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Emotional Support Animal In Pennsylvania: Laws And Benefits

Emotional Support Animal in Pennsylvania
Emily Nelson
Written by Emily Nelson

Having an Emotional Support Animal in Pennsylvania becomes more common in the daily life of Americans. All states in the U.S. must follow the same federal laws. The regulations and punishments, rules, and exceptions can have a few differences in a state’s discretion. 

In this article, you can find regulations for Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal and Service Animal. If you’re not from PE, you can read more about registering your dog as an emotional support animal here.

Emotional Support Animal In Pennsylvania

More and more people suffer from mental health disorders due to daily stress. That’s why scientists started researching ways how to cope with mental and emotional conditions with their day-to-day life. And one of the findings that domesticated animals reduce stress and anxiety and the presence of emotional support animals makes people emotionally stable.

So, emotional support animals in PA means a pet that helps people with mental disabilities to feel better. A Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal is prescribed by someone who is licensed in the mental health profession. Doctors prescribe these animals if they consider that it improves or stabilizes a person’s mental health.

A woman and a man hug an emotional support animal in Pennsylvania

Emotional Support Animal Laws In PA

There are two primary regulations the will support you in having an emotional support animal in Pennsylvania: the Act Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). PA emotional support animal laws are the same as other states.

Housing Laws For Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal

The Federal Fair of Housing Act protects individuals with emotional disabilities with the right to live with their ESA in no-pets apartments. Landlords can’t rely on you if you have a dog and an ESA letter. They cannot charge a pet deposit because an ESA isn’t an ordinary pet. Emotional Support Animals must live with their owners with mental health disorders.

ESA Campus Housing

The Fair Housing Act covers university campuses. Students with an emotional support animal are protected against housing discrimination.

Travel Laws For Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal

The Air Carrier Access Act allows bringing an emotional support animal into the cabin of the airplane. The airline will need proof that a person has a mental disability, and he/she needs an ESA. 

To fly with your pet, you need to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional that prescribes your mental health disability. Some airlines can ask you to fill additional application forms before the flying date, for example, American Airlines, Alaska Air, Delta, United Airlines, Spirit, Frontier Airlines.

Public Transportations Laws For Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal

PA emotional support animals are not allowed to be with their owners on public transport like trains, buses, etc. Only service animals have access to public transportation and places.

Punishment For Misrepresenting An Emotional Support Animal

Pennsylvania does not have a punishment for mispresenting an emotional support animal. If somebody found that you’re doing this, you can be asked to leave your place of work on housing.

Emotional Support Animal helps the owner to reduce mental health conditions in Pennsylvania

What an ESA Letter in PA?

ESA Letter means a prescription from a mental health professional about your needs, an emotional support animal. Under the Federal Law, you need just an ESA letter to use the rights for emotional support animals. 

You don’t need to register your dog as emotional animal support in Pennsylvania or any websites online. After getting an ESA letter in Pennsylvania, it is going to certify your pet as an emotional support animal in PA.

Benefits of Having A Pennsylvania ESA

  1. Two Legal Protections: the ability to fly with an owner who has an emotional or psychological disability; to qualify for no-pet housing and be charged some pet housing fees.
  2. An ESA Helps Produce Neurotransmitters. The studies show that dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with feeling pleasure) production is boosted by looking into your dog’s eyes. That’s why people that suffer from depression and loneliness feel safer and love with an emotional support animal.
  3. An Emotional Support Animal Calm Anxiety On Planes. An ESA can be a form of support that works differently than medicine. People with anxiety can be focused on their animals during the flight. Thus, their fear is going down.
  4. Emotional Support Animals Provide Unconditional Love. Having an ESA can help people feel love if they may struggle to receive from others.
  5. ESAs Help To Regulate Everyday Feelings. The study shows that the presence of an animal helps individuals to reduce daily anxiety, keeps physiological arousal regulated, and improves mood. The animal provides attention to demand a genuine connection. It helps to stabilize emotionality.
  6. Emotional Support Animals Provide Social Support. People with PTSD or depression find relief through the companionship of an ESA.
Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal can travel on the airplane cabin with the owner

How to Qualify for Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal?

If you want to qualify for an emotional support animal in Pennsylvania, you should have a mental health disorder. Only people with mental health conditions can get an ESA letter. You have two flows of qualifying for an ESA letter:

  1. Ask your mental health professional about getting an ESA letter in Pennsylvania. You should visit a therapist, and if the professional sees your needs – you will be certified to have an emotional support animal. If you don’t have your therapist, you may find a local licensed mental health doctor. But, it takes time if you don’t visit the therapist before.
  2. Get an ESA Letter Online. You don’t need to spend time visiting a therapist. If you know your diagnosis and symptoms of a mental health disorder, you can fill the form on the website. After that, an LMHP may call you to ask a few questions about your mental conditions and feelings. If a doctor sees your real needs, you will receive an ESA letter in PA in 48 hours.
Register an Emotional Support Animal In Pennsylvania Steps

Don’t purchase any ESA Registrations, ESA Certifications on Amazon! It’s a scam.

Components Of A Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal Letter

Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal Letter should contain a few key points that landlords and airlines like checking. There is a list what your Pennsylvania Emotional Support Animal Letter must have:

  • The letter is a doctor’s letterhead;
  • Date of issue and expire;
  • The signature of the doctor
  • Your treatment for a mental or emotional disability;
  • You will have benefits from an emotional support animal;
  • An animal is a part of your treatment.

The ESA letter is valid for only one year!

Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals help people with a disability in Pennsylvania

Disorders That Qualify An Individual In Pennsylvania For An Emotional Support Animal

Here are disorders that are qualifying people for an emotional support animal letter:

  •     Anxiety
  •     Depression
  •     Bipolar disorder
  •     Mood disorder
  •     Fear/phobias
  •     Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  •     Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies
  •     Adjustment Disorders
  •     Generalized anxiety disorder
  •     Social anxiety disorder
  •     Panic disorder
  •     Post-traumatic stress disorder
  •     Separation anxiety
  •     Dissociative Disorders
  •     Factitious Disorders
  •     Eating Disorders
  •     Impulse-Control Disorders
  •     Mood Disorders
  •     Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  •     Personality Disorders
  •     Psychotic Disorders
  •     Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
  •     Sleep Disorders
  •     Somatoform Disorders
  •     Stress
  •     Substance-Related Disorders

Pennsylvania Service Animals

Assistance animals mean any animal that helps individuals with disabilities. A service animal is one of the types that allow people with disabilities. The key difference between service animals and emotional support animals that service dogs in Pennsylvania are highly trained to perform specific tasks for a person with disabilities. ESA dogs should perform specific tasks, and they don’t need to have any certifications. Service animals can be only dogs or miniature horses. But, most common is service dogs in PA. 

Service animals tasks such as:

  • Opening doors;
  • Turning light switches on or off;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Carrying medications;
  • Picking up and retrieving objects;
  • Calming a person with PTSD

Service Dog Training in PA

There are the best training centers for service dogs in Pennsylvania:

  1. Susquehanna Service Dogs, Grantville, PA
  2. Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central, Millersville, PA
  3. Christine Cares: Pet Care and Training Services, Pittsburg, PA
  4. Service Paws Of Central, Altoona, PA
  5. Dog Training Center of Chester Country, Exton, PA
A woman hold a service dog in Pennsylvania

How To Get a Service Dog in PA?

If you don’t have your dog that you may train, you can buy a service dog. However, service dogs tend to be expensive. Sometimes, people with disabilities find a non-profit organization that will pay for the service dog.

If you have your dog, you should train it. You may choose one of the centers in Pennsylvania from the list or hire someone that can train your dog at home. You will see the whole training process. Sometimes, some trainers do bad things with dogs they train. Be sure a trainer is adequate and likes animals. 

Don’t register a dog as a service dog in Pennsylvania via a website. It’s a scam. First of all, a dog should be trained and prove its skills for specific tasks.
Some support animals have licenses or certifications and carry identification papers, but this is not a requirement in Pennsylvania.

PA Service Dogs Laws

Pennsylvania service dog laws are the same as other states. Service dogs in PA can visit all public places, including stores, bars, hotels, museums, etc., and obtain all the accommodation advantages as emotional support animals.  

You may not be charged a fee to bring your service animal to any public accommodations. An establishment cannot ask detailed questions about your disability, medical documentation for the user, unique identification card, or documentation for the anima, a demonstration of ability by the dog.

Individuals who use a service dog for a disability are protected. Employers do not need to accommodate support animal handlers or trainers.

The service animal isn’t an emotional support animal. You can’t bring ESA to any public place!

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits airlines from discriminating against people with physical or mental impairments. You can bring your assistance animal on planes for free without the other restrictions. Some airlines check the documentation for your service dog or emotional support animal. Thus, check all info on the airline’s website before your flying date.

A girl walks with a service dog in Pennsylvania National Park

Where To Stay In Pennsylvania With An Emotional Support Animal?

Hiking or traveling with your pet in Pennsylvania? Here are lists of the best hotels, parks in PA.

Pennsylvania Dog-Friendly Resorts and Hotels

  1. Red Roof Inn, Lancaster, PA
  2. Wrightsville Cabin, Lancaster PA
  3. The Westin Convention Center, Pittsburg, PA
  4. Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, Erie, PA
  5. Sheraton Hershey Hotel, Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania National Dog-Friendly Parks

  1. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
  2. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  3. Gettysburg National Military Park
  4. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
  5. Johnstown Flood National Memorial
  6. Valley Forge National Historical Park

Conclusion

Emotional support animals make brighter and full of emotions, life for people with mental and emotional disabilities. Service animals are helpers for people with physical or mental disabilities. You can get an ESA letter for your pet in Pennsylvania online or ask your mental health therapist to provide you a letter. Service animals are only trained dogs or miniature horses. ESA can be any domesticated animal with any size, weight, and breed. 

Don’t discriminate against people with emotional support animals in Pennsylvania. You don’t know the real story of these people why they need this kind of animal. Just support them!

About the author

Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson is the author and editor that love writing pet content. She spent ages editing pet content, and is focused on animal rescue and providing more rights to the pets.

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