How to Register an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey 

Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey

What is an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey? 

If you’re facing challenges managing your mental health and navigating your daily routines, a healthcare professional may suggest the inclusion of an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey in your treatment plan and daily life. These animals can have a profound impact on your mental well-being and contribute to the enhancement or stability of your condition. For instance, having an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey can alleviate anxiety and improve your ability to focus on daily tasks, reducing feelings of stress and unease. 

In the state of New Jersey, there are legal provisions in place to safeguard individuals who require both emotional and physical assistance against unfair discrimination. These laws specifically protect those who rely on the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey to cope with disabilities. Federal and state regulations have been implemented to uphold an individual’s right to have an emotional support animal as recommended by authorized mental health professionals. 

It is crucial for residents of New Jersey who have emotional support animals to understand the specific limitations and recognize the significant distinctions between individuals accompanied by service animals and those supported by emotional support animals. 

What is the difference between a service dog and an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey? 

Drawing a clear distinction between emotional support animals (ESAs) and service animals is essential. Service animals are granted legal access to almost all public areas when accompanied by their handlers, whereas Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey do not enjoy the same guaranteed privileges. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are defined as trained dogs that perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, Emotional Support Animals are undefined. 

The main differentiating factor between service animals and emotional support animals in New Jersey lies in their training and responsibilities. Service animals are trained to carry out tasks directly related to a person’s disability, such as guiding individuals with visual impairments or alerting diabetic patients of low blood-sugar. In contrast, emotional support animals provide crucial emotional comfort and support but do not necessarily perform specific tasks or duties associated with a disability. 

While New Jersey does not have specific laws protecting emotional support animals, individuals can still benefit from federal protections outlined in the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA permits individuals with disabilities to keep an ESA in their home, even if the property owner or landlord enforces a no-pets policy. 

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Requirements for an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey 

It is not imposed by law, but many owners of emotional support animals in New Jersey choose to voluntarily register their animals through Service Dog Certificates to obtain a mobile ID and certification documentation compatible with both Apple Wallet and Google Wallet. A registration provides owners with a presentable form of evidence for landlords and business owners if needed.  Additionally, physical markers such as bandanas and collars can be useful tools for owners of emotional support animals to prevent disputes and allow members of the public to quickly identify them as registered Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey.  

It is a simple process to register an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey. You need a letter or document from a doctor that indicates the animal is a necessary component of your treatment for a qualifying mental health condition. The contents of the letter are at the discretion of the doctor and the patient, and there is no set form that it needs to take in order to be legitimate and valid.  

Housing Laws for an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey 

Housing is New Jersey is afforded protection under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a federal law that ensures individuals with disabilities have reasonable access to housing. This protection extends to handlers who rely on emotional support animals. 

According to the FHA, property owners or housing providers are required to allow emotional support animals, even if their property has a no-pet policy. To validate the need for an emotional support animal, landlords may request documentation such as a letter from a doctor or a registration ID. Keeping a mobile ID on hand can be a straightforward way to prepare for this situation. 

Extra charges solely for accommodating an emotional support animal are not required, however, deposits may be required to address any potential damages that could be caused by an Emotional Support Animal. Disruptive behavior from an ESA, such as excessive noise, unruliness, or destruction may lead to the eviction of tenants in severe cases, even with a validly registered Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey, ensuring a balance between the rights of tenants with emotional support animals and the responsibilities of landlords to maintain a peaceful living environment for all residents. 

The only permissible questions a landlord can ask with respect to Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey are: 

  • “Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability (a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities)?; and 
  • Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? (afford a person with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy the dwelling).” 

Hotels are not subject to the Fair Housing Act so if you plan on visiting a hotel in New Jersey with your ESA, it is highly recommended you reach out to your hotel first to confirm their specific policies. Many establishments set out policies that specifically allow for Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey to accompany their handlers. For example, the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel is  a pet friendly hotel that permits ESAs. 

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Take the support dog certification quiz now and you'll gain a better understanding of the type of assistance you require and the potential benefits of having a service dog registration or an emotional support animal registration.

Employment Laws for Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey 

While the ADA offers protection for individuals with disabilities and allows service animals in public places, it does not extend the same support to emotional support animals in New Jersey. In terms of employment, the majority of workplaces do not formally permit animals unless they are service animals. This means that employers are legally allowed to deny access to your emotional support animal. However, it might be worth discussing the matter with your employer and presenting your ESA documentation to see if they are open to the idea of your emotional support animal accompanying you at work. More and more workplaces are beginning to recognize the importance of emotional support animals and their impact on employee mental health. 

Flying with an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey  

Emotional support animals in New Jersey do not have the same protection when it comes to traveling on commercial airlines as service animals do. In the past, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) required airlines to make reasonable accommodations for passengers with ESAs, but now it only applies to service dogs. If you wish to bring your ESA on a flight, you may be able to carry it in a pet-safe carrier as carry-on luggage and stow it under your seat, as long as it is small enough and you pay a fee. Regardless, if you intend to fly with your ESA, it is critical to contact your airline in advance to confirm their specific policies and accommodations.  

Another option is to train your emotional support animal as a service dog. These dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that alleviate the symptoms of disabilities including mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Service dogs are protected under the ACAA and can accompany their owner in the airplane cabin. However, airlines may require you to complete a form about your service animal so it is still critical to contact your airline in advance even if travelling with a service animal. These forms ask about your dog’s training and also serve as an agreement that you understand that your dog must be well-behaved or else it can be treated as a pet and placed in a carrier for a fee.

FAQs for Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey 

What if my landlord has a “no pets” policy? Can my ESA still live with me? 

As per the Fair Housing Act, tenants have the right to possess an emotional support animal, and landlords are prohibited from imposing any restrictions as long as the tenant can provide a valid letter from a medical professional. Additionally, landlords are not allowed to impose any additional fees for this accommodation. 

Can my ESA come to work with me? 

At the present time, ESAs are not provided the right via state law to accompany their handlers to work. However, you may be permitted by your workplace to be accompanied by an ESA if you can supply registration documentation for your Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey. 

What Types of Animals are Eligible as ESAs? 

Although dogs are the most common type of ESA by far, any pet may qualify.  

Register your support dog online now to receive your instant Service Dog Registration, Service Dog certificate and Service Dog Certification Documents or Register your Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey for ESA Registration, ESA  Certification and ESA Certificate Documents