Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Michigan?

If you have been established with psychic maladies, your therapist may put forward taking into consideration emotional support animals as a possible adjunctive therapy option to speed up your recovery. However, before becoming an ESA owner in Michigan, there is information you should notice about ESAs and their characteristics.

What Is an ESA?

ESA cat a dog together

Emotional support animals are associates that are a form of therapy for those suffering from a variety of mental frustrations. ESAs are designed to bring comfort and peace to their owners and help clear the mind from extraneous thoughts that can cause stress and tension. They are a great solace after a difficult working day, as well as an opportunity to get rid of anxieties and worries that worsen a person’s psycho-emotional state.

The most common psychological disturbance in the world is depression. Its symptoms include predominantly depressed mood, reduced interest in what used to be pleasurable, sleep disturbances, fatigue and loss of energy, lack of concentration, thoughts of one’s own inferiority, as well as suicidal tendencies. Another mental disorder that has become very common recently is anxiety. People with anxiety are often upset and tense, they feel stressed and uncomfortable all the time. An anxiety disorder can greatly affect a person’s daily life. It is often accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness, increased physical sensations, and irregular heartbeat.

Communicating with animals literally improves our mood and makes us happier. In addition, some analyses have found that interacting with animals has a calming effect, helping to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Animals have a positive effect on the human heart, so dog and cat owners have a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Besides, the change in the usual daily routine, which is often a consequence of animal ownership, also has a positive effect on a person’s inner state. Most mental disorders are often associated with performing monotonous routine tasks, and breaking away from them can be just the change needed to start the healing process.

Does the State of Michigan Validate ESAs?

Michigan ESA pet shop

In Michigan, as in the rest of the United States, emotional support animals pass for a complementary method of psychotherapy that accompanies medication and regular meetings with mental health professionals. Typically, emotional support animals in Michigan are assigned to patients suffering from various mental issues, including severe ones such as PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as to children with autism and other intellectual and learning disabilities.

Emotional support animals also help to cope with psychoses and neuroses, calming their owners and acting as a connecting link between an individual and reality. Moreover, ESAs help to cope with panic attacks and flashbacks more quickly and protect their handlers until they regain control of the situation. Also, animals notice physiological changes in a person, such as an acceleration of the pulse or blood pressure, so they can wake up a handler if they have a nightmare.

In Michigan, there are no specific laws that define the breeds of animals that can be ESAs. Therefore, along with common cats and dogs, most other domesticated animals can also be ESAs. They include both large animals, such as miniature horses, and very tiny animals, such as rabbits, rats, hamsters, and gophers. By the way, reptiles can also be emotional support animals. The main rule is that the animal should have enough free space in the house and should not pose a threat to others.

How become an ESA owner in Michigan?

If you notice the slightest change in your non-physical state or any symptoms of psychical disorders, the first thing you should do is see a therapist or mental health professional. The specialist will give an initial assessment of your psychological state, find out the type of disorder you have to deal with, and will be able to choose a therapy that can speed up your recovery as much as possible. One possible form of therapy in Michigan for mental disorders is with the help of ESAs.

If the psychotherapist or psychologist thinks that an ESA can help you cope with your psychological problems more quickly, you will receive an ESA letter from them. This paper confirms your need for an emotional support animal, authenticates its official status, and, accordingly, gives the animal fixed legal rights. However, to be legally binding, the ESA letter must be drafted in accordance with applicable Michigan law.

Currently, an ESA letter in Michigan can be issued by a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or social worker who is adequately qualified and understands the impact of emotional support animals on a person’s mental state. A legitimate ESA letter must confirm that you have a mental disorder that requires therapy involving ESAs. This certificate must also contain the contact information of the specialist who issued it and their current license number. Your therapist won’t write an ESA letter? You can try to use some legitimate online services, fill out some questionnaire and get it in a few days.

ESA companion animals are not in need of special training, so you can buy an animal from specialized companies or take it from a shelter. You can also certificate your pet as an emotional support animal. In addition, if you received an ESA letter from a doctor, we recommend that you also issue an Emotional Support Animal ID card, ESA Harness, Pet Tag, Support animal leash, and other ESA accessories at the registrar’s MyServiceAnimal. Usually, ESAs do not require additional registration, but having an ID card or a pet tag can make your ownership of an emotional support animal way more convenient.

Register your animal
ID card & online registration
Online registration
Only online registration
ID card & online registration
Online registration
Only online registration
ID card & online registration
Only online registration

The Freedoms for Emotional Support Animals in Michigan

The top two most repeated affairs for emotional support animal owners in Michigan are the ability to travel and the ability to live with their animals. According to recent changes to the Air Carrier Access Act, ESAs in Michigan are no longer able to travel in the cabin of an airplane with their handlers, as service animals do.

You can choose other transport methods for your ESA. For example, it can be transporting an animal in the baggage compartment or using the services of pet-friendly airlines. In both of these cases, you will need special equipment for the animal, such as a harness, a muzzle, and a special pet carrier. In addition, make sure in advance that the animal has a sufficient supply of food and water for the duration of the flight, as well as the chance to satisfy its other physiological needs.

The Fair Housing Act is currently the only law that directly addresses emotional support animals in Michigan. Under this principle, any housing provider must ensure accommodation for you and your animal, regardless of the pet rules that exist in the building. You do not have to pay extra for the dwelling place for the animal. You also cannot be evicted unless there are sufficient objective grounds for this. This law also applies to university campuses, which is especially important for students. However, please note that hotels and motels are not covered by the FHA, so the possibility of an animal living in these places is discussed in advance with the management of the establishment.

ESA dog in cafe

What if your rights and the rights of your emotional support animal have been violated?

Since the main law that applies to the ESA is the FHA, most of the offenses are related to the field of housing. This law protects both your rights and the landlord’s rights. So you should know that a landlord cannot prohibit an animal from living in the building based only on their own preferences, the size or breed of the animal, and without having sufficient grounds for this. You also don’t have to pay pet taxes or deposits for an emotional support animal because it’s not a pet.

At the same time, the proprietor must not change or specially equip the building for your residence and the residence of the animal. If it is necessary, you can discuss the possibility of additional equipment for the building at your expense. Also, in the event of damage to property or other residents, all responsibility for the consequences of the animal’s actions rests with the animal owner.

In all other areas, regrettably, you cannot claim a special attitude for an emotional support animal, as this is not required by Michigan law. If you feel that your rights have been violated and you’re discriminated against, you can contact local authorities, for example, the local Department of Housing and Urban Development, and file a complaint about the person’s actions. In the case of the detection of an offense, the guilty person shall be subject to administrative liability and shall be obliged to pay fine and moral damages.

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