Emotional Support Animal Laws In Illinois 2020

Little Doggy
Written by Little Doggy

An Emotional Support Animal helps a person with mental health disorders to feel better in Illinois. If you wonder how to get registered your pet as an emotional support animal, you should understand specific laws for the state. Illinois Emotional Support Animal Laws have the newly adopted part by Illinois Assistance Animal Integrity Act (“AAIA”) that guides assessing and evaluating assistance animals. It should help to curtail the fraud of internet vendors peddling emotional support animal certifications.

In this article, you can find pet laws in Illinois, a list of legal pets in Illinois, rules to emotional support animals that live in IL, and how to get an ESA letter in Illinois.

Notice: There are affiliate links in the article – and if you buy something by using one of those links – I’ll get compensation. Thank you.

Emotional Support Animal in Illinois – What is it?

An Illinois Emotional Support Animal means a pet that helps people with mental or emotional disabilities to feel better. The emotional support animal laws in IL protect from discrimination them. 

To have an emotional support animal, people should prove their disability to a licensed mental health doctor that can write an ESA Letter.

Emotional Support Animal helps people with a disabity in Illinois

Qualification Of Mental Disabilities For An Illinois Emotional Support Animal

Federal Laws protect people who have a physical or mental condition that limits life activities. An ESA in Illinois is a part of their treatment program. 

A list of mental disorders that qualify for an IL Emotional Support Animal:

  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Cognitive disorder;
  • AHDH;
  • Stress;
  • Sexual disorder;
  • Anxiety;
  • ADD;
  • Phobias;
  • Fears;
  • Learning disorder;
  • Depression;
  • Eating Disorder;
  • Neurocognitive Disorders;

A licensed mental health professional will certify your disability and write an ESA letter.

What An ESA Letter In Illinois?

The Federal Laws require having an ESA Letter to be protected. You need to provide proof to a landlord or an airline that you have real mental health conditions, and your pet is a part of your treatment. The animal’s function is to mitigate your symptoms.

Components of Illinois ESA Letter

Your Emotional Support Animal Letter Illinois should fit the Federal guidelines:

  1. Written on the licensed mental health doctor’s letterhead;
  2. Date of issue;
  3. Date of expiry;
  4. The number of a license of the doctor;
  5. The doctor’s signature;
  6. You’re a current patient of the mental health doctor who’s writing the letter;
  7. Your mental or emotional disability is outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Version IV or V;
  8. Your animal is an essential part of your mental health treatment;
Emotional Support Animals Laws in Illinois has changed in 2020

Emotional Support Animal Laws in Illinois in 2020

Fair Housing Laws Illinois for ESA

Illinois’s 2020 Assistance Animal Integrity Act was signed into law on August 23, 2019, and will take effect on January 1, 2020. The Illinois Law will help housing providers evaluate requests for emotional support animals, support animals, and other assistance animals. The existing federal law must accommodate the needs of any resident who has a mental, emotional, or physical disability and needs an emotional support animal or other assistance animals to cope with those conditions. 

The Illinois Assistance Animal Integrity Act will help condominium associations and housing providers fulfill their commitments to disabled people by clarifying what is required to confirm disability and disability-related need for an emotional support animal and other assistance animals. 

The Act of Illinois’ AAI complements federal law in several respects:

Therapeutic Relationship Required. It means the provision of medical care, program or personal care services, in good faith for and with actual knowledge of, a person’s disability and that’s person’s disability-related need for an emotional support animal or other assistance animals by: 

  • A physician or other medical professional;
  • A mental health service provider;
  • A non-medical service agency;
  • A reliable third party who is in a position to know about the person’s disability.

The documentation submitted based on a single visit to a health care provider only to obtain a “doctor’s note” will not be legally sufficient!

Service Animal Registration, ESA Certificates, ESA Letters. Due to increasing of online businesses that claim to “certify” or register an emotional support animal in Illinois, or arrange for health care providers to assign an emotional support animal letter certifying a disability and – individual’s need for an ESA without a meaningful evaluation of whether the person is disabled. 

The Act provides that certificate, license, or similar document does not approve the therapeutic relationship requirement unless the provider has conducted a significant assessment of a person’s disability and disability-related need for an emotional support animal in Illinois or other assistance animals.

A Non-Medical Personnel Can Document A Disability. The Act provides that confirmation of disability-related and disability for an emotional support animal and other assistance animal doesn’t have to come from a medical care provider. After conducting an assessment is in a position 

The Association isn’t responsible for Injuries Caused by Assistance Animals. The AAIA Section 15 .

Dueling Disabilities mean that under the Act, the association may consider the documented disability needs of other individuals when they evaluate a request for an emotional support animal or an assistance animal. However, they cannot deny an assistant animal due to different resident disability needs. The condominium association must try to balance the disability-related needs of all individuals. 

Request for Multiple Assistance Animals means that the condominium association can request supporting documents for needs for each of the asked for emotional support animals or other assistance animals.

Emotional Support Animal Campus Housing Laws in Illinois

College campuses are considered as standard housing accommodation. Thus, a college student can get an emotional support animal to the college. Colleges must attempt to provide for students with disabilities, reasonable accommodations.

This rule works for emotional support animals and service dogs. 

Also, in Illinois, you should keep in mind Illinois’ 2020 Assistance Animal Integrity Act for standard accommodations and college campuses.

Travel Laws for ESA in Illinois

The Air Carrier Access Act protects people with disabilities during air travel. You should tell the airline that you are going to travel with your ESA or service animal before your flight date.

Employment Laws in Illinois for Emotional Support Animals

Employers are required to allow service dogs to your workplace. This rule doesn’t work for emotional support animals.

Illinois Emotional Support Animal go out with a dog owner in the snow forest

Illinois Dog Laws

There are a lot of different laws that protect residents from various issues. Dog laws in Illinois cover everyone who can benefit from understanding the laws regarding animal attacks.

A dog bite may have severe psychological and physical consequences. All dog bite laws you can find on the Animal Control Act.

Responsibilities of an Illinois Dog Owner

Illinois is a stringent liability state dealing with dog bites. A dangerous dog means a dog that is the property of the owner or custodian of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner. The owner can’t argue that they don’t know about an animal’s aggression. 

A dog owner is responsible for:

  • always ensure their pet remains secured on their property;
  • A dog should remain leashed on public or private property;
  • If a dog escapes from the dog owner’s property and any damage the dog causes.

510 ILCS 5/16 in Illinois code of laws cover dog bites and injuries. If a dog bit you, you must be able to show the following:

  • How a dog attempted to injure and attack;
  • A lawful right to be in the place where it happened;
  • You didn’t provoke it.

Illinois’ dog laws cover all injuries resulting from dogs and seek compensation under the stature.

If your dog is an emotional support animal, it works for you as well.

The Animal Control Act doesn’t cover situations where an injured person provoked a dog. Teasing or physically abusing are included in the provocation.

City of Chicago Dog License

The city of Chicago requires dogs to be licensed. It needs to prove that they are appropriately vaccinated for contagious diseases.

You can get the license from the Chicago City Clerk for a $5 fee.

An emotional support letter you can get online via the website or to ask your mental health professional for it.

The fine would be up to $500 if a pet owner didn’t get it.

A Permit For Chicago Dog Parks

Each dog should have a permit and tag to enter a dog-friendly are at a Chicago park. It costs $5 for each animal.

You can buy it through veterinarians throughout the Chicagoland area.

  • Abell Animal Hospital, Chicago, IL
  • Animal Ark Veterinary Clinic, PC, Chicago, IL
  • Banfield Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL
  • Banfield Pet Hospital Niles, Niles, IL
  • Cermak Animal Clinic, Berwyn, IL
  • Elmwood Grove Animal Hospital, River Grove, IL
  • Elk Grove Pet Clinic, Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Fox Animal Hospital, Evanston, IL
  • Grand Prairie Avenue Hospital, Manhattan, IL
  • Janda Veterinary Hospital, Cicero, IL

The full list of getting a permit for Chicago Dog Parks here.

Getting an Emotional Support Animal in Illinois 2020

Only ESA Letter confirms that you have a mental health disability, and you need an emotional support animal. You can get an emotional support letter in Illinois by two options:

  1. Take an appointment with a licensed mental health professional in Illinois state. The best option is asking your therapist to write an ESA letter. If you don’t have your doctor, you may find a doctor with a license on the internet or ask your friends for recommendations.
  2. Online mental health professionals. Right now, you can connect with online mental health doctors via the website. You should fill the form and provide the information where you tell more about the mental health symptoms that you have. 
Register an Emotional Support Animal Steps in Illinois


Don’t purchase any certificates for an Emotional Support Animal on Amazon – it’s a scam!
Also, federal law requires an emotional support animal letter for one year. You can’t buy a consistent ESA letter. 

You don’t need to register your pet on any websites as an emotional support animal.

Benefits You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA

There are a lot of benefits of having an emotional support animal in Illinois. Studies proved health and social advantages for people who have mental health disorders with pets. 

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced stress level
  • Increased activity
  • More opportunities for socialization
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness

Where To Find A Suitable ESA In Illinois?

An emotional support animal can be any domestic animal. It doesn’t matter what size, breed, weight. However, Illinois state has a list of banned animals.

So, banned pets in Illinois are:

  • Bear
  • Bobcat
  • Lion
  • Jaguar
  • Jaguarundi
  • Tiger
  • Ocelot
  • Cheetah
  • Margay
  • Mountain lion
  • Hyena
  • Lynx
  • Leopard
  • Wolf
  • Any poisonous or life-threatening reptile

For sure, they can’t be an emotional support animal.

You can adopt a pet or purchase from a breeder. If you want to buy from a breeder one, you should ensure that you check where breeders keep animals. 

Here a list of one of the best breeders in Illinois:

  • A Boxer World, Addison, IL
  • John Cochiaro – German Shepherd puppies, Addison, IL
  • Whoodle Doodle Doo, Alton, IL
  • Pam Rendleman, Anna IL
  • Mark Otto, Arcola, IL
  • Fairhope Kennels, Arthur, IL
  • Double H Pups, Atwood, IL
  • Angela Vollmer, Auburn, IL
  • Fuehne Family Pets, Aviston, IL
  • Meg Mlynarska, Barrington Hills, IL
  • Erica, Beecher, IL
  • Everett Kauffman, Carbondale, IL
  • Cheryl, Chicago, IL
A rescue dog in Illinois will be thankful to you forever

If you want to adopt a rescue pet, check everything before taking it home. You should visit a veterinarian to review a pet’s health.

You can adopt a dog in Illinois in these places:

  • A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter, Naperville, IL
  • Benld Adopt-A-Pet, Benld, IL
  • Animal House Shelter, Huntley, IL
  • Anderson Animal Shelter Adoption Center, Bloomingdale, IL
  • Heartland Animal Shelter, Northbrook, IL
  • Wright-Way Rescue, Morton Grove, IL
  • Chicago Canine Rescue, Chicago, IL
  • Barb’s Precious Rescue & Adoption Center, Palatine, IL

You may get an ESA letter in Illinois before bringing your pet home.

Types Of Assistance Animals

Service Animal in Illinois

You should always remember that a service animal isn’t an emotional support animal by the law. They have different purposes. A service animal is a trained pet – dog or miniature horse, to perform specific tasks that help an individual’s disability: physical or psychiatric. 

Service dog in Illinois should be trained

A service animal should take specific training to become a service animal. You can’t register your dog as a service dog in Illinois without training.

Service dog laws Illinois are the same for all states. They can visit all public places, live in “no-pet policy” and travel in the airplane cabin. Emotional support animals can’t attend public places!

Therapy Dogs In Illinois

Therapy dogs in Illinois have the same purpose as an emotional support animal but to a group of people. They don’t have equal rights as ESA pets in Illinois.

A therapy dog in Illinois should be trained and has good behavior with others.

Canine Therapy Corps certified therapy dogs in Chicago.

Where To Take Your Emotional Support Animal In Illinois?

Dog Parks In Illinois

  • Whalon Lake Dog Park, Naperville, IL
  • Katherine Legge Memorial, Hinsdale, IL
  • Winnemac Park, Chicago IL
  • Prairie Wolf Dog Park, Lake Forest, IL
  • Batavia Bark Park, Batavia, IL

Dog Runs in Chicago, IL

  • Grant Bark Park
  • Churchill Field Dog Park
  • Logan Square Dog Park

Dog Beaches in Illinois

  • Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, IL
  • Moraine Dog Beach and Park, Highland Park, IL
  • Belmont Harbor Beach, Chicago, IL
  • Evanston Dog Beach, Evanston, IL
  • North Marcum Beach, Benton, IL


Life with an emotional support animal helps to increase your happiness. The city of Chicago in Illinois protects the rights of people with a disability and that have an emotional support animal. Remember, that only a licensed mental health professional can prescribe you for an ESA in Illinois.

Two options are for getting an ESA letter: online or visit your therapist.

Don’t forget to check all laws about emotional support animals and the difference between types of assistant animals.

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Little Doggy

Little Doggy