If you live in the Silver State, your right to live with an emotional support animal is protected by federal law. Landlords and housing providers have to reasonably accommodate ESAs even if they normally ban all pets. Emotional support animals are also exempt from pet fees and deposits in Nevada.
You may be wondering about making an emotional support animal part of your mental or emotional health plan. If you live in Nevada or plan to move there, the following information may be helpful in your decision-making process.
What Is an ESA?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides support to someone with a mental or emotional illness. An ESA, however, is not a service animal.
A service animal is trained to perform a specific task for someone with a disability. Unlike service animals, an ESA does not receive training to perform tasks like detect seizures or prevent falls. ESAs perform their job simply by providing their owners with their presence and companionship.
The Fair Housing Act is the federal law that protects emotional support animals in housing. Under these rules, a building’s policies and restrictions that apply to pets do not apply to emotional support animals. For example, ESAs are exempt from breed, size, and weight restrictions and are also excluded from the obligation to pay pet fees and deposits. The FHA prevents landlords from unfairly discriminating against tenants because they have a need for an emotional support animal.
What Is an ESA Letter?
A landlord is entitled to prove that a tenant has an emotional support animal. This proof comes in the form of what is known as an ESA letter. An ESA letter is a signed document from a licensed healthcare professional that states that their client needs an emotional support animal to assist with their mental or emotional health disability.
An ESA letter is the only documentation you need to submit to your housing provider to obtain accommodation for your emotional support animal.
Who Can Write an ESA letter?
The person writing your ESA letter is required to be a “licensed healthcare professional,” these include:
- Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW),
- Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT),
- Licensed mental health counselor (LMHC),
- psychologists, and
- licensed nurses and practitioners.
ESA letters are available either online or in person. If you are seeing a licensed healthcare professional in person for emotional or mental health concerns, you can inquire with them about whether an ESA is right for you. If you currently have no therapist or your doctor is out of state, you may consult a reputable and legitimate online service.
Should you decide to use an online ESA service, make sure that you are connected with an LMHP licensed in the State of Nevada.ESA Doctors, est. 2015
Where You Can Go With Your ESA
A common misconception is that ESAs are allowed wherever their owner goes. Although many public establishments are very accommodating to ESAs, they are not required by law to allow for ESAs.
Emotional support animals were once allowed to board airplane cabins free of charge. That changed due to rule changes by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The only mental health assistance animal allowed on planes now is psychiatric service dogs (PSDs).
Psychiatric service dogs are allowed to board flights free of charge and are exempt from size and weight limitations applicable to pets. To have a psychiatric service dog, the owner must have a mental health disability. A licensed healthcare professional can evaluate whether you meet these criteria and issue a PSD letter if you qualify.
All psychiatric service dogs must also be fully trained to perform a task or job relating to the handler’s disability. PSDs must also be trained to navigate public spaces and be well-behaved at the airport and during flights.
If you would like to connect with a licensed healthcare professional about whether you qualify for a PSD letter, you can get started by clicking on the link below.
How to Get your Psychiatric Service Dog Letter from ESA Doctors
Where You Can Adopt an ESA in Nevada
Southern Nevada Beagle Rescue
Southern Nevada Beagle Rescue (SNBR) connects beagles and mixed-beagle breeds with forever homes. After adoption, SNBR keeps their beagle community together through events and meetups. Once you find a beagle here, you’ll also find friends.
Desert Haven Animal Society
The Desert Haven Animal Society in Pahrump, Nevada, reunites lost pets with their owners and finds homes for stray and surrendered animals.
Pets for Vets Las Vegas Chapter
Pets for Vets pairs servicemen and women with animals as a way to heal trauma brought on by military service. Due to an emphasis on finding highly adoptable and loving animals, Pets for Vets is ideal for vets seeking a possible ESA.
Hearts Alive Village
Hearts Alive Village in Las Vegas, Nevada, focuses on providing loving and unshelter-like conditions for their cats and dogs who are waiting for forever homes. They also have a donation bank where funds help owners who can’t pay veterinary fees for their pets.
Where You Can Take Your ESA for Exercise
The following are top-rated dog parks in the Las Vegas metropolitan area where you can take your emotional support animal or psychiatric service dog for some exercise.
McCarran Dog Relief Sites
If you are flying with a psychiatric service dog, there are dog relief sites at McCarran International.
Barkin’ Basin Park
Barkin’ Basin Park boasts three separate dog areas, some cool shady trees for owners, and water fountains for dogs and people.
Woofter Family Park
Woofter Family Park is a convenient spot to run your dog. Clean and well-kept, the park has areas for both shade and sunshine.
Sunset Dog Park
Located within a gorgeous public park, Sunset Dog Park near McCarran International Airport boasts two large fenced areas for dogs. Loved by locals, you’re bound to find other dog lovers when you and your ESA are there. Though almost always filled with dogs, Sunset gives ample room for an ESA to run and play.
Your ESA in Nevada
In 2016, Nevada’s bar association put out a brochure regarding Nevada’s animal laws and federal animal laws. If you plan to obtain an ESA, be aware that Nevada law NRS 426.805 considers fraudulent misrepresentation of an animal as a service animal a misdemeanor. When getting an ESA in Nevada, ensuring you have a legitimate ESA letter is of utmost importance.