The laws surrounding emotional support animals can vary, depending on where you live. Read on for a full guide on ESAs in Oregon and how to obtain an ESA letter to help you.
Emotional Support Animals

Oregon Emotional Support Animal Laws for 2022

Susana Bradford
10 minutes read
August 4, 2022

The laws for obtaining and maintaining an emotional support animal (ESA) have slight variations depending on your state. An emotional support animal has many benefits for its owner, yet there are restrictions on where your support animal can accompany you.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, housing providers must accommodate emotional support animals if the owner possesses an emotional support animal letter signed by a licensed mental health professional. Read on for more laws and regulations regarding emotional support animals in Oregon.

The Bottom Line

  • What is an emotional support animal? Emotional support animals aid their owners with emotional disability, such as anxiety or depression, and helps relieve the symptoms with their presence.
  • Are ESAs considered pets in Oregon? No, pets and emotional support animals are two very different categories. ESAs have more rights than normal, household pets.
  • How do I get an ESA Letter in Oregon? By going to Pettable’s site, filling out the forms, and meeting with a licensed health care provider, you can have your letter within 24 hours, excluding California residents.
  • Do landlords in Oregon have to accept ESAs? If the proper documentation, such as an ESA letter is able to be provided, yes, landlords must accept your ESA.

Emotional Support Animal Laws

Oregon as a state recognizes the need for emotional support animals for those with emotional and mental disabilities. As such, anyone within the state who struggles with mental health is eligible to receive an emotional support animal.

Oregon, in general, endorses the use of ESA-friendly policies and laws meant to make acquiring an ESA easier. Federal regulations governing emotional support animals' use also apply to Oregon.

Below, we'll cover specifics on Oregon's ESA laws regarding the different areas of public access, travel, work environment, and housing. This information will give you insight into the rights, protections, and limitations of owning an ESA. It also lays out the benefits available to you as the owner of an ESA in the state of Oregon.

Oregon ESA Housing Laws

Following the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), the state of Oregon requires that the housing provider provide reasonable accommodation for the tenants with valid ESA letters for their support animals.

Housing providers cannot apply extra pet fees or deny an ESA if they have a no-pet policy. Under the ADA and state laws, housing providers cannot deny you a place to live due to your disability, regardless of where the housing and urban development is.

Most housing providers can ask to see the ESA letter and, under the Fair Housing Act, must allow the emotional support animal to be on the property. The only way housing providers could refuse housing is if the animal directly threatens other residents or animals.

Oregon ESA Laws for Employment

While housing providers must follow the Fair Housing Act, employers are not under the same state and local governments that housing providers are. Employers cannot discriminate against you for having a disability or disability-related need. However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, only service animals can accompany their owners to work unless the employer allows emotional support animals in the building and at an individual's workplace.

The best thing to do is provide your ESA letter to your employer or the Humans Resource Department to see if a reasonable accommodation can be made to allow companion animals in the workplace.

As with housing providers under the Fair Housing Act, employers are not allowed to ask what your disability is or how your support animal or service animal can perform tasks related to your emotional or mental disability.

You are not required to answer any question imploring about your ESA's training or the specific actions he takes to help you because your ESA is not a service dog. However, it may not hurt to do so, as they may be willing to make accommodations for you if they are more aware of your mental health struggles. 

Oregon ESA Laws for Travel

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a federal law that once allowed anyone who was issued a valid ESA letter the ability to travel with their ESA. However, in addition to the letter, anyone with an ESA would also explain to the carrier why their ESA supplies them with emotional support. You'd also have to inform the airline that you have a mental or emotional health problem that falls under the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)

However, this has recently changed. This isn't the case anymore because the ACAA no longer classifies an ESA in the same category as they would an assistance animal. So, if your ESA is small enough in Oregon, some airlines will allow you to bring them with you as a carry-on which you stow under your seat.

However, to do this, you must pay a fee and fill out paperwork before you bring your ESA on the plane. Then, you must agree with the airline that your ESA will remain well-behaved, or they will have a right to stow it in the carrier should your ESA get too aggressive. 

Oregon ESA Public Access Laws

While ESAs are often allowed in the same public spaces as service animals, you can be asked to leave the public space at any time. Because, under the ADA, owners of public accommodations and public spaces are under no obligation to allow you to bring your ESA into that space. That obligation only applies to assistance animals or service animals. Your ESA can only accompany you to the type of public locations that other pets can accompany you to. 

That doesn't change even if you outfit your ESA with a vest or if you have a unique ID card for them. And just like pets, any ESA damages that an ESA places on private property are liable to be retracted from the owner's finances. You are responsible for how your ESA acts and the type of actions they commit. And, if you try to misrepresent your pet as an ESA in public without an ESA letter, you are liable to receive a hefty fine of up to $10,000.

How to Get an ESA Letter

An ESA letter is the official document that proves that an owner needs an ESA to provide them with companionship and support for their mental health. 

The applicant must receive an ESA letter in Oregon to get an emotional support animal. To do so, you first need to meet a professionally licensed medical professional focused on mental health who will determine whether they qualify for an emotional support animal. We've done an extensive research to find the best licensed mental health professionals (LMHP) in Oregon who you should connect with to get started and receive your ESA letter and be one step closer to having an official emotional support animal.

Complete our Assessment 

First, you'll complete a 3-minute quiz to help us match you with the right therapist for your needs. Then you will select the type of emotional support animal you will need, whether for housing or travel or a hybrid that can do both.

Consult with a Therapist

After filling out the quiz and receiving authorization from our clinicians to work with you, you'll be matched with an LMHP from your state and have an over-the-phone consultation with them. You'll complete a mental health evaluation to determine if you qualify for an ESA.

Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter 

Once our LMHP determines whether an ESA is essential to your care and wellbeing or not, they'll proceed accordingly. If they decide that an ESA is necessary for your wellbeing, they'll write a legally recognized ESA letter for you. You'll then have the option of receiving an ESA letter within 24 hours from the time of your consultation.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is an animal that provides comfort and therapy with its presence and helps humans with mental and emotional disabilities be able to enjoy significant life activities. Emotional support animals can significantly improve their daily life for individuals with a mental illness, emotional struggle, or psychiatric disability.

While emotional support animals are not considered service animals, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the emotional support animal law, they are recognized as helping individuals with mental or emotional support.

Emotional support animals differ from service animals, as ESAs are not allowed everywhere in public with their owners, and service animals are.

Emotional support animals are not frequently trained and do not need to perform specific tasks to aid an individual. To legally have an emotional support animal, "a qualifying mental health or psychiatric disability by a licensed mental health professional, which is documented by a properly formatted prescription letter."

What is a Service Animal?

A service animal is an animal (specifically a dog) that is individually trained to perform tasks for its owner who has a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and helps its owner with attending major life activities that may be stressful if a person's disability is directly related to the need for an emotional support animal.

Emotional Support Animal vs. Service Animal

One of the core differences is that not all ESAs are dogs. Many domesticated animals can be classified as ESA's, such as cats, rabbits, birds, minipigs, mice, ferrets, hedgehogs, rats, even a miniature horse, etc. And these animals don't need to be trained beyond basic instructions on how to listen to you. Meanwhile, most assistance animals are dogs trained to mitigate a specific disability. Because of the wide variety of assistance dogs and specific actions each type of assistance dog must complete, assistance dogs are trained individually to ensure they can achieve their job. 

They also follow very different laws and restrictions, as do their handlers. ESAs are allowed to live in specific locations that pets wouldn't be allowed to live in due to their therapeutic benefits. Meanwhile, assistance animals are given fewer restrictions in the type of public locations they can enter.

Frequently Asked Questions About ESAs and Letters

The following are frequently asked questions (FAQs) about emotional support animals regardless of the state. These questions are answered below in a manner that should prove prudent for anyone seeking an ESA, irrespective of location.

Can a landlord deny an emotional support animal?

The only way the landlord can deny your ESA letter is if the animals cause significant property or housing unit damage and pose a direct threat to the safety of other tenants. Otherwise, they must accommodate your ESA and allow it to live within your space.

Are ESA animals (s) safe?

All that matters is that the ESA isn't a danger to itself or others in public and doesn't act as a significant distraction for others in the crowd. However, ESAs are only allowed in non-pet housing and airplanes to be transported alongside the owner. You could get kicked out of a public location for bringing an ESA.

Is ESA a Trained service animal(s)?

ESA' are not frequently trained and do not need to perform specific tasks to help you. The benefit of an ESA is that its presence is what will relieve any symptoms of mental health conditions that you may be experiencing. To legally have an ESA, an LMHP must recognize the owner as having "a qualifying mental health or psychiatric disability by a licensed mental health professional, which is documented by a properly formatted prescription letter."

What is a Service Animal 

A service animal is typically a dog or a miniature horse trained to perform tasks specific to helping an individual with a disability. For instance, guide dogs are service animals for those who are blind, and hearing dogs are service animals for those who are deaf. They are trained to help their owners operate in their everyday lives. And because of their functionality, service animals are allowed to enter many public places within the US through the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Does ESA follow the same laws as service dogs?

They also follow very different laws and restrictions, as do their handlers. ESAs are allowed to live in specific locations that pets wouldn't be allowed to live in due to their therapeutic benefits. Meanwhile, psychiatric service dogs are given fewer restrictions in the type of public locations they can enter.  

How Much Does an ESA Letter from Pettable Cost?

An ESA letter from Pettable costs $149, but we offer individual letters for housing and travel purposes. You can get a discount if you purchase both, as our accommodation and travel package costs $199. We offer a risk-free guarantee that we will refund your entire payment if your ESA Letter doesn't work correctly

Meet the author:

Susana Bradford