Millions of individuals live with emotional distress or mental disorders, and for many, a household pet provides much-needed relief. Someone with such struggles could benefit from making their pet an official emotional support animal (ESA), which can provide numerous benefits for their daily lives. However, different states have their own rules and regulations that should be considered before getting an ESA letter. Louisiana’s emotional support animal laws could differ from other states, so let’s take a closer look at what you should know if you live in the Pelican State.
Louisiana Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Laws
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Emotional Support Animal Laws in Louisiana
Emotional support animals, or ESAs, tend to have similar rules, regulations, and laws from state to state, and Louisiana is not much different. These creatures, whether a dog, cat, or one of many other types, tend to have fewer protections than physical or psychiatric service dogs (PSDs). Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are protected from discrimination in restaurants, stores, businesses, medical facilities, and other public spaces. However, ESAs are not considered working animals like service dogs, so they have fewer protections, and in Louisiana, they are not automatically permitted in public accommodations.
Louisiana ESA Housing Laws
On a federal level, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits housing providers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, both physical and mental. It protects owners of both service dogs and ESAs, permitting them to have their animals in their rented homes in most cases. Landlords in Louisiana cannot charge pet fees or added rent for individuals with ESAs, as well; although they are not considered service animals, they are considered medical assistance animals and must be accommodated.
However, there are some exceptions for ESAs and their owners. The FHA doesn’t cover single homes rented by individuals, since they are not operating a housing business, per se. Also, in housing complexes and communities, a landlord may deny an ESA if the animal poses a threat to other residents or causes excessive property damage.
Louisiana ESA Laws for Employment
The ADA provides a wide range of protections for Americans living with mental or emotional challenges, and that extends into the workplace. Under the law, these individuals can request reasonable accommodations for their ESA from their employers, which could include modifying “no pet” policies. This usually requires you to provide an official ESA letter. However, these accommodations are also subject to exceptions for the consideration of the safety or health of other employees.
Louisiana ESA Laws for Travel
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) offers strong protection for individuals with certified service dogs, allowing them to travel together on most flights. The same can’t be said for ESAs, which are not protected by the ACAA, but individual airlines may have their own rules. For instance, JetBlue allows small dogs and cats under 20 pounds to travel with their owners in the cabin — in an approved carrier. But in most cases, ESAs are treated the same as standard pets and can only travel with the cargo.
Louisiana ESA Public Access Laws
Unlike some other states, Louisiana doesn’t have its own ESA laws separate from the federal laws, so your comfort animal is not typically allowed in public spaces like restaurants, shopping centers, medical facilities, or hotels. However, individual businesses may have rules permitting ESAs to accompany their owners, so it’s a great idea to contact these places ahead of time to find out if your animal can come along.
How to Get a Legitimate ESA Letter in Louisiana
The first thing you need to do to turn your pet into your emotional support companion is to get a legitimate ESA letter, which is respected in the Bayou state thanks to the FHA. At Pettable, we make it easy to turn your pet into your roommate with official documentation.
Complete Our Assessment
First, take our online ESA assessment so our professionals can determine your eligibility for an ESA. It’s quick and easy to complete, and you could qualify for an ESA if you are living with a:
- Mental health disorder
- Mood disorder
- Learning disability
- Substance use disorder
- Cognitive disorder
- Motor skill disorder
Consult with a Therapist
After completing the assessment, you can schedule a consultation with an in-house licensed mental health professional (LMPH), who will diagnose your disorder and certify your need for an ESA.
Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter
Once you’ve gone through the first two steps, and the LMPH has approved your application, you should be able to get your ESA letter in 24-48 hours. Pettable offers a money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk to exploring the ESA process — and plenty of upside.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An ESA is a domesticated animal that provides an individual with comfort, care, and affection, improving their day-to-day lives and alleviating some symptoms of their mental or emotional health struggles.
What is a Service Animal?
Service animals (typically dogs and occasionally mini horses) are trained specifically to assist their human handlers with specific tasks related to their physical or psychiatric health disorder. These tasks can include fetching medication, providing deep pressure therapy (DPT), and responding to epileptic episodes or other emergencies.
Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal
There are a couple of significant differences between service animals and ESAs. Service animals are typically dogs of any breed, while almost any domesticated animal can be an ESA. Also, unlike service animals, ESAs are not considered working animals, so they are not entitled to as many protections.