If you are a resident of Colorado and have an emotional support animal, you are protected by law from discrimination. ESA owners in Colorado can live with their emotional support animals in no-pets buildings without any charge

However, qualifying for an ESA has to be done correctly in Colorado, or else there may be legal consequences. In Colorado, you can be fined for misrepresenting that you have an emotional support animal. It’s critical to get legitimate documentation for your ESA.  

In this post, we will dive into the laws surrounding emotional support animals and explain how to get an emotional support animal in Colorado. If you believe that an ESA is right for you and would like help from a healthcare professional licensed for Colorado, complete the questionnaire in the link below to get started with the process.

Colorado Emotional Support Animal Laws
ESA Letter Questionnaire

ESA vs. Service Animal

Emotional support dog in the snow in Colorado - ESA Doctors
Emotional support dogs are not specially trained to provide a service, but they are protected under the FHA and can live with their owner in buildings that prohibit pets.

Pets provide unconditional love, support, and friendship to their owners. An emotional support animal serves a similar purpose but is recommended by a healthcare professional to assist someone with a mental illness or emotional wellness issues. 

For example, an emotional support animal may be used by someone who has chronic depression, anxiety, PTSD, or a phobia. Sometimes people confuse ESAs with service dogs, but there are several differences. 

A service animal can only be a dog and must be specifically trained to perform a task for a disabled individual. This can include several skills like guiding, alerting, opening doors, or pulling a wheelchair. ESAs, on the other hand, do not require any specialized training. They help their owners just by being present. ESAs can also be different animals like cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, turtles, birds, and rodents.

Colorado Emotional Support Animal Registration

Are you looking to register your dog or cat as an emotional support animal? Stop! Registering your pet on a website will not make your pet an ESA, and you will not be protected under the Fair Housing Act. Registration of emotional support animals in Colorado is not recognized by the law and will not be accepted by landlords. 

Registering your pet on a website will not make your pet an ESA, and you will not be protected under the Fair Housing Act or the Air Carrier Access Act.

ESA Doctors, est. 2015
Then why is my landlord asking for my ESA Registration? 

Many landlords are not aware of ESA laws in Colorado. They may have heard something on Facebook or from a friend and request documentation that is simply unnecessary. ESA registration from a website does not legally protect you and does not qualify your animal as a legitimate emotional support animal.

Do I need an ESA Registration Card in Colorado?

No, all you need is documentation from a licensed healthcare professional. Read more about how to get an ESA in Colorado and about ESA letters in the next section.

Who is considered a licensed healthcare professional?

A licensed mental health professional would include Doctor, LPN or RN, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Licensed Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, LMHP, Mental health therapist.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Colorado

Emotional support dog looking out of the window of a car. - ESA Doctors
In Colorado, only an ESA letter is required to qualify for an emotional support animal. An “ESA Registration” is not recognized nor accepted by landlords.

To make your animal a legit emotional support animal, you will need an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. An ESA letter is the only legal document that is required for emotional support animals in Colorado. You can talk to your existing health professional or connect with one online. Your medical health professional must determine that you will benefit from an ESA and write a letter on their official letterhead to qualify your animal as an ESA.

An ESA letter is the only legal document that is required for emotional support animals in Colorado.

ESA Doctors, est. 2015

The ESA Letter

There is specific information that must be included in your ESA letter:

  • It must be written on your health professional’s letterhead
  • It includes their name, license number, date of issue, and state it was issued
  • It contains the licensed medical health professional’s signature

You can obtain an ESA letter through an in-person visit or an online therapist. If you do not have access to a licensed health professional, you can connect with a professional online. ESA Doctors works with online healthcare professionals who are licensed for Colorado and familiar with ESA recommendations.

Qualify for your ESA letter in three easy steps

Click here to get started on qualifying for your ESA letter.

Where Can I Take My ESA in Colorado?

 “No Pets” Policy Housing – According to the Fair Housing Act, a landlord cannot legally evict you or deny you access to a rental unit just because of your emotional support animal. In fact, the landlord must make “reasonable accommodation” for your assistance animal (meaning they cannot charge you additional fees and must welcome the animal as long as it’s not causing an undue financial burden on the landlord and the animal is not a threat to the other tenants or property). Emotional support animals are also exempt from breed and size restrictions when it comes to housing. 

In Cabin Flights – Unfortunately, ESAs are no longer allowed on flights. Psychiatric service dogs, however, are still allowed to board the cabin of planes free of charge. PSDs help with mental health issues like ESAs, but they are trained to perform a task relating to their owner’s condition.

Employment Rights – Employers in Colorado cannot discriminate against people with mental health disabilities. Businesses with five or more staff must ensure that a service animal can accompany the employee to work. Unfortunately, emotional support animals do not have access rights in the office. If your employer’s usual guidelines state that animals are not allowed in the office, talk to your HR representative about whether there are exceptions for assistance animals like ESAs.

Emotional Support Animals in Colorado

Emotional support animals can live with their owners. Even in "no-pets" housing.
Emotional support animals can live with their owners, even in “no-pets” housing.

If you do not have access to a licensed healthcare professional, you can connect with one online.

ESA Doctors, est. 2015

Like most states in America, Colorado recognizes the positive influence ESAs provide to individuals with mental health issues. If you feel you could benefit from an emotional support animal, then ask your doctor or mental health professional for their opinion. If your provider agrees, ask them for an ESA letter to take advantage of all the perks of having an emotional support animal in your life. To connect with a licensed mental health professional online, complete the questionnaire in the link below.

Are you a good candidate for an ESA?