The stunning and picturesque state of Colorado is no stranger to cute and adorable pets.
In fact, the state has one of the highest percentages of pet ownership in the country. This includes a fair share of Emotional Support Animals as well, helping the residents maintain their wellbeing.
Emotional Support Animal under Colorado Law
Colorado animal laws do not identify an emotional support animal as a service animal. Animals that primarily provide emotional support, companionship and comfort for a disabled person is considered a companion animal.
Although these assistance animals often have therapeutic benefits, they are not trained to perform any specific tasks for their owners.
Emotional Support Animals are also not protected under the ADA; however, the federal and state housing laws are still applicable to them.
- The Air Carrier Access Act allows anyone with a disability to travel in flight with their emotional support animal.
- The Fair Housing Act protects disabled individuals against discrimination to receive reasonable accommodation for their companion animals. This applies to university housing as well. You will not be charged any additional fees to accommodate your animal. However, you still must pay for any damage they might cause to the building.
Note that the law does not grant your animal access to public areas. Businesses and other public entities are not legally required to allow ESAs into their premises.
Similar to other states, owners of ESA still need a letter from a licensed medical health professional. It is necessary to note that if an ESA behaves inappropriately, the landlord still has the right to deny tenancy.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal in Colorado
Whether you are adopting a new animal or looking to designate your current pet as an ESA, Colorado law requires you to be in possession of an ESA letter. In order to obtain one, you can consult a therapist or a licensed medical professional to assess you. If they determine that you will benefit from an ESA, they can write you a letter on their official overhead.
It is important that the letter has the contact information of the therapist as well as their signature. It should also have the date of issue, as the document is valid only for one year.
Violations and Penalties
Considering the increasing number of fake ESA cases in the state, Colorado has enforced strict laws to ensure that there is no exploitation of the system that is intended to help the disabled people. And thus, if a person misrepresents their entitlement to assistance animals to obtain any privileges, it falls under the violation of the law.
It is illegal in the state to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a survival or assistance animal as well. Any such violation is punishable with a penalty between $45 to $500 charged for each offense.
If you need the help of an Emotional Support Animal, follow all the right steps to get a prescription. Make sure that you consult a licensed professional and get a valid certificate before you present your animal as an ESA anywhere.