What are Emotional Support Animals?
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are animals that provide emotional support to their owners. This includes, but is not limited to, dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and even hamsters.
While they are not technically pets, they are animals that are kept by people with disabilities to provide emotional support. This is why they have been referred to as “service animals” in the past.
They are not trained to perform any specific task or work, but are allowed to accompany their owners in public places, depending on the state law.
Emotional Support Animals and Pet Therapy
Service dogs and therapy dogs provide therapy for people with physical disabilities. These can include but are not limited to mobility issues, seizures, blindness, deafness, and more. However, ESA’s provide a completely different type of therapy for their owners.
In most cases, the person who has a disability does not have the ability to take care of themselves physically or emotionally. Emotional support animals can be used as a way for the person with a disability to get help from others when they cannot do it themselves.
For example, someone who is unable to leave their house because of depression may want an ESA companion animal so that it can help them when they feel down or depressed. They can also be used by someone who has severe anxiety or PTSD and cannot handle normal activities such as leaving the house alone or being around other people.
Are Emotional Support Animals Legal in Idaho?
The answer is a bit in the gray area. While they are not illegal, emotional support animals are not supported in Idaho. In fact, they are considered to be the same as companion animals or pets. They don’t have the same rights and responsibilities as service animals and therefore don’t receive the same flexibility service animals have.
If you’re living in Idaho, you must abide by all laws that pertain to emotional support animals, such as making sure they’re not being aggressive or dangerous and not causing a disturbance to people around you. You must also keep your ESA safe and clean at all times.
What Does an Emotional Support Animal Certification Involve?
In order to get an ESA certification, you must first have a letter from your doctor. This letter should specify that you need the animal for one of the following reasons:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic Disorder
- Mood Disorders such as Bipolar Disorder
Without the assistance of their pets, they may have trouble functioning in society. They need their pets to help them function and be productive members of society. This is what an ESA certification allows.
An ESA certification gives you the right to bring your emotional support animal into your residential area. But since Idaho doesn’t consider emotional support animals as service animals, you’re still not allowed to bring them in public accommodations such as hotels, museums, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, academic institutions, etc.
For both service animals and emotional support animals, you still need to pay for damages that your animals might cause.