Through their calming presence, emotional support animals offer comfort and therapeutic benefits to their owners. The companionship of an ESA can be vital in helping an individual live with the challenges posed by an emotional, mental, or psychiatric disability.
Although owning an emotional support animal can be an essential part of a person's journey to better mental and emotional health, ESAs are not the same as service animals. If you are considering getting an ESA – or you already own one – it's essential to be aware of the laws and regulations limiting where emotional support animals are allowed to go. Like all US states, Idaho follows federal laws, but it also has some of its own rules. Read on to learn about the Idaho emotional support animal laws that could affect you and your assistance animal.
The Bottom Line
- What are emotional support animals? Emotional support animals are assistance animals that provide calming, therapeutic effects with their presence. An ESA can help you cope with mental or emotional difficulties.
- Are ESAs considered pets in Idaho? If you own an ESA, you know that their assistance makes them more than just a pet, even though they are not considered service animals. However, emotional support animals must follow the same regulations as pets in Idaho – with one major exception. With an official ESA letter, you can live anywhere with your ESA in Idaho – something you couldn't do with a pet.
- How do I get an ESA letter in Idaho? You'll need to complete a short assessment regarding your concerns and needs. Then you'll have a consultation with a licensed mental health professional. If they believe you need an ESA, they'll write and sign an official letter for you.
- Do landlords in Idaho have to accept ESAs? The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to accommodate emotional support animals and their owners. You only need to show your official ESA letter to your landlord to provide proof of your need.
- Ready to take the next step? Get your ESA letter! Our quick assessment will help determine whether you qualify for an emotional support animal letter. You can start the approval process today!
ESA Laws in Idaho
Emotional support animals can help you if you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental or emotional disabilities. Even though ESAs can benefit your health significantly, some laws restrict where your ESA can go.
Idaho ESA Housing Laws
Fortunately, because of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must make reasonable accommodations for you to live with your emotional support animal.
The Fair Housing Act protects you from housing discrimination based on race, religion, physical or mental disability, and more. It gives people with disabilities an equal opportunity to access housing. In most cases, if you have a valid emotional support animal letter, your landlord must make reasonable accommodations for you and your ESA. If you own multiple ESAs, you'll need to give your landlord an official ESA letter for each emotional support animal. Your support animals must not damage the property or pose a threat to other tenants.
Although the FHA protects your right to live with your ESA, you should use common sense about your request. For example, renting a top-floor studio apartment might not be a good idea if your support animal is a miniature horse. Choosing a small dog breed for your support animal would be better.
Idaho ESA Laws for Employment
Understandably, you might want to have your ESA by your side at work to offer you support and help you cope with mental illness or emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, emotional support animals aren't guaranteed the right to accompany their owners to their places of work. Federal law does not require establishments, including workplaces, to allow ESAs.
However, even though your supervisors are not legally obligated to allow ESAs in the workplace, some may choose to accommodate emotional support animals under certain conditions. If you feel you would benefit from the presence of your support animal at work, reach out to your supervisors. Explain your situation, show them your emotional support letter, and they may consider allowing your ESA in the workplace. Some employers may want your support animal to be on the smaller side, such as a dog or cat. They may request that your ESA has a certain amount of training to guarantee good behavior and avoid distracting other employees.
Idaho ESA Laws for Travel
Specific laws mention service animals accompanying their owners when traveling, but there aren't any that cover ESAs. Because service animals help owners with physical or mental disabilities to live more independently and perform tasks, service animals have more rights in public spaces than emotional support animals.
For instance, the Air Carrier Access Act protects service animals when flying but doesn't protect ESAs. To travel with your ESA, you must check with individual airlines before bringing your animal along. The same is valid for train and bus travel. Your ESA will often be viewed as a pet, not a service animal, so you should be prepared to pay the relevant pet fees.
In some instances, airlines, buses, and subways may accommodate you and your support animal, but they're not legally obligated to offer these accommodations. If you're flying, you can call and let the airline know you have an ESA that you'd like to bring along. If they allow your support animal, you will likely need to bring your official ESA letter to show the airline staff. Depending on the airline's rules, there may also be restrictions for your animal based on breed and size.
Idaho ESA Public Access Laws
Assistive animals, like hearing dogs, service dogs, and psychiatric service dogs, have certain rights in public spaces because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unfortunately, this law does not protect emotional support animals in Idaho. Your ESA may be denied entry to places like restaurants, shopping centers, and indoor markets because these establishments have no legal obligation to accommodate your support animal.
You can always call ahead and see if an establishment will allow you to bring your support animal, even though they aren't legally obligated to allow this. Each shop or restaurant is likely to have its own rules about admitting animals that are not legally protected as service animals. An establishment may be more accommodating of your situation if you have an official ESA letter demonstrating your need for your support animal.
How to Get a Legitimate ESA Letter in Idaho
There are a few easy steps you will need to follow to get a legitimate ESA letter in Idaho. There may be slight variations in different states, but each follows a similar process.
Complete Our Assessment
The first step is to complete a quick assessment to help medical professionals evaluate your situation and emotional support needs. After you complete the evaluation, you will need to select which type of ESA letter you need. You can choose a housing letter, travel letter, or a combination of the two.
Consult With a Therapist
Once the assessment is complete and you choose which letter is best for you, you'll need to fill out some privacy and consent forms that will enable you to have a consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
After completing the forms, you'll be matched with a mental health practitioner and sent a link to book a live consultation. Then you'll have the opportunity to meet with them and discuss your concerns and mental well-being needs.
Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter
Based on your consultation, the licensed mental health professional will be able to determine if you would benefit from the presence and companionship of a support animal. If they decide that the company of an ESA could improve your mental and emotional health, they will write and sign a legally recognized emotional support animal letter for you. This letter will show others you have a legitimate need for your emotional support animal. If you need your letter urgently, you'll have the option to receive it within 24 hours, subject to certain specific exclusions.
Although we are confident that your ESA letter will work for your housing or travel needs, we will gladly provide a 100% refund if you aren't satisfied.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
An ESA helps its owner cope with their day-to-day routine and major life activities. Emotional support animals offer companionship and comfort to their owners to help them deal with mental illness and emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, phobias, or other conditions.
The calming presence of an emotional support animal can even have a positive physiological effect, helping to regulate heart rate and blood pressure while releasing feel-good hormones.
What Is a Service Animal?
A service animal is specially trained to help its owner perform tasks essential to their daily life and ability to live independently. Someone needing a service animal may have physical and mental disabilities or a medical condition requiring assistance. Typically, only dogs can become service animals because they are easy to train and can be accommodated in public places.
Unlike ESAs, service animals are guaranteed the right to accompany their owner to nearly any public place. Hearing dogs, guide dogs, and psychiatric service dogs are all examples of service animals.
The Difference Between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals
Although they share many similarities, you should be aware of some key differences between emotional support animals and service animals.
First and foremost, emotional support animals offer a therapeutic benefit to their owners through their calming and comforting presence. However, they have not received special training to perform tasks or assist their owners. A service animal, most likely a service dog, is specially trained to help its owner live with the challenges posed by mental or physical disabilities. A service dog may help with tasks like alerting them to a doorbell or alarm, guiding them safely in public spaces, or putting pressure on their owner's chest during an anxiety attack.
In addition to being trained to carry out practical assistance, service animals – which are nearly always dogs – must also behave impeccably around people and other animals. Dogs are also the most common ESAs, although technically, any animal can be an ESA as long as it helps its owner as a part of a treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions about Idaho ESA Laws
It can be challenging to keep up with the rules and regulations about owning an emotional support animal. Understanding where you can and can't go with your ESA will help you safeguard your mental and emotional health. Here are a few common questions and answers about Idaho ESA laws.
Do I have to tell my landlord I have an ESA in Idaho?
You should tell your landlord about your ESA and present them with a legitimate ESA letter signed by a licensed therapist. That way, your landlord will understand that your ESA is not just a pet. This will protect your right to live with your ESA, even in "no pet" housing, and avoid any extra pet deposits or pet fees.
Can a landlord deny an ESA in Idaho?
When presented with an emotional support letter, your landlord or housing provider must make an effort to allow you to live with your ESA. According to the Fair Housing Act, the only way a landlord can deny your emotional support animal is if your ESA presents a threat to the property or other tenants.
When do I tell my landlord about my ESA in Idaho?
You should tell your landlord (and show them your ESA letter) as soon as possible before signing a lease or moving in with your emotional support animal. This will give them time to make reasonable accommodations and ensure that you are both on the same page about your ESA.
Can a landlord in Idaho charge a fee for an emotional support animal?
Your landlord cannot charge you a pet fee or require a pet deposit for an ESA, as long as you have a valid ESA letter. This is evidence that your ESA is not just a pet – they are an essential component of your mental health treatment plan.
Can you have more than one ESA in Idaho?
If you need more than one ESA for your mental well-being, having multiple ESAs is permissible under Idaho law. However, you will likely need to provide proof of this need by securing an ESA letter for each emotional support animal. As always, exercise common sense regarding the size and species of your ESA.
What restrictions can my landlord place on my emotional support animal in Idaho?
Generally speaking, your landlord cannot place restrictions on your support animal due to the Fair Housing Act. However, you will need to ensure that your ESA does not damage property, pose a threat to any other tenants, or cause your landlord financial hardship.