If you have emotional or psychological challenges that are hard to deal with on your own, you may benefit from a companion. An emotional support animal could be that companion, offering constant reassurance and support.
Emotional support animals enrich the lives of their owners, and they help navigate a wide range of mental health challenges. They help with anxiety, PTSD, depression, and more.
The first step to qualifying for an ESA in Nevada is to get an ESA letter. From there, you can enjoy the mental and emotional health benefits.
Learn what steps you’ll need to take to step into this new stage of life with your ESA by your side.
Do You Qualify for an ESA Letter in Nevada?
There are several steps to take to qualify for an ESA letter in Nevada. You need to show that you would benefit emotionally or psychologically from the companionship of a pet, not just a dog. You can’t just be upset one day and decide to get one. You should be able to show that you have a history of emotional or psychological issues that the assistance of a support animal would improve.
Conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) typically qualify for ESA ownership.
From there, you’ll need a psychological assessment to verify that you qualify for an ESA and a licensed mental health professional to sign off saying your specific condition would benefit from an assistance animal.
Who Can Write an ESA Letter in Nevada?
You need a licensed health professional to write an emotional support animal letter of approval in Nevada. You don’t necessarily need to find a licensed mental health professional, but many choose to see therapists and psychiatrists because a psychological evaluation is required. They need to evaluate you and determine whether you qualify for assistance from an ESA before they can issue you a letter.
Here are some of the different healthcare professionals that could write you an ESA letter:
- PCP (primary care physician)
- General physician/practitioner of internal medicine
- A licensed therapist or psychiatrist
- Any other licensed mental health professional
What’s Inside a Nevada ESA Letter?
Your Nevada ESA letter must contain this information:
- The signed name, credentials, and license number of the mental health professional who evaluated you, printed on their professional letterhead
- The positive result of their evaluation, designating you as the rightful owner of an emotional support animal
- Date of issuance
- Date of the license and where it was issued
- Details of the pet included (optional)
Benefits of Getting an ESA Letter in Nevada
There are many benefits to getting an emotional support animal, and a letter helps you obtain those benefits in Nevada.
Ease of Movement
You don’t have to restrict where you go anymore. Go into restaurants, bookstores, new housing, medical offices, and more with the ease of everyone else. Proudly bring your emotional support animal along and simply show whoever asks what they’re doing there your letter as an explanation.
Live in No-Pet Housing
You can petition to live with your ESA even in no-pet housing, as they have protections under the Fair Housing Act. An ESA letter will make convincing your landlord that much easier.
No More Pet Charges
You can waive many pet charges for booking hotels and travel if you demonstrate that they’re necessary companions.
Mitigating Stress and Anxiety
Another fantastic benefit of owning an emotional support animal is how therapeutic it can be for its owner. Several research studies have shown that owning an emotional support animal can have positive mental and emotional health benefits, from alleviating stress, combating loneliness, normalizing heart rate and blood pressure, and even reducing depression.
Beyond just getting the ESA, getting the letter will lower your stress because it provides official documentation that your assistance animal is not just a pet.
Emotional Support Animals Laws in Nevada
Federal law protects the rights of the differently abled. These are also the laws governing the rights and privileges of emotional support animals. They are the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, and Air Carrier Access Act.
Many state laws in Nevada adhere to the provisions laid out by these three acts. Generally, emotional support animals don’t receive the same privileges as service dogs because they are not deemed medically necessary for the primary motor functioning of the ESA owner. But there are specific statutes and modifications you should know:
The Air Carrier Access Act update in 2020 removed the requirement for air carriers to accommodate ESA when flying with their owners on airplanes. Only service dogs continue to receive this privilege, and it’s no different in the state of Nevada. Regarding local land travel, ESAs are allowed on public transit per state compliance with ACAA and ADA regulations.
The Fair Housing Act prevents property managers and landlords from discriminating against tenants based on disability. Emotional support animals figure into the equation because they are necessary companions to people with disabilities. Your landlord can’t deny you housing based on their no-pets policy if your pet is a service dog or emotional support animal.
Landlords and property managers don’t always know the ins and outs of the law. Some will accommodate service dogs but not ESAs because they view the two types of assistance animals as having different protections. However, housing is one of the areas where they have the same legal protections.
You can petition unfair or discriminatory treatment by a landlord by appealing to Nevada’s housing discrimination law. It makes specific note of service dogs, emotional support animals, and specially trained miniature horses.
There are some exceptions, such as if your ESA causes property damage. Another exception is if you want to bring them into university campus housing, in which case you’d be subject to university housing laws, which are different from private properties.
Like the Air Carrier Access Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect the rights of emotional support animals within workplaces, only service dogs. The reason is the same: ESAs do not provide critical assistance and specific tasks as service dogs do.
It’s always worth asking your boss if they will make an exception for your ESA. Especially if you show them your ESA letter, they may understand how important it would be for you to bring them to work.
Neither the ADA nor Nevada’s public accommodations law allows people to bring pets into public accommodations. Generally, it does not cover animals that provide a sense of safety, companionship, and comfort to those with psychiatric or emotional conditions. But again, case-by-case exceptions apply per each establishment’s house rules.
NRS 426.805: Misrepresentation of a Service Animal
In the state of Nevada, NRS 426.805 states it is a crime to misrepresent any animal as a service animal, including if they are an emotional support animal.
Service dogs have a different status under the law compared to ESAs. In the case of a service dog, the owner must demonstrate that they have a physical, emotional, or psychological condition that prohibits them from performing essential functions required to survive. ESAs don’t need this training and therefore don’t receive the same legal protections.
If convicted of service dog impersonation fraud, you may have to pay a fine of up to $500. When you enter spaces, explain your animal is an ESA, and don’t misrepresent them as a service dog.
NRS 426.790: Interfering with a Service Animal
Another state law, NRS 426.790, also concerns service dogs, but it is important to know. State law 426.790 states that interfering with, attacking, or killing a service animal can result in severe penalties. People need their service animals (and, of course, their ESAs), and there are rules in the book to protect them from harm!
How to Get an ESA Letter in Nevada: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you know whether you qualify for an ESA and why you should get an ESA letter, how do you get one? It’s simple if you follow these four steps.
1 . Determine Whether You’d Benefit From an ESA
First, ask yourself some of the questions posed in this guide. Would you benefit from the companionship of an ESA? Would one help you get out of bed in the morning? Would one help you leave the house, get the things you need to do done, and overall live a better, more fulfilling life? Then you certainly would benefit from owning one.
2. Schedule a Consultation with a Trained Mental Health Professional
Call a trained therapist or counselor, or just see your general practitioner. Have them evaluate you.
Most of the time, the initial consultation is more of a conversation. They might ask, what are you experiencing that is setting you back or making easy things needlessly difficult? Would an emotional support animal help bridge these gulfs?
A trained and licensed health professional can provide specific suggestions for coping with your mental or emotional health difficulties and advise you to seek ESA companionship.
3. Adopt and Train Your ESA
If you already have a pet, perfect. With your letter, you are officially an ESA owner. But if you don’t have a pet, you get to go through the miraculous process of adopting a new pet.
The fantastic thing about ESAs is they don’t have to be dogs. You can have an emotional support rabbit, kitten, or guinea pig.
You’ll want to think wisely about what will be easiest to bring with you into the outside world. Dogs and cats are the most popular because they are the most familiar.
Also, you’ll need to seek out training for them once you’ve done the adoption. You may have to pay fees for damage caused by an untrained animal, and some establishments won’t accommodate you if the animal is unruly or dangerous.
4. Receive and Learn How To Use Your ESA Letter
Once you get an ESA letter, you should practice with friends and loved ones what to do when confronted about bringing your animal “where it doesn’t belong.”
Most of the time, shopkeepers and managers will ask nicely to see your paperwork, and you should be ready for the conversation when they do.
An ESA letter in Nevada can significantly improve your life. Check out the ESA Registration of America for more resources, and once you get your ESA letter, register your ESA!