Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Arizona

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nal Support Animal in ArizonaConsidering getting an emotional support dog? Do you want to learn more about getting an emotional support animal in Arizona?

When a person has a vision impairment, they can use a service dog and know that they are legally entitled to have their service dog with them, even in areas where animals normally aren’t allowed.

Did you know that people with certain psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD and anxiety, can make use of similar protections and have a companion animal with them? Read on to find out everything you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Arizona.

Emotional Support Animal in Arizona: Specific protection

In Arizona and around the United States, people make use of service animals to assist them with daily tasks. However, not as well-known are the people in Arizona who use emotional support animals to provide comfort and companionship to assist with specific psychiatric and emotional conditions.

While service dogs are protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, people who use emotional support animals must look towards other legislation to understand their rights.

Definition of Assistance Animal

Some people use the term assistance animal as a catch-all for any animal that helps people, including service animals, therapy animals, and emotional support animals. However, there is a difference between these three types of assistance animal, and the legislation reflects this distinction.

Service Dog biting a leather strap to open a door for a woman on wheelchair

While a service animal is highly trained and performs a specific task for a person with physical disabilities, an emotional support animal offers companionship for a person with emotional and/or mental disabilities. Yes, they are both assistance animals but are very different when it comes down to who they serve.

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

Woman hugging and caressing ESA cat in Arizona

CertaPet makes the process of obtaining an ESA letter surprisingly simple. The process begins with the completion of a free, confidential, five-minute online questionnaire, which will tell you everything you need to know about getting an emotional support animal in Arizona and whether you could qualify.

Approved people with a qualifying condition such as a panic disorder, mood disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression or anxiety, could then have an ESA letter written by a licensed mental health professional and available in as little as 48 business hours.

Make sure you take the CertaPet Pre-screening process to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal!

Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)

For many people considering getting an emotional support animal in Arizona, one of the primary reasons to do so is to be able to have a support animal accompany them on an airplane. The good news is that emotional support animals, just like service animals, are permitted on the aircraft according to the provisions of the Air Carrier Access Act. However, it is required to bring a letter in order to fly (and live!) with their emotional support animal.

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 health condition or mental health-related disability
  • The emotional support animal accompanying you is necessary for your mental health or treatment.
  • The type of animal you are bringing, and how many
  • That the issuer of the letter is a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional, and that you are under their treatment or care for a mental health disorder
  • The issuer’s license number, type of license, the license issue date, and the state or jurisdiction where it was licensed.

But remember, some airlines call for additional documentation such as a veterinary health form, signed approval of the animal’s behavior, and more. Read up on our Airlines Pet Policy for more information.

Employment Laws

If you have been thinking about getting an emotional support animal in Arizona, you may have been told that you won’t be able to take your support animal into your work because the Americans with Disabilities Act does not make an allowance for support animals.

While this is the case, the Act does, however, state that employees with disabilities must not be discriminated against because of those disabilities. For this reason, employers who have five or more employees must, under the Act, make allowances for a person who can prove that they require an emotional support animal.

Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)

What would be the point of getting an emotional support animal in Arizona if the animal was not permitted to live with you? The good news is that the Fair Housing Act has taken care of the issue, stating that landlords have a responsibility to provide “reasonable accommodation” to people with disabilities.

This includes allowing an emotional support animal to live in rental premises with its owner, provided the owner has sufficient proof that they require an assistance animal. A letter from a mental health professional is required to satisfy this requirement.

ESA Campus Housing

Do the provisions of the Fair Housing Act apply to college dorms and university campuses? Yes, they do, which is excellent news for people require the services of an assistance animal while attending college or university. Under the Fair Housing Act, the college or university can request to see an ESA letter to prove that a support dog or other assistance animal is required.

Exception to Rules

Before you decide about getting an emotional support animal in Arizona, be mindful that there are limited exceptions to the laws which allow emotional support animals to be given certain protections.

For example, if a landlord can prove that an animal poses a threat to others or has caused property damage, they can lawfully deny a request for the animal to live on the premises.

However, the threat must relate to the particular animal, not just to animals in general or animals of a certain size, species, or breed.

Punishment for misrepresenting an assistance animal

When considering getting an emotional support animal in Arizona, it is vital to keep in mind that you must never say that an animal is an assistance animal until you have the official ESA letter.

In a similar way, you must ensure to never attempt to pass your animal off as a service dog, even if you have an ESA letter.

It is an offense to do so in many states, with penalties ranging from fines to community service and even jail time. Misrepresentation of assistance animals is not expressly provided for in Arizona laws; however, penalties could still apply.

4 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

  1. Only a licensed mental health professional can provide an ESA letter to state that a person needs an emotional support animal.
  2. The Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act make specific provisions for reasonable accommodation to be provided to people who require a companion animal.
  3. Emotional support animals do not need to be “certified” since no special training is required.
  4. Emotional support animals cannot be taken into shopping malls, restaurants, and other public places unless those places are already pet-friendly.

Where to Find a Suitable ESA!

Suitable ESAs can be found almost anywhere, even in your local pet shelter or rescue center. This is because an ESA letter is made out to the person with the emotional or mental disability, not to the animal.

Remember that emotional support dogs and other animals do not undergo any specific training. This means that potentially any animal can become an emotional support animal, provided they are the right fit for the person who needs the support.

Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal

Arizona is renowned for its pet-friendly facilities, leaving you with a variety of options of where to take your emotional support animal.

Dog Parks and Dog Runs

Arizona is famous for its dog-friendly activities, with multitudes of dog runs and dog-friendly areas in Phoenix alone. When visiting the state capital, consider spending time at:

  • RJ Dog Park at Pecos Park
  • South Mountain Park and Preserve
  • Echo Mountain Off Leash Arena at Grovers Basin.

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars

In Arizona, you will never be lacking in choice when it comes to pet-friendly restaurants that welcome pets joining their owners at outdoor tables. If visiting Phoenix, consider visiting:

  • Breadcrafters Bakery & Café
  • Hula’s Modern Tiki
  • The Farm at South Mountain

Resorts, fitness, and spas

Being the pet-friendly state that it is, hotels in Arizona pride themselves on welcoming pets of various sizes into their facilities. For example, the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix allows dogs of any size, while some establishments such as the Artsy Bungalow near the airport in Phoenix, allow a maximum of one pet per room, and only allow small dogs.

Events

People in Arizona love taking their animals – whether service animals, emotional support animals, or pets – to animal-friendly events. The next large-scale pet-friendly event in Arizona is the Fourth Annual Doggie Street Festival, scheduled to be held in Phoenix in January 2019.

However, local areas tend to run their own smaller-scale animal-friendly events, so keep an eye on your local newspaper to see what’s coming up.

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

Ready to start the process of obtaining an ESA letter to allow your emotional support animal to accompany you in your apartment, on airplanes, and in other situations? All you need to do is complete CertaPet’s simple five minutes online questionnaire.

It’s free, it’s confidential, and it will start you on the path towards having your own ESA letter to make life with your companion animal much easier.

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