Mysterious and historic, Louisiana is more than a fascinating state to live in for people – but it’s also an excellent state for animals. The state’s two largest cities, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, are on WalletHub’s “Most Pet-Friendly Cities” in America.
For instance, Baton Rouge boasts more than 30 dog-friendly outdoor green spaces for dog owners to enjoy with their furry friends. This animal-centric environment makes Louisiana an excellent state for emotional support animals (ESA) or pets.
To get an Emotional Support Animal in Louisiana, follow these steps:
- Consult a Licensed Mental Health Professional
You need to have a diagnosed emotional or mental disorder that the animal will help alleviate. Connect with a mental health professional online or in person who is licensed in Louisiana to discuss your situation.
- Obtain an ESA Letter
If the professional determines that an ESA would help manage your condition, they will provide a formal letter confirming your eligibility for an ESA.
- Choose your ESA
Adopt an ESA from reputable organizations in Louisiana, such as Acadiana Animal Aid, Once Upon a Tail, or The Animal Rescue Foundation of Louisiana. An ESA can also be your current pet!
- Use your ESA Letter
In Louisiana, this letter protects you under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), allowing you to live with your ESA even in housing situations where pets aren’t typically allowed, without extra fees or penalties.
What is an ESA?
An emotional support animal, or ESA, helps reduce symptoms of an individual’s emotional or mental condition. Its warmth and presence are enough to assist their owner with managing their disorder. An ESA doesn’t need special training; they just need to be there for their owner.
Emotional support animals are vital to the psychological well-being of their owners. Because of their essential presence, the federal government protects an owner’s right to have an ESA reside with them – even in homes where no pets are allowed.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) for Emotional Support Animals is a federal law that enables ESA to live with their owners. Under the FHA, a housing provider must offer reasonable accommodations when an individual has a valid ESA letter.
What is an ESA letter?
An ESA letter verifies that an animal is necessary to improve the symptoms of their owner’s emotional or mental disorder. The letter, written by a licensed mental health professional, indicates that an animal is essential for an individual’s health and well-being and must be allowed to live with their owner.
With a valid ESA letter, an animal can live with their owner in no-pets housing situations without penalty or fees. Tenants with ESA letters are also exempt from breed, weight, and size restrictions regarding their animal.
If you are ready to connect online with a health professional licensed in Louisiana for an ESA letter, click on the link to get started.
How is an ESA different from a service dog?
Because an emotional support animal is vital for reducing a person’s mental health symptoms, an ESA is more than a pet. However, an ESA is different from a service animal. While a service animal requires extensive training to perform specific tasks to assist a person with their disability, an ESA requires no such training.
What is a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD)?
Emotional support animals are often confused with a psychiatric service dog (PSD). While ESAs and PSDs both work with individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, they have significant differences. One primary difference is that a PSD is a type of service animal, while an ESA is not.
A PSD is also protected under the FHA and comes with additional protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Under the ADA, service animals can accompany their owners into areas accessible by the general public. The ACAA allows service dogs to fly since they may accompany their owner on airline flights.
If you would like our help qualifying for a PSD letter, you can complete the PSD Questionnaire at the link below.
Where You Can Adopt an ESA in Louisiana
If you think an ESA could reduce the symptoms of your mental health disorder, the first step is finding the right animal for you. Louisiana offers a wide variety of adoption choices. The following are a few of the most reputable and highest-rated adoption sites in the Bayou States.
Acadiana Animal Aid
Acadiana Animal Aid (AAA) is a renowned animal shelter known both locally and nationally for its efforts in reducing the euthanasia rate of shelter pets in Louisiana by 40%. AAA also runs a strong community outreach that links homeless animals with children and the elderly. If you’re looking for an ESA in Louisiana, you may find your purr-fect friend at AAA.
Once Upon a Tail
Located in St Tammany Parish in Louisiana, Once Upon a Tail adopts dogs from every situation, from surrenders to homeless and injured strays. Their loyal volunteers work hard to socialize and rehabilitate injured pets to ready them for their fur-ever homes. Consider Once Upon a Tail if you’re looking for an ESA to help you with your symptoms.
The Animal Rescue Foundation of Louisiana
The Animal Rescue Foundation of Louisiana (ARFL) is located in the beautiful city of Lafayette. ARFL’s animals are fully vetted and temperament tested before each adoption. The organization operates out of a network of dedicated foster homes and one kennel, with a host of adoptable animals ready for you to meet.
Where You Can Take Your ESA for Exercise
Louisiana is ideal for ESAs for its many outing options to have fun with your animal. Take your ESA out for exercise at one of these stunning Louisiana parks.
Louisiana State Park
All Louisiana state parks have a “Park with Pets” policy, even for overnight stays with dogs in their cabins. The new Park with Pets policy will go into effect in September. Staying at their cabins takes a small surcharge of forty dollars ($40) per dog, with a max of two dogs per cabin.
City Park in New Orleans
Although not a dog park, City Park in New Orleans offers 1,300 acres to walk with your leashed pet. The grounds are immaculate and offer activities for pets and humans of any age. If you’re looking for long, picturesque walks with your ESA, try City Park.
Where You Can Walk Your PSD Before a Flight
Whether you’re flying with a psychiatric service dog (PSD), or a traditional pet dog, it’s always a good idea to give them exercise and a “bathroom break” before the flight. The following are two convenient dog parks just a few miles from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).
Kenner Dog Park
3800 Loyola Drive,
Kenner, LA 70065 (map)
Kenner Dog Park, located in Kenner, Louisiana, offers everything to take exercise with your dog to the next level. This park comes loaded with adorable fire hydrants for doggy relief. Decked with an agility course and a dog wash, Kenner Dog Park is an excellent park for a quick run and jump with your best friend.,
Wisner Playground and Dog Run
4877 Laurel St.,
New Orleans, LA 70115 (map)
The Wisner Playground and Dog Run offers enough space for your dog to get their zoomies going. Clean and well-kept, this dog park also includes a playground for non-furry little ones to play while your dog gets exercise. This dog park has ample free and safe street parking so that you can plan a quick stop before your flight.
Planning ahead makes all the difference if you’re traveling with your pet. If you forget to give your PSD time for a dog park stop before your flight, feel free to use the pet relief areas located at the airports.
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