Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms
College can be a difficult time for many young adults. Attending classes, meeting the expectations of professors and keeping up a grade-point average can all take its toll on students. In addition, many may find it particularly difficult to be away from, not only family and friends, but that lovable furry companion they’ve had for years.
Mental health professionals are now realizing the many benefits an emotional support animal can bring to a stressed out student. But where exactly does the law stand on having a “pet” in a college dorm or classroom? What are your rights as a student? And if you are able to bring an emotional support animal to school with you, where do you get one?
We’ve consulted with the experts to guide you along the path of obtaining an emotional support animal for you in your college dorm.
Is It Legal to have an Emotional Support Animal in my Dorm?
According to the New York Times, the federal government has now issued an amendment to both the ‘Fair Housing Act’ and the ‘Rehabilitation Act,’ which states that emotional support animals must be allowed into college dormitories.
This is great news; however, it isn’t as easy as just bringing your furry bestie from home. There are legalities you will have to go through to make a case for having an emotional support animal.
What Are My Rights?
If you have been approved by a doctor or mental health professional for an ESA letter, you have the right to an emotional support animal. The problem may lie with the fact that emotional support animals are only in its beginning phases and many colleges may not be “on board” or aware of your legal rights pertaining to this issue.
According to ESA Doctors, people who are suffering from any of the following ailments are qualified for an emotional support animal. These include (but are not limited to);
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic/Anxiety Disorders
- Stress Disorder
- Personality Disorders
If you do not have access to an mental health professional, you can connect with a licensed mental health professional online by clicking the link below.
How Do I Get an Emotional Support Animal?
Unlike a service dog, an ESA isn’t required by law to have any special training. It will be, however, required to be well behaved in every setting.
Since an emotional support dog isn’t just a normal pet, some are trained to alert or attend to their handlers. If you are able, you can train a dog to be an ESA. If you are unable to go through the basic obedience and socialization training your ESA will need, you may have to find a person who is willing to do the training for you or locate a dog that has already been trained.
Registering My ESA
Although, you do not have to register your ESA, it is highly recommended to do so. Many of these organizations will charge you a small fee to put your animal into their official database, but the benefits may be well worth it.
Service Dog Certifications for Emotional Support Animals is one of these organizations that will offer you a registration certificate and a photo ID of your ESA with the option of a vest and digital copies of your ESA info. In addition, the animal will also be registered for the duration of its life with the support of their legal professionals and staff.
Once your pet has an ESA letter it will be legally given access to on-board flights, housing where other pets may not be allowed and into the workplace and dormitories.
Where Do I Begin?
To start on the path with an ESA, here is a quick guideline to the process;
- Knowing you need emotional help
- Seek out a professional (therapist, doctor, psychiatrist etc.)
- Have your doctor fill out an ESA letter
- Find the appropriate animal
- Train the animal or have it already trained
- Register the ESA for the benefits it provides
ESA to the Rescue
If you are suffering from an emotional or mental disability, don’t spend another moment living in despair and seclusion. You have a right to live a normal life with the help and devotion of an emotional support animal.