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Emotional Support Animal Arkansas 2023: Laws & Get An ESA
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are vital in providing therapeutic support to individuals with disabilities in Arkansas. While ESAs are distinct from service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they offer companionship and alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions. This article will explore the regulations and rights surrounding ESAs in Arkansas and how they differ from service animals.
Emotional Support Animal Arkansas: The Laws
- Emotional support animals are not considered service animals in Arkansas.
- Emotional support animals can be a part of a prescribed treatment plan for mental health conditions in Arkansas.
- In general, emotional support animal accommodations are limited to housing.
- The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, including allowing them to live with their ESAs, even in properties with no-pets policies.
- There are many pet-friendly places in Arkansas where you can take your emotional support animal.
Emotional Support Animals (ESA): What Exactly Are They?
Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the ADA. However, they provide valuable emotional and psychological support to individuals with disabilities. ESAs are typically prescribed by mental health professionals as part of a treatment plan to assist individuals in managing symptoms related to mental health conditions such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias. If specifically prescribed, you can have more than one emotional support animal.
Understanding the distinction between ESAs and service animals is crucial to ensure appropriate rights and accommodations. While ESAs provide emotional support to individuals with disabilities, service animals undergo special training to perform tasks directly related to a person’s disability. Often, service dogs are individually trained to support people with physical disabilities as well. A common example of a service dog would be the use of guide dogs for the visually impaired.
Unlike service animals, ESAs are not specially trained to perform specific tasks related to a person’s disability. Instead, their presence alone provides comfort and companionship, helping individuals cope with their emotional challenges. ESAs relieve loneliness, reduce stress, and provide a calming presence.
Under the ADA, service animals such as psychiatric service animals, are allowed in public places where the general public is permitted, including restaurants, shops, hospitals, and schools. However, therapy animals like ESAs do not have the same legal rights and are generally limited to housing accommodations.
Emotional Support Animal Laws In Arkansas
In Arkansas, employers are not required to provide individuals with the right to bring their emotional support dog to work. However, some employers may choose to allow you to bring your therapy dog to work on an individual basis.
ESA Housing Laws
In Arkansas, individuals with disabilities have certain rights regarding housing and emotional support animals. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including allowing them to live with their ESAs, even in properties with no-pets policies. This usually means you will not be required to pay a pet deposit.
ESA Owner Responsibility
While ESAs are granted certain housing rights in Arkansas, ESA owners also need to understand their responsibilities. These responsibilities ensure the well-being of the ESA, respect for others, and compliance with local regulations.
ESA owners in Arkansas must ensure that their animals are up to date on vaccinations as required by state law. Additionally, if applicable, licensing requirements must be fulfilled to ensure the animal’s legal compliance.
To maintain the safety of the ESA and others, owners must keep their animals restrained on a leash when in public spaces unless specific circumstances allow for voice command control. This ensures that the ESA remains under the owner’s control and prevents potential incidents or disruptions.
ESA owners should strive to maintain unobtrusive behavior for their animals. This includes preventing excessive barking, jumping on others, or engaging in disruptive behavior that may inconvenience others.
Proper waste management is the responsibility of ESA owners in Arkansas. Owners must promptly clean up after their animals and dispose of waste in designated areas. Failure to do so can create unsanitary conditions and cause harm to others.
Emotional Support Animal In Arkansas: How To Get One?
Individuals must meet specific criteria to qualify for housing accommodations with an ESA. First, they must have a disability substantially limiting one or more major life activities. Second, they must have a disability-related need for an emotional support animal. In order to get an ESA letter, a licensed mental health provider will have to confirm an eligible diagnosis and the need for an ESA.
When requesting an ESA accommodation, individuals may be required to provide reliable disability-related information if the disability and the need for the animal are not apparent. This information can come in the form of a letter from a healthcare professional confirming the necessity of the ESA for the individual’s wellbeing. There are multiple ways to get an ESA letter. One potential avenue to obtain one is by going through a third part company such as Certapet. You can explore Certapet reviews to see what others thought of the process.
Can A Landlord Refuse An ESA In Arkansas?
According to the Fair Housing Act, a person can be denied access to an ESA under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- The request can be denied if it was not made by or on behalf of a disabled person.
- There is no disability-related need for the ESA.
- Providing the modification would cause an extreme financial and managerial burden on the landlord.
- It would change the housing providers program in a fundamental way.
Traveling From Arkansas With An Emotional Support Animal
While ESAs have housing rights in Arkansas, it is important to note that their access to public transportation, including airplanes, is subject to different regulations. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) governs the rights of individuals with disabilities on commercial flights, including those traveling with ESAs.
Under the ACAA, as of January 2021, ESAs are no longer considered service animals and are now treated as regular pets by airlines. Unfortunately, this means that size restrictions will apply, and airlines can now charge a pet fee for ESAs.
Places In Arkansas To Bring Your Emotional Support Animal
While public places are not required to allow emotional support animals in Arkansas, plenty of dog-friendly places will welcome your furry friend. Examples include parks, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. As this list is not all-inclusive, it is a good idea to call ahead and ask about a particular location’s rules regarding emotional support animals.
Parks For Dogs In Arkansas
- Hot Springs Bark Park.
- Burns Park Dog Park.
- MacArthur Dog Park and Recreation.
- Conway’s PetSafe Dog Park.
- Bryce Davis Park.
- Atalanta Lake Dog Park.
- Mountain Home Dog Park.
Restaurants And Bars In Arkansas
- Local Flavor Cafe.
- Lucky Lou’s.
- Superior Bathhouse Brewery.
- Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Beer Garden.
- Bricktown Brewery.
- Red’s Pizzeria.
- AJ’s Oyster House.
- The Root.
- Hopkins Icehouse.
Coffee Shops In Arkansas
- Good Dog Cafe.
- Onyx Coffee Lab.
- Jitterbug Coffee House.
- Bean Me Up Creekside.
- Melinda’s Cafe & Coffee.
- Sweet Bay Coffee Co.
- JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More.
Emotional support animals provide many therapeutic benefits for individuals with disabilities in Arkansas. While ESAs are not considered service animals under the ADA, they possess housing rights that require housing providers to make reasonable accommodations. By understanding the regulations and responsibilities surrounding ESAs, individuals can ensure a harmonious coexistence with their animals while enjoying the benefits of emotional support in their daily lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals in Arkansas or anywhere else in the United States.
No. While some employers and public places may choose to accommodate emotional support animals, they are not required to do so by law.
Yes. In Arkansas, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including allowing them to live with their ESAs.
No. Under current guidelines ESAs are not considered service animals and are not protected for airline travel.
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- Uca.edu. (2014). Service Animal Information and Frequently Asked Questions — Office of Accessibility Resources and Services. [online] Available at: https://uca.edu/oars/faculty-resources/service-animals/.
- Hud.gov. (2018). HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). [online] Available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/assistance_animals.
- Transportation.gov. (2020). U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Final Rule on Traveling by Air with Service Animals | US Department of Transportation. [online] Available at: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-announces-final-rule-traveling-air-service-animals.
- DOL. (2023). Americans with Disabilities Act. [online] Available at: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/ada.