal can be classed as an emotional support animal, a service dog, or a psychiatric service animal.
An emotional support dog is an assistance animal that provides a sense of comfort and safety to those with mental disabilities. Emotional support animals do not require any special training in order to qualify as an assistance animal.
According to the West Virginia’s White Cane Law, a service animal is defined as a trained dog who is able to perform tasks for persons with disabilities. Examples of service dogs include those who help guide people that are visually impaired.
Lastly, psychiatric service animals are dogs trained to help people with psychological disorders. For example, A person with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD may have frequent psychological episodes. So, their psychiatric service dog may be trained to block these negative episodes.
How to get an Emotional Support Animal: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process
If you’re ready to get an emotional support animal in West Virginia, then why not start by visiting CertaPet.com! CertaPet is a company that’s been created to help those obtain an emotional support animal letter, without having to leave the comfort of their home.
If you’d like to get started and see if you qualify for an ESA, then start by taking a quick, 5-minute pre-screening. By the end of this questionnaire, you can see if you qualify for an ESA letter or not. And, if you do qualify, then you’ll get a chance to connect to a licensed mental health professional!
The licensed mental health professional may further counsel you and analyze your emotional and mental health. If they do prescribe you a letter, then you can get it within 48-hours!
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
The Air Carrier Access Act states that no persons with disabilities shall be faced discrimination when traveling. This anti-discrimination law states that airlines should provide reasonable accommodation to those with service animals and emotional support animals.
All emotional support animals, including an emotional support animal in West Virginia, will be protected by the Air Carrier Access Act. However, to qualify for protection under this law, you’ll need to:
- Provide an emotional support animal letter that’s on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional
- You will have to give the airline a 48-hour notice, that you’ll be traveling with an assistance animal
- Airlines may require you to submit documents saying that your ESA will not defecate or urinate in the aircraft
- Finally, you will need to make sure that your ESA is in good behavior. Airlines are allowed to reject an ESA should the animal display aggressive behavior.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects those with service animals. This federal law states that a service animal—if necessary—is allowed to accompany their owners in a public environment. This includes accompanying owners at their workplace.
Unfortunately, an emotional support animal in West Virginia will not be warranted this same protection. Which means that your employer is under no obligation to allow your ESA into the workplace.
Nevertheless, some employers recognize the importance of the human-animal bond on mental health. So, if you do provide an ESA letter, you can potentially ask your employer to allow your ESA into the workplace.
However, bear in mind that an employer may make the decision on a case-by-basis.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
All assistance animals, including an emotional support animal in West Virginia, will be protected under the federal Fair Housing Act. This federal law prevents housing discrimination to individuals with disabilities.
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords or homeowners associations must:
- Provide reasonable accommodation to those with assistance animals
- Need to lift any no-pets policy, and
- Cannot charge any pet-fee
ESA Campus Housing
Students studying in any university in West Virginia will have the federal Fair Housing Act extended to campus housing. So, if you’re a student who’s choosing to live in on-campus housing, then you too will be protected under the federal Fair Housing Act.
Exception to Rules
Landlords and homeowners associations are allowed to deny a person of their ESA. More specifically if an ESA poses to be of direct threat to the public or if the ESA damages the property. Then a landlord has the right to reject an ESA.
Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal
Under the U.S law, it is illegal for people to misrepresent an assistance animal. However, the state of West Virginia currently does not state what the punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal is.
Most states in the United States may punish an individual for misrepresenting an assistance animal either through a fine, community service, imprisonment, or both!
3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
- An emotional support animal is not a pet! Therefore, when renting homes, a landlord cannot charge owners any pet-fee.
- Even though emotional support animals don’t require special training. It is still important to teach your ESA the basics! A misbehaved ESA or an aggressive ESA may be rejected by airlines or landlords.
- An emotional support animal does not have to be a dog! If you’re not a fan of dogs, then perhaps an emotional support cat, miniature horse, bird, or even pig may be better for you!
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
As we mentioned earlier—an emotional support animal can be any animal! ESAs do not have to be trained to qualify as an assistance animal. So, this means that you can get an emotional support animal from anywhere you want!
Do you want a dog or a cat as an emotional support animal? Then you should visit your local animal shelter or rescue to find one!
Where to Take your ESA!
Since emotional support animals aren’t allowed in public spaces, you can still treat your ESA to a night out! If you’ve got an emotional support dog, then you can take them to dog parks, runs, hiking trails, or even a pet-friendly restaurant!
Check out these pawesome pet-friendly places you can visit with your ESA!
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Does your emotional support dog love to run, play, and socialize with other dogs? Maybe they need to vist a dog park!
Check out these dog parks in West Virginia:
- Stanley’s Spot Dog Park: Morgantown, WV
- Huntington Pet Safe Dog Park: Huntington, WV
- Jackson Dog Park: Vienna, WV
Dog-friendly restaurants and bars
Heading out for lunch? Don’t leave your ESA behind. Check out these puplicious dog-friendly restaurants in West Virginia:
- Mountain State Brewing Co: Morgantown, WV
- Tricky Fish: Charleston, WV
- Table 9: Morgantown, WV
Resorts, fitness, and spas
Looking for a 5-star hotel that allows ESA? Check out these hotels in West Virginia:
- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Charleston West: Charleston, WV
- Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston West Virginia: Charleston, WV
- Morning Glory Inn: Snowshoe, WV
Even your ESA needs a bit of a break! So, get your calendars out and mark these pawesome events on your calendars:
- [email protected]
- Seneca Creek WV Beginner Backpack
ESAs in West Virginia: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
If you’re ready to get an emotional support animal in West Virginia then make sure you connect with a licensed mental health professional. Remember, only an LMHP can prescribe you a valid emotional support animal letter!