Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Colorado Legally

Stressful situations happen to us every day, but it is much more important how we respond to them. If a person knows how to quickly switch his or her attention and let go of the situation, it is easier for him or her to cope with stress. However, many people need help with this. And many look for that help in emotional support animals.

If you live in constant stress and suffer from mental maladies, contact your therapist to aid you to solve this problem. One possible solution is emotional support animals. These are companion animals that help their owners to relax, feel protected and reduce the level of general tension. This is why ESAs have become so popular across the country.

However, do not forget that, despite federal laws and regulations regarding ESA, each state may have local laws that regulate the activities of these animals. One such state is Colorado.

Distinctive features of the ESA

ESA DOG selfie

Emotional support animals are a special kind of companion animal that should be distinguished from service animals and regular pets. Unlike service animals, ESAs do not receive special taming and are not designed to perform specific tasks aimed at making life easier for people with inabilities. ESAs are first of all friends who are called to brighten up the loneliness of their handlers and bring vivid emotions and events into a person’s life. Because emotional support animals are not “qualified” enough, the ADA does not list them as assistance ones. Therefore, humans also often confuse ESAs with regular pets.

However, if you look into the details, everything becomes clear. In fact, any pet can bring joy and happiness to its owner, give peace and tranquility, and support in difficult times. Animals do not need any statuses and documents for this. Nevertheless, legally, your pet can only be considered an emotional support animal if you have an ESA letter issued by your therapist. This document indicates that you have a mental or emotional frustration for which an animal is required.

If you have already a doctor’s letter, you can register your ESA pet with MyServiceAnimal registrar online and order an emotional service dog harness, animal tag, and leash.

The growing prevalence of Emotional Support Animals

Every year more and more people pay attention to their psychological health. Scientists have long proven that disorders in the human psyche also affect the physical condition. Therefore, over the past few years, many people have turned to psychologists and psychotherapists for qualified aid.

Today, more and more people are experiencing panic attacks, anxiety attacks, depression, OCD, and other psychic disturbances. Any of these disorders significantly affects a person’s quality of life, so therapists are trying new methods to make the treatment more effective. Emotional support animals help manage the symptoms of these frustrations. The animal is able to calm a person, distract him or her from obsessive and suicidal thoughts, and cope with stress and aggression.

In addition, ESA are four-legged companions that save us from loneliness. When caring for an animal, a human feels his significance and importance. Moreover, the sense of security and protection that animals, such as emotional support dogs, provide makes a person more self-confident. Unsociable and withdrawn people become sociable and easier to make new acquaintances.

How to get an ESA in Colorado?

ESA Cat ID card

To become the owner of an emotional support animal, you need to contact a mental health specialist. After several consultations, the therapist will be able to make a detailed assessment of your psycho-emotional state and prescribe the right treatment for you.

One type of supportive therapy can be an ESA. There are no contraindications for ESA as such. If you have already noticed that interacting with animals helps you alleviate the symptoms of the malady, tell your therapist about it. This will help. Yet, if you suffer from allergic reactions to animals or have a phobia, no specialist can recommend an emotional support animal as a therapy.

Learn What to Do If Your Therapist Won’t Write You an ESA Letter

Specific paperwork

If your therapist does recommend that you get an emotional support animal, you should be issued an ESA letter. This is the only document required for the ESA. You can get it in person or online, it doesn’t matter. However, it is important that this document meets all requirements and is issued to you by a qualified, licensed professional.

Colorado law requires every emotional support animal owner to have an ESA letter from their therapist. This is the only document that confirms the status of the animal. So if you already have a pet, simply registering on the website won’t be enough to make it an emotional support animal in Colorado. What’s more, many websites simply scam money from gullible users who want to register their pet as an ESA. Nevertheless, the only way to do this legally is to see a licensed professional who can assess your mental health and recommend ESA as an additional therapy.

If you already have an ESA letter and have chosen an animal, make sure to purchase everything you need for the animal in advance. The MyServiceAnimal service can help with this. There you will find everything you need for your emotional support animal from pet tags to leashes and harnesses.

General legal regulations

Rules of conduct for ESA

The main thing to remember about ESAs is that they are not officially assistance animals. In Colorado, the status of ESAs is also no different from their status in other states because this area is regulated by federal laws. Accordingly, emotional support animals do not have as many freedoms as service ones.

For example, ESAs cannot accompany their owners to public places where animals are not allowed, such as cafes and restaurants. If you try to get an ESA into such an establishment by passing it off as a service animal, you can be fined up to $500.

The only area where ESAs have sufficient rights across the country is housing. Emotional support animals are allowed to live with their owners, even in buildings where animals are prohibited. There is a minimum percentage of situations in which the landlord will be able to refuse you and your animal accommodation. What’s more, tenants are not required to pay an additional pet fee or provide a deposit to the landlord.

In Colorado, there are also some additional laws for ESAs in air travel and employment. These lows were issued by local state authorities. Therefore you must be aware that laws may differ in from state to state all over the country.

Housing rights for ESA in Colorado

In order to protect tenants with emotional support animals from discrimination and violation of their rights, a special law was developed in the United States. According to this law, any discrimination against people with disabilities or psychical disorders is unacceptable. One of the manifestations of discrimination can be considered the refusal of the landlord to accommodate tenants with their emotional support animals.

When looking for a home, you must tell the housing provider that you have an emotional support animal and provide an ESA letter as proof. The landlord does not have the right to refuse you to live with an animal, and also he or she cannot evict you from the house without sufficient grounds. Also, don’t forget that ESA’s stay in the home should be free and you are also exempt from paying a pet deposit. At the same time, it is worth noting that all responsibility for possible damage caused by animals will lie with you.

However, there are situations in which the landlord has the right to refuse to provide you with reasonable accommodation. If you cannot provide an ESA letter or provide a fake document, not only will you not receive housing, but you will also be breaking the law, for which you will be held liable. Even if you provide an ESA letter but the animal looks aggressive or untidy, the landlord also has the right to refuse you.

In Colorado, these same laws apply to college campuses. However, the university management may be silent about this. So if you are a student, remember that you have the option to live with your emotional support animal at no additional cost.

It is also worth considering that hotels do not fall under the jurisdiction of this law. Therefore, the possibility of accommodation in a hotel with a pet should be checked with managers in advance.

Learn about Housing Rights for Service Animals

Traveling with an ESA animal

Funny photo of the Akita inu dog

ESA transportation in public transport and air travel with animals is currently prohibited in Colorado. However, trains and buses may make concessions if the animal is small and you have all the necessary documents, including the ESA letter and the animal’s health certificate. Also, for transporting animals, you must have special devices.

First of all, we recommend getting a muzzle and harness for the animal. This way you can keep other passengers safe. Even if your pet is not prone to aggression, a large crowd of people can scare it. At the same time, people and the company will feel safer if the dog is muzzled.

It is also worth mentioning the importance of a properly selected carrier for the animal. The carrier should fit the animal in size and not hinder its movement, because in a confined space your pet can become aggressive. It is also important that the carrier is durable and does not leak if the animal has to defecate in it. You can place the carrier at the feet so that it does not interfere with the free movement of passengers around the vehicle.

Until recently, emotional support animals in Colorado were allowed to accompany their owners in the cabin of a plane during flights. However, the law was recently amended to only allow service animals in the cabim. This is argued by the fact that ESAs do not have sufficient training and can be uncontrollable, especially against the backdrop of stress from the flight. However, there are still pet friendly airlines you can use.

Other benefits for ESA owners in Colorado

All employers try to monitor the psychological state of their employees. After all, any disorders can result in chronic fatigue and professional burnout, which is fraught for the company. People with mental frustrations often become less productive, cannot concentrate on the task at hand, lose faith in themselves and their strengths, and eventually cease to cope even with routine tasks. Therefore, each company tries to maintain a comfortable psychological atmosphere in the office.

Under Colorado law, an employer cannot refuse an employee’s request to attend work with a service animal. However, emotional support animals are not allowed in most offices. If you’re confident that an ESA will help increase your productivity and that its presence will improve the quality of your work, try talking to the company’s HR about it. Even if you are not allowed to bring ESAs to work every day, you may be able to find a compromise. For example, many companies practice pet days in their offices to increase the happiness levels of their employees.

Learn Where You Have the Right to Take Your Emotional Support Animal

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