Emotional support animals offer comfort and support to people with all kinds of mental health issues. Read on to learn all about what emotional support animals are, the legislation surrounding assistance animals, and where to take your emotional support animal in Wyoming!
Emotional Support Animal in Wyoming: Specific Protection
There are laws are in place to protect the rights of Americans with disabilities in their homes (rented accommodation), at work, in public places, and while traveling. Among other things, the Acts protect the rights of people with disabilities to bring assistance animals into places where pets are not normally allowed.
Definition of Assistance Animal
Before going into more detail on the Acts, we’ll cover different definitions of assistance animals. An “Assistance animal” is a general term that can describe an animal that helps individuals with disabilities. Assistance animals are grouped by the kind of assistance they offer to people with disabilities.
There are two main kinds of assistance animal:
- Service animals: service animals are highly trained to perform tasks for persons with disabilities. These tasks could be helping people in wheelchairs with mobility-related tasks, predicting seizures, or being seeing-eye dogs for the blind. Dogs are the most common service animals, because of their loyalty and trainability.
- Emotional support animals: emotional support animals (also known as companion animals or ESAs) do not need special training. Rather, through a strong human-animal bond, they are able to give comfort and support to people with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety. Emotional support animals can also help people who need extra support, like at-risk youth. Any domesticated animal can be an emotional support animal, including dogs, cats, birds, and even miniature horses.
Under the Acts mentioned above, service animals are afforded the most protection. ESAs have some protection, and therapy animals are not covered.
How to get an Emotional Support Animal in Wyoming: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process
- The first step to getting an emotional support animal in Wyoming is to read up on what exactly ESAs are, what they do, and whether one could help you.
- Next, you’ll need to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal. CertaPet has a free 5-minute screening process that can help you assess if you are eligible for an emotional support dog.
- If you find that you are eligible, CertaPet can then connect you with a licensed mental health professional in Wyoming. You can then get your ESA letter within 2 business days. Simple!
An emotional support letter is an official document that proves your need for an ESA. It must be less than a year old and on letterhead paper or a prescription pad from a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional. The ESA letter must state the following:
- That you have a diagnosed mental illness or mental health-related disability
- The emotional support animal accompanying you is necessary for your mental health or treatment
- The type of animal you have as an ESA, and how many
- That the issuer of the letter is a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional, and you are under their treatment or care for a mental disability
- The issuer’s license number, type of license, the license issue date, and the state or jurisdiction where it was issued.
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
The purpose of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is to protect people with disabilities against discrimination by commercial airlines. Part of the ACAA is that passengers can travel with service animals and emotional support animals free of charge, even if the airline usually forbids pets from traveling in the cabin.
It is worth noting, however, that in recent years most commercial airlines have significantly tightened their rules regarding emotional support animals. These rules (which do not apply for service dogs) may include:
- Only allowing the passenger to bring an emotional support dog or cat, no other animals (for example, a miniature horse!)
- Requiring passengers to provide an ESA letter and additional documentation, such as a vet certificate. This is sometimes required 48 hours in advance of travel
- Restricting emotional support animals that are not properly cleaned or do not behave properly
CertaPet has lots of resources on flying with an ESA on various airlines, including Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit. For more information on ESA letters, see below.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is in place to protect persons with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. One of the ADA’s stipulations is people with service dogs must be able to bring them into the workplace. Employers must make “reasonable accommodation” to support them in doing so.
Although the ADA does not explicitly cover emotional support animals, many employers will accept them is they are well-behaved, with an ESA letter on a case-by-case basis.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
The Fair Housing Act protects tenants with disabilities from discrimination by landlords. The Act states that landlords must make “reasonable accommodation” in supporting tenants with disabilities, which includes keeping both emotional support animals and service dogs.
A landlord or housing provider may request an ESA letter before allowing the tenant to keep an emotional support animal, however.
ESA Campus Housing
On-campus housing is covered by the Fair Housing Act too, so students with service dogs or emotional support animals may bring them to university or college with them. Again, university housing providers may request an ESA letter.
Exception to Rules
The Acts that we’ve discussed here are primarily in place to protect people with service animals, with emotional support animals more of an add-on. As such, there are certain exceptions regarding ESAs. Any ESA that is unclean or gives off a foul odor, or an animal that cannot behave properly in public, can be refused.
Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal
The punishment for misrepresenting a service dog or emotional support animal in Wyoming is a fine of up to $750, so make sure that you have the proper documentation.
4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
Before you get an emotional support animal in Wyoming, brush up on the following facts:
- Emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. They have different training and roles, and the federal law treats them both differently. See above for full definitions of both.
- An emotional support animal must be prescribed by a medical doctor or licensed mental health professional. They will do this by issuing an ESA letter. The MD or LMHP must hold a valid license that is specific to your state, and they must be treating you as a patient for a mental health issue.
- An emotional support animal letter is the only acceptable proof of your need for an ESA. Any service that offers to certify or register your pet as an emotional support animal is a scam. We go into more detail on ESA letters below.
- ESAs aren’t required to wear harnesses, tags or vests that identify them as an ESA in public. However, we strongly recommend getting one. Remember though: a vest or ID badge alone is not enough to identify an ESA. Only an ESA letter can do that!
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
Here at CertaPet, we like to recommend visiting animal shelters to find your perfect emotional support animal. There are lots of dogs and cats with love to give, just looking for a good home. Other people prefer to train an ESA up from a puppy, but remember that this could be a lot of work and responsibility.
Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal Once you have your emotional support animal in Wyoming, you’ll want to go places together. ESAs are not guaranteed the same access to public places that service dogs are, but there are still plenty of pet-friendly places to take your emotional support animal in Wyoming.
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
Taking your emotional support dog to a dog park or run is a great way to blow off some steam and bond. Wyoming has some great dog runs, including:
- Bitter Creek Bark Park in Rock Springs
- O-SO Fun Dog Park in Gillette.
Dog-friendly restaurants and bars
Grab a bite to eat and drink with your emotional support dog in tow at one of Wyoming’s many dog-friendly restaurants and bars.
- Cafe Genevieve in Jackson
- Pat O’Hara Brewing Company in Cody
- Accomplice Beer Company in Cheyenne
Resorts, fitness, and spas
Wyoming has a number of dog-friendly hotels and resorts where you and your emotional support dog can get away from it all, such as:
- Snow King Resort Hotel in Jackson Hole
- Elk Country Inn in Jackson
- The Cody in Cody
Wyoming hosts a number of dog-friendly events in public parks each summer. Keep your eyes open for local listings that you could attend with your emotional support dog!
ESAs in Wyoming: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
Getting an emotional support animal in Wyoming needn’t be a long, expensive or difficult process. The most important step is to get connected with a licensed mental health professional in your state, which CertaPet can help with, getting you an ESA letter in as little as 2 days!