Can You Have An Emotional Support Tarantula In Utah?
With a growing number of Americans being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and many other mental health conditions, there's sure to be a rise in Emotional Support Animals. So I wanted to know what the laws were in Utah about ESA's.
Did you know that Utah does not legally protect or recognize Emotional Support Animals? If you have an ESA in Utah, the only way you are legally protected is through housing.
Under Utah law and the Fair Housing Act, individuals with ESAs are allowed to live with their animals in housing that does not allow pets, and landlords cannot charge additional fees or deposits for ESAs.
But guess what? If your pet is a threat to others or destroys property, a landlord is allowed to deny a tenant access or charge them extra fees.
There are differences between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals. ESA's do not have to be trained and do not require as much certification. They are solely there as support and comfort to their owner. But in my opinion, training your pet to behave appropriately is always best.
ESAs do not have the same rights as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While service animals are allowed to accompany their owners in all public places, including restaurants, stores, and public transportation, ESAs are not guaranteed this same level of access.
To qualify for an ESA in Utah, individuals must obtain a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that they require an ESA for their mental or emotional well-being. This letter should be updated annually, and individuals should carry it with them when traveling with their pet.
When I think of Emotional Support Animals, my first thought is a dog or a cat. But then I read stories of odd ESA's being brought on planes or taken to restaurants. Here are a few strange ESA's (in my opinion):
Miniature Horses - Although not as common as dogs or cats, miniature horses can be trained to serve as ESAs for individuals with disabilities.
Peacocks - In 2018, a passenger attempted to bring a peacock on a United Airlines flight as an ESA, citing the bird's calming presence as a reason for its need.
Snakes - While not a typical choice for an ESA, some individuals may find comfort in the presence of a pet snake.
Tarantulas - Some individuals may keep tarantulas as ESAs, citing the calming effect of caring for and observing the animals.
While these examples may seem strange or unusual, it is important to remember that ESAs can take many forms and that individuals with disabilities or mental health conditions may have unique needs when it comes to emotional support.
For instance, I've watched several Tik-Toks on Wally the emotional support alligator. I never thought I'd consider an alligator to be adorable. But Wally is and has been a great ESA for his owner.
Would you use any of these animals for emotional support?
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