Laws & Steps To Get One In 2023

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Are you a resident of Idaho interested in getting your own emotional support animal[1] (ESA)? If so, you need to know the laws and regulations governing ESAs to protect you against discriminatory practices, as well as to take advantage of the benefits that come with having an emotional support animal.

In this article, we will talk about the different federal and state laws that apply to ESA ownership, how to get an ESA letter, and some other important points to remember about owning an assistance animal while residing in Idaho.

Emotional Support Animal Idaho: The Laws

  • Emotional support animals are not the same as service animals.
  • ESAs do not need any specific training and can be any type of animal.
  • Idaho law does not specifically offer special protection for emotional support animals.
  • If you want to keep your support animal with you, you will have to keep them in pet-friendly housing and public spaces.
  • ESA letters can no longer be used to bring animals on flights or in other public spaces. 

Emotional Support Animal Laws In Idaho

If you have an emotional support animal in Idaho, you will not have a hard time finding housing, travel, and public accommodations!

1. Laws For Travel

The Air Carrier Access Act is a law that allows a person with a disability to bring assistance dogs on flights and other types of transportation without paying a fee. According to new policies created by the Department of Transportation,[2] service dogs are the only type of assistance animal protected by this law. 

If you want to bring your emotional support animal on a flight, you will have to pay a pet fee and follow the same rules as owners of all other animals. 

Fortunately, emotional support animals traveling on public transportation systems like buses and trains are subject to the same rules as service animals! According to Idaho law, a person with mental or emotional disability and their ESA cannot be denied the use of public transportation.

2. Housing Laws

The Federal Fair Housing Act states that reasonable accommodations[3] must be made for all assistance animals. People who are looking to rent a place to live can file for a reasonable accommodation request for themselves and their ESA. 

A housing provider may be required to waive a pet deposit or allow emotional support dogs to live in a residence with a no-pets policy. In short, individuals with certain mental health conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders can request that their ESA be allowed to live with them. 

The only caveat is that your ESA must possess basic social and obedience skills to be able to live with the other tenants. Unlike service animals, ESAs do not need to go through rigorous training, but they should be able to demonstrate good behavior and not pose any risk of harm or property damage. 

3. Public Spaces

According to the Idaho legislature, emotional support animals are protected in public spaces the same way that service dogs are. As long as your ESA “alleviates one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s mental and emotional disability,” they will be given full and equal access to public spaces and transportation. 

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): An Overview

emotional support animal idaho
Any type of animal can provide emotional support and comfort. Photo: Shutterstock

Emotional support animals play an important role in helping people manage their mental and emotional disabilities. They can be any type of animal – a dog, cat, or bird, you name it! If your animal companion brings comfort and companionship that is necessary for your emotional healing, they could easily qualify as an ESA. 

Because emotional support animals provide valuable therapeutic support, they are protected by the law and enjoy numerous benefits. The state of Idaho,[4] for example, offers emotional support animals the ability to access public spaces and public transport. Federal housing legislation has also granted certain rights to ESAs.

Interested in learning more? Read on to keep updated on the latest news about emotional support animals in Idaho!

ESA Vs. Service Animal: Important Things To Remember

The U.S. Department of Justice[5] states that a service animal must be trained to perform tasks that help a human manage their physical or mental impairment. Service animals could be dogs that can interrupt self-harming behaviors, hearing dogs, and seeing eye dogs. 

According to federal law, a trained service animal that helps with a disability-related need must be given full and equal access to public spaces as often as possible. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people with service animals cannot be denied housing, jobs, or travel opportunities. 

An emotional support animal, however, is not protected by federal laws like the Air Carrier Access Act or the ADA. While some airlines still make reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals, they are not required by law to do so. 

It is important to note that a psychiatric service animal is not the same as an emotional support animal. Psychiatric service animals are protected by the ADA. These dogs can help a person with a psychiatric disability by warning them when a panic attack is coming or preventing self-harming behaviors. 

3 Steps To Get A Legitimate ESA Letter In Idaho 

emotional support animal idaho
A licensed mental health professional can help you get an ESA. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Talk To A Therapist

If you want to get an ESA, you will need to speak with a licensed mental health professional and ask for a mental health evaluation. This will help your psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or therapist to know if an ESA can indeed offer a therapeutic benefit for you.

2. Get Evaluated

Emotional support animals are specifically recommended for people with a diagnosed mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you are not clinically diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder but are concerned about your mental health, the best thing to do is to get evaluated.

From there, you may discuss your treatment options with your doctor or therapist, and the possibility of getting an ESA.

3. Get Your ESA Letter

Once your licensed mental health professional determines a need for an ESA, the next step is acquiring an ESA letter. This will serve as your ESA’s official documentation so it is important to have the paperwork with you when you apply for housing.

Many websites also claim to provide people with a valid ESA letter. If you choose to get your letter through an online service, make sure you choose a legitimate and trustworthy company such as Certapet. 

Things You Need To Know Before Getting Your ESA

  • In the state of Idaho, emotional support animals have rights that ensure public accommodations. 
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act states that service animals must be specifically trained to perform disability-related tasks. Emotional support animals are not required to have this training.
  • An ESA will not grant you the legal right to bring your animal on a plane or avoid pet fees. 
  • Idaho law require housing providers or other lodging establishments to accommodate emotional support animals. 

Places In Idaho To Bring Your Emotional Support Animal

If you have an ESA, you may also take them to pet-friendly spaces such as public parks and restaurants. Here is a list of pet-friendly places that welcome animal companions.

Parks

  • Amity Park – Nampa, ID.
  • Snake River Animal Park – Idaho Falls, ID.
  • Baxter’s Dog Park – Twin Falls, ID.
  • Mountain View Park – Moscow, ID.
  • Pennys Memorial Park – Lewiston, ID.
  • Redwood Park – Boise, ID.

Bars and Restaurants

  • Fork – Boise, ID.
  • Miners Gate – Twin Falls, ID.
  • Highlands Hollow Brewhouse – Boise, ID.
  • Salmon River Brewery – McCall, ID.
  •  Frosty Gator – Idaho Falls, ID.
  • The Curb – Meridian, ID.
  • 10 Barrel Brewing – Boise, ID.

Conclusion

In Idaho, emotional support animals are protected by both federal and state laws. ESAs and their owners are entitled to certain housing benefits and access to public spaces and transportation. If you are looking to travel, Idaho may be one of the best states to visit for you and your ESA!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ESA?

An ESA is an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals provide comfort to people with mental disabilities like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. A licensed mental health professional may recommend an ESA as part of the treatment plan for these types of disorders.

Is an ESA the same as a service dog?

An ESA is not the same as a service dog. Service animals are specially trained to perform a disability-related task. Examples of service dogs include seeing-eye dogs, hearing dogs, or dogs that can warn their owners of low blood sugar or seizures.

What accommodations are made for therapy dogs?

Only service animals, and emotional support animals to some extent, qualify for special accommodations. Federal and state laws do not offer any specific protections for therapy dogs.

How do I qualify for a psychiatric service dog?

Psychiatric service dogs can be trained to interrupt self-harm or guide their owner to a safe place during a panic attack. If you think your mental health disorder is severe enough to need the help of a trained service dog, talk to your medical provider about this option.

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