According to US News, the Buckeye State ranks as one of the top 10 states for opportunity—meaning an opportunity for an improved quality of life and achieving success. This favorable ranking makes Ohio a magnet for people seeking ways to improve themselves. And for people struggling with emotional or mental health concerns, living somewhere with friendly and encouraging citizens, like Ohioans, can make all the difference.  

Ohio residents have a soft spot for dogs making it an ideal state for someone with an emotional support animal (ESA). Most emotional support animals are dogs, and Ohio is filled with dog-friendly places to visit. Anyone with an ESA, or thinking of obtaining one, can quickly feel at home in Ohio.

What is an ESA?

An ESA or emotional support animal is an animal—any domesticated pet, not only a dog or cat—that provides emotional support to individuals with mental or emotional problems. Although many people think the terms “emotional support animal” and “service animal” are interchangeable, they are different classifications. 

A service animal undergoes specialized training to fulfill a task that someone with a disability is unable to accomplish for themselves. Unlike service animals, an ESA is not specifically trained to provide a service. They do, however, fill an emotional component for their owners by providing support and comfort. ESAs help someone with an emotional or mental concern just by their presence.

The federal Air Carrier Access Act and Fair Housing Act protect ESA. Because ESAs have this protection, ESA owner’s must have a valid ESA letter to apply to the law. 

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How Is An ESA Letter Defined in Ohio? 

An emotional support animal is an actual part of a person’s treatment plan to improve their mental or emotional condition. In Ohio, an ESA letter is defined as a letter from an Ohio licensed healthcare professional that informs others that an animal is working as part of its owner or handler’s treatment recovery plan. Therefore, an ESA letter offers documentation that the ADA and Fair Housing laws apply to that animal. The letter allows ESAs to be in transport areas and live in homes that typically don’t allow pets in rental properties in all of Ohio.

Who can write an ESA letter in Ohio? 

ESA letters must be written by an Ohio licensed healthcare professional. Some of the healthcare professions that fall under this title are

  • licensed clinical social workers (LCSW)
  • psychologists
  • licensed nurses practitioners
  • physicians
  • psychiatrists

Valid ESA letters can be obtained either online or in person. People who are already undergoing treatment with a healthcare professional can inquire with them about whether an ESA is right for their treatment.

When deciding on which online ESA letter service to use, make sure that you are working with an LMHP licensed in the State of Ohio.

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Where You Can You Take Your ESA

Safe and appropriate behavior is expected of all ESA, especially in public places. It essential to remember that ESAs only have the right to be in the following two areas:  

Emotional support animals are allowed to stay in housing with no-pets policy.
Emotional support animals are allowed to stay in housing with no-pets policy.

Where You Can Adopt an ESA in Ohio 

Columbus Humane

The Columbus Humane facility features a newly renovated state-of-the-art animal shelter.  The new structure encourages increased socialization and decreases stress in their animal population.

Columbus Humane Ohio

Canine Collective 

Ohio’s Canine Collective is a no-kill dog shelter that aims to match dogs with their forever homes. Canine Collective tries to make adoption as straightforward as possible. They offer pre-approval for adoptions, so excited puppy-parents-to-be don’t have to wait long once they see the dog that melts their heart.

Canine Collective Ohio

Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue

Named after the founder’s dog, Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue offers adoptions, medical, and transport arrangements. They work with other animal rescue services in the Ohio area, facilitating care and connecting animals to their forever homes. 

Louie's Legacy Ohio

Where You Can Take Your ESA in Cleveland for Exercise, Especially Before a Flight

Every dog owner knows how vital it is for dogs to receive enough activity. Dogs who don’t release their energy can become anxious or depressed. Considerations for dogs regarding exercise and toileting must also be taken before a long flight or trip.

The following are top-rated dog parks near the Cleveland Hopkins airport that can give dogs an area to play with other dogs: 

A tired dog is a calmer dog. Try to exhaust your dog before getting on your flight to make it more enjoyable for you and your dog.

Downtown Cleveland Dogpark

The Downtown Dog Park offers 3,500 square feet of fenced area for dogs. A play structure allows dogs to show off their agility, and seating for humans allows owners some time for themselves. 

Downtown Cleveland Dogpark, Ohio
1505 Merwin Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States (map)

Bow Wow Beach 

Bow Wow Beach features a whopping 7 1/2 acres of fenced-in fun for dogs. Immediately next to the dog area is a 5-acre lake that dogs like to jump in. Unless you want a wet dog on the airplane, this dog park is ideal for regular use—but maybe not so great for a pre-flight run!

Bow Wow Beach, Ohio
5027 Stow Rd, Stow, OH 44224, United States (map)

Your ESA in Ohio

In interesting Ohio ESA news: Ohio may be welcoming of dogs and cats as emotional support animals. However, pigs might be a different story. Recently, an ESA pig and its owner were cited as violating the state’s residential ordinances—where pigs are not allowed in zoned residential areas. However, the ESA also falls under federal ESA laws. Currently, under review, the ESA pig named Charlotte remains in her home with her loving owner. 

If the LMHP you are working with is not familiar with ESA regulations, you may qualify for an ESA letter online from an LMHP licensed in Ohio. Click “Get Started” below to apply.

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