Residents of the Cowboy State know that Wyoming is enjoyed best when you’re in the great outdoors. Wyoming has some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S.
Furthermore, Wyoming residents love to experience the state’s landscape with their animals. Approximately 78% of the state’s households own a pet, which is higher than the national average of 57%. If you’re one of the many pet owners, you may be happy to learn that your adorable pet can become an emotional support animal in Wyoming.
To obtain an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in Wyoming, adhere to the following steps:
- Consult a Licensed Mental Health Professional
You need to have a diagnosed emotional or mental disorder that an ESA could help alleviate. Consult with a professional licensed for Wyoming, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, mental health social worker, licensed counselor, or doctor.
- Obtain an ESA Letter
If the professional agrees that an ESA is beneficial for your condition, they will provide an ESA letter. This letter should be on official letterhead and include the date of issuance, the professional’s license number, and a statement affirming the necessity of the ESA.
- Choose Your ESA
Unlike service animals, ESAs don’t require specific training and can be any type of pet. In Wyoming, your ESA letter allows you to live with your animal, even in no-pet housing, without additional charges, as per the Fair Housing Act.
What is an emotional support animal?
All pets provide a level of comfort, but emotional support animals go beyond. An emotional support animal, also known as an ESA, assists in alleviating the symptoms of an individual’s emotional or mental disability. The presence of an ESA improves the individual’s well-being, allowing the individual to better manage their daily lives.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects the right of ESA owners to keep their ESA in their homes, including areas where pets are not allowed. Furthermore, housing providers may not charge pet fees for ESAs, because ESAs are not considered pets.
For an animal to be considered as an ESA in Wyoming, a licensed mental health professional must write an ESA letter for their client.
What is an Emotional Support Animal Letter?
An ESA letter verifies that an animal is a valid emotional support animal, which the owner requires to help alleviate the symptoms of their psychiatric disorder.
In Wyoming, a mental health practitioner currently licensed in the state must be the one to author and issue the ESA letter. The licensed provider may be the following:
- Nurse practitioner or nurse
- Licensed Mental Health Social Worker
- Licensed Counselor
The ESA letter must be written using the professional’s letterhead and include the date issued, the professional’s license number, and a statement regarding why the emotional support animal is necessary. You can use an online provider like ESA Doctors to be connected to an ESA specialist remotely, who is licensed for Wyoming.
Is an ESA the same as a psychiatric service animal in Wyoming?
An ESA and a psychiatric service dog (PSD) are not the same, but they are similar in one aspect: They help people who have a mental health disability. Despite this similarity, ESA and PSD differ in a variety of ways.
Emotional Support Animals
- Comforts an owner who has an emotional or mental health disorder
- Does not need specialized training
- Can be most household pets, such as dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, or iguanas
- Protected under the FHA and may live with the owner
Psychiatric Service Dog
- Performs tasks for the handler who has an emotional or mental health disorder
- Requires extensive training to perform specific tasks
- Can only be a canine
- Protected under additional federal laws, and may accompany handlers into areas accessible by the public.
An emotional support animal receives protection under the FHA laws while in their owner’s residence. However, they are not allowed into public areas where no pets are allowed.
In contrast, a PSD may follow their handlers anywhere the general public can go. For example, service dogs may accompany their owners into movie theaters and shopping malls.
If you would like our help qualifying for a PSD letter, you can complete the PSD Questionnaire at the link below.
Where can you adopt an ESA in Wyoming?
Finding that special animal that warms your heart is the first step to getting an ESA. If you don’t already have an animal at home, you can find the one you’re looking for at one of these highly-rated adoption sites in Wyoming.
St. Francis Animal Shelter
Founded in 1997, Saint Francis Animal Shelter is a no-kill animal shelter in Buffalo. They help over 500 abandoned, surrendered, or lost animals yearly, ensuring every animal is cared for and placed into a loving home.
Herding Rescue Dogs of Wyoming
As their name indicates, the Herding Rescue Dogs of Wyoming focuses on finding homes for unwanted herding dogs. Herding dogs are typically larger breeds with high energy, which can make them challenging in traditional homes. Herding Rescue Dogs of Wyoming fosters these dogs and trains them to be sociable and family-friendly, ideal for anyone looking for an ESA or PSD.
Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue
If you live in Wyoming and adore cats, stop by Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue for your ESA. Second Chance Sheridan Rescue, located in Sheridan, rescues and rehabilitates special-needs felines. With a wide selection of socialized kitties, you’re bound to find your purr-fect ESA.
Where You Can Take Your ESA for Exercise in Wyoming
Big Country Wyoming has a plethora of ESA-friendly activities to choose from. Stroll through the woodlands or plan a weekend in the canyons – Wyoming is the perfect place to enjoy nature with your ESA.
Popo Agie Falls Trail
The Popo Agie Falls Trail offers spectacular mountain, river, and canyon views. This popular trail is an easy 3.5-mile two-hour hike near Lander, Wyoming. Great for families, this dog-friendly trail allows for off-leash freedom in some designated areas.
Tongue River Canyon Trail
Located in Dayton, Wyoming, the Tongue River Canyon Trail is a moderately challenging 4.7-mile trail. Hike through picturesque meadows and explore a variety of caves with your four-legged friend. The trails are typically open yearlong, but the best times for you and your ESA are April through September.
Where You Can Walk Your PSD Before a Flight in Wyoming
When traveling, emotional support animals must fly as pets. However, PSDs are covered under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), a federal law allowing service dogs onto airplanes – without any fees applicable to pets. Whether you have an ESA or a PSD, it’s always a good idea to take your animal for a run and potty break before flying. The following are Wyoming dog parks near airports to make your trip more comfortable.
O-So Fun Dog Park
E Warlow Dr & Hannum Rd
Gillette, WY, US, 82716
Near Northeast Wyoming Airport (map)
The O-So Fun Dog Park is open 24 hours, perfect for red eyes or early morning flights. With separate spaces for big and small dogs, there’s enough space for all to do zoomies. However, ensure you bring water for yourself and your dog because there are no water sources at this park.
Nancy Mockler Dog Park
800 Southwest Drive
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Near Cheyenne Regional Airport (map)
The Nancy Mockler Dog Park is next door to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter and a few miles from the Cheyenne Regional Airport. Open from sunrise to sunset, the park supplies water and agility equipment to challenge your ESA. Well-kept and convenient, the Nancy Mockler Dog Park makes for a great stop before a flight.
Emotional Support Animals in the Wyoming News
FHA protection for an emotional support animal was upheld in Wyoming in 2022. A Laramie, Wyoming landlord refused to rent to an ESA owner in 2020. The landlord stated that “no pets” were allowed, despite the fact that the rental candidate showed the landlord an ESA letter. Even after being informed of the FHS requirements and viewing the ESA letter, the landlord still did not extend a rental to the ESA owner.
The ESA owner then filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency responsible for enforcing the FHA laws. The landlord was found to be in violation of the Fair Housing Act and required to pay $7,000 for discrimination. This event demonstrates Wyoming’s adherence to the FHA and its continued compassion for ESA owners.
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