Does Massachusetts Allow Emotional Support Animals?
What are the Emotional Support Animal Massachusetts Laws?
The Massachusetts law recognizes the importance of emotional support animals for its citizens. It has a set of well-defined laws to help individuals under emotional stress by keeping an emotional support animal with them.
There are specific rules for breeds and species of animals that qualify as emotional support animals regarding public access areas, their travel laws, housing laws, and more.
What are Massachusetts ESA Housing Laws?
The state of Massachusetts, under its federal laws, protects the rights of individuals with emotional support animals.
The following regulations by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are in place to help individuals keep their emotional support animals when they apply to be a tenant under an individual housing provider or within a public accommodation in a larger society of buildings:
- Not only dogs but other animals should be accepted as emotional support animals
- Emotional support animals are not expected to have any training or certification.
- Emotional support animals cannot be forced to wear collars, harnesses, or identifying marks.
- Pet fees or pet deposits are not applicable in the case of emotional support dogs.
- There are no “breed, size, or weight” limitations in the case of emotional support animals.
Thus, for individuals with emotional support animals looking for housing, the laws for emotional support animals vary significantly from those for service dogs and pets in general.
What are Massachusetts ESA Employment Laws?
There is no emotional support animal Massachusetts law regarding employment matters.
Massachusetts doesn’t allow emotional support animals to be brought to the workplace. However, this also depends on the nature of your workplace and employer.
If you have an ESA letter and your employer is considerate, you might be able to bring your ESA to your workplace. Under the Americans with Disability Act, “employers cannot discriminate against anyone with a disability.”
Although this law is not projected to emotional assistance animals, this may be valid in cases where the employee is under severe emotional or mental stress that affects their work.
What are Massachusetts ESA Travel Laws?
Until 2021, the travel rights of individuals and their emotional support animals are well protected under the Air Carrier Access Act. Based on this act, “an individual with a disability can travel with their emotional support animals if the ESA letter is provided as evidence.”
However, the ACAA act was revised on December 02, 2020, and implemented in 2021. At present, the emotional support animal Massachusetts air travel regulations depend on the airline itself.
What are Massachusetts ESA Public Transportation Laws?
There are no emotional support animal Massachusetts laws allowing ESAs on public transportation.
This is because emotional support animals are not trained as other service animals and thus may exhibit eccentric behavior that may disturb other individuals in a public vehicle or keep the safety of others at stake. Thus, if any vehicle has an explicit “no pets policy,” emotional support animals are also barred.
The department of transportation laws on allowing ESAs in public transportation and public spaces vary on a case-by-case basis.
Some spaces like parks and sidewalks have no restrictions on emotional support animals. However, visiting a restaurant, retail shop, or privately-owned space can be tricky and mostly unwelcoming.
How Do You Get an Emotional Support Animal in Massachusetts?
For an individual to be eligible, the person needs to be diagnosed with any disability. The definition of disability includes certain mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.
Physical health conditions such as the following are included in the umbrella term “disability” in these cases: epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and human immunodeficiency virus.
However, it is not limited to these conditions. If your physician or therapist sees fit, irrespective of the nature of your disability, you can be eligible for an emotional support animal.
How do I Register My Dog as an Emotional Support Animal in Massachusetts?
If you have a pet and would like to get it registered, you would need an official emotional support animal letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP).
The ESA letter should state that your condition demands the need for a psychiatric service animal, which can help improve your situation or provide you with the necessary emotional support.
However, finding an LMHP with expertise in providing these letters can be a hassle. You need to make sure that your condition and needs are well understood.
You can get your ESA letter in three hassle-free steps at Certapet, a specialized organization that provides ESA letters for Massachusetts residents.
First an easy and confidential screening test that determines your eligibility for an ESA letter. This test would require you to provide some of your personal details as well as your pet’s. This quick screening will also gauge your mental health’s current state.
Then, based on the screening, you will be in touch with a compatible LMHP for a telephonic appointment.
After the appointment, based on your LMHP’s assessment, an ESA letter will be provided to you. The ESA letter can be confidentially shipped or emailed to you once ready.
Do I Have to Tell My Landlord I Have an Emotional Support Animal in Massachusetts?
Yes, according to emotional support animal Massachusetts regulations to ensure that your emotional support animal is well protected in your residence, you must inform the landlord.
It is best to provide your landlord with a copy of the ESA letter from an LMHP. According to the Fair Housing Act, all landlords have the right to demand the ESA letter from their tenants.
Thus, the ESA letter is the ultimate document you would need to ensure your emotional support animal’s security in every place, whether traveling or for housing.
Can a Landlord Deny an Emotional Support Animal in Massachusetts?
According to the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landlord should not discriminate against tenants with an emotional support animal.
However, based on emotional support animal Massachusetts rules, a landlord may deny reasonable accommodation to an ESA owner depending on the following situations:
Mostly, if the animal is considered a threat to other residents or staff members in the housing, there may be problems in protecting your therapy animals.
- If the emotional support animal is not a domesticated species but a wild animal
- If the building has four or lesser units within which the landlord also resides
- In case the animal is of very large stature like a horse or a lama.
“If the house is a single-family unit rented or purchased without a real estate agent.”
Thus, having a legitimate ESA letter is always a good decision.
Can You Have Multiple Emotional Support Animals in Massachusetts?
Yes, you can have multiple ESAs in Massachusetts. This is because there is no emotional support animal Massachusetts law limiting the number of ESAs.
However, in accordance with emotional support animal Massachusetts regulations, the owner must have an ESA letter for each animal.