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How to Get Your Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey Certified

New Jersey-ESA

Numerous individuals in the United States rely on Emotional Support Animals to navigate their daily lives. The positive impact on well-being is invaluable, but this doesn’t necessarily guarantee approval from landlords. Without appropriate documentation for their animals, tenants may still face eviction and fees.

Residents who may have an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey are granted specific rights by both state and federal governments when it comes to housing and travel. Landlords must comply with these regulations concerning the animals, or they risk facing legal consequences.

American Service Pets helps with obtaining certification for Emotional Support Animals. Learn more about qualifying for an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey, the laws related to ESAs, and the rights and responsibilities of owners today.

The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals for Humans

Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals are often dogs, but not always. Regardless of animal type, ESAs help their owners navigate through a variety of mental health challenges by providing physical and psychological benefits, including:

Mood Booster

Having an animal to care for can decrease feelings of loneliness and naturally boost your mood due to a spike in the hormones dopamine and serotonin. Simply put, our furry friends make us smile.

Naturopathic Remedy

Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are often treated with prescription medication. However, now many Americans are searching for drug-free methods of treatment, and an ESA can do just that.

Genuine Source of Support

Anxiety, depression, or even pressure from our daily lives can snowball and become overwhelming. Having a companion by your side can provide the comfort needed to cope.

So many people rely on their Emotional Support Animal. American Service Pets helps those with an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey secure the necessary paperwork. Find out if you qualify in just a few short minutes. 

Laws Surrounding Emotional Support Animals in New Jersey

Emotional Support Animals are distinct from service animals in that they are not formally trained to carry out life-saing tasks or assist individuals with disabilities. Instead, their role primarily revolves around offering companionship, comfort, and emotional support. It’s important to note that Emotional Support Animals are not classified as service animals, and the regulations governing them differ.

Federal laws offer protection to Emotional Support Animals, provided that the owner possesses a valid certification letter from a licensed health professional in New Jersey. While these official letters are recognized nationwide, specific regulations may vary from one state to another. Here is a summary of key laws applicable to ESAs in New Jersey:

Housing Laws

A landlord in New Jersey is not permitted to evict or charge additional fees to a tenant, even if they have a policy prohibiting pets. This policy holds true across all types of rental housing — apartments, houses, public housing units, and condos. The only exception is if the animal could cause what is considered “undue financial burden.”

The meaning of undue financial burden can vary in New Jersey, but it can include:

  • Property damage
  • Threat to any other tenants
  • Homeowner allergies
New Jersey-ESA

Landlords do have the right to request additional paperwork on your ESA, and attempting to present false paperwork is a crime. Misrepresentation of a pet as a service or support animal can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of between $100 and $500.

New Jersey-ESA

Public Access

Public places are not required to allow Emotional Support Animals on the premises, per state and federal laws. Grocery stores, restaurants, and other public places are under no obligation to let these animals into their establishments. However, different policies apply to Psychiatric Service Animals.

Workplace Laws

New Jersey employers are not legally required to allow Emotional Support Animals in their facilities. That being said, providing an employer with your ESA paperwork may convince them to allow your animal in the workplace.

New Jersey-ESA
New Jersey-ESA

Travel Laws

Emotional Support Animals are no longer allowed in the cabin during air travel. Public transportation services such as buses, trains, and railways are under no legal obligation to board ESAs. Some rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have less stringent policies, but you have to check ahead of time. 

American Service Pets proudly provides a simple path to certification for those in need of an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey.

FAQ
The Basics

Does the state have its own laws in addition to federal legislature?

Yes, in addition to following the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits unlawful discrimination based on a number of factors, including mental or physical disabilities.

Definition of a "Service Animal"

A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. Examples of service animals are guide or seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, sensory dogs that detect health emergencies like seizures or allergens, psychiatric service dogs, and mobility dogs.

What is considered a disability in the state?

The term disability is very broad under New Jersey law. It includes any physical disability or disfigurement caused by body injury, birth defect or illness and any mental, psychological, or developmental disability that inhibits the normal exercise of bodily and mental function. This definition also includes past, future, and perceived disabilities.

What animals qualify as a service animal?

Service animals are mainly dogs, but in some cases miniature horses may also be considered qualified service animals.

Are there penalties for falsly claiming or implying (such as with a service animal harness), that one's animal is a service animal?

Yes. Anyone who intentionally misrepresents a dog as a service animal can be fined between $100 and $500.

Do state laws provide coverage for service animals in training?

Yes, New Jersey’s state law says that service dog trainers are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as individuals with disabilities when they are accompanied by and actively training a service animal.

Do state laws provide coverage for Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals are not guaranteed access to public places like service dogs are because they are not trained in the same manner that service animals are.

FAQ
Public Accommodations & Travel with a Service Animal

What counts as a "public accommodation" in the state? Ie. Where are service dogs allowed?

The definition of public accommodation under the New Jersey LAD is extremely broad and includes “any place that offers goods, services, or facilities to the public,” such as schools, colleges, and universities; stores and businesses; restaurants; summer camps; hotels and motels; medical providers, hospitals, and doctor’s offices; and government offices or agencies. The definition under the ADA is equally broad, including “all businesses and organizations that offer goods and services to the public or are open to the public.”

Can a public establishment question a service animal?

If if is not evident what disability a service animal assists with, public establishments may only ask whether or not an animal is a service animal and what task(s) it is trained to perform.

Are there any exceptions to public accommodations allowances?

The only public places exempt from ADA and NJLAD coverage are religious establishments and private clubs that meet certain criteria. Additionally, a service animal is not housebroken, is out of control, or is posing a threat to the health and safety of other patrons, a qualified public accommodation can deny it access or ask that it be removed.

What are the rules regarding service animals on public transportation?

Public transportation falls under the umbrella of public accommodations that must allow individuals with disabilities who have service animals full and equal access.

Are there laws about service animals in the workplace?

Individuals with disabilties have the right to request the use of their service animals in the workplace as a reasonable accommodation from their employer (or prospective employer). Employers can evaluate the request to ensure it does not cause undue hardship or change the fundamental nature of the business, but generally they must provide reasonable workplace accommodations.

Are service animals allowed access to healthcare facilities?

Yes, service animals are generally allowed in areas of medical facilities that are open to the public, such as waiting rooms or examination rooms. They may however, be barred from areas where the animals’ presence could compromise sterility, such as operating rooms or burn units.

Are there penalties for public places that refuse service animals?

Yes. State law says that anyone who interferes with or denies a person with disability and their service animal access is liable to a civil penalty of $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation, and $1000 for the third and subsequent violations.

New Jersey follows the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which defines a service animal as a dog (regardless of breed or size) trained to do work or perform tasks to assist a qualified individual with a diability, and may include psychiatric service dogs. Minature horses are excluded in this definition.

How do airlines determine what qualifies as a service animal?

Airlines can require a passenger to provide a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) form attesting to the animal’s health, behavior, and training and a U.S. DOT form attesting that the animal can either not relieve itself or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner (if the animal will be on a flight that is 8 or more hours).

Are service animals in-training covered by this law?

The ACAA does not address service animals in-training, so airlines are not required to carry them as they do not meet the requirements of an ACAA-defined service animal. However, airlines can make their own individual policies.

FAQ
Housing Law

What are the state's laws regarding housing and service animals?

Both the NJLAD and the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) protect against discrimination when it comes to housing (with disability discrimination being amongst protected groups). As a result, you cannot be denied housing or made to pay extra due to the presence of a service animal. If needed, you may request the use of a service animal as a reasonable accommodation from your housing provider in order to waive “pet fees.”

Are there any exceptions to housing allowances?

The NJLAD does not apply to two kinds of residences: 1. rental of an apartment in a two-family delling, if the owner occupies the other unit and 2. rental of a room or rooms in a one-family dwelling if the person renting out the rooms or that person’s family lives there.

Am I liable for damage caused by my service animal?

You may not be required to pay extra rent or fees associated with having a service dog living with you, but you may be liable for repairing any damage caused by the animal beyond normal wear and tear.

Do housing laws extend to ESAs?

Yes, the FHA extends protections to ESAs. You may present a letter from a doctor or mental health professional to your landlord as a part of a reasonable accommodation request for housing the same way an individual with a service dog would. Additionally, though service animals are generally dogs, ESAs are not restricted to a certain type of animals.

FAQ
Discrimination Complaints

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed in a public accommodation with my service dog?

If you have been discriminated against in a public accommodation or employment setting, you can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. In order to file a complaint with DCR, you must first submit an intake form, which you can do online or by calling 1-833-NJDCR4U (833-653-2748). You will want to have names and contact information of those who you believe violated your rights, the names and contact information of potential witnesses, and any documents, text messages, or emails that support or relate to your allegations. For additional assistance, you can call the above phone number or email NJDCR4U@njcivilrights.gov.

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed to have my service dog in housing (or for being forced to pay a fee to a landlord)?

If you believe your housing rights have been violated, you can make a complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by calling the local HUD office (800-496-4294) or filling out the online complaint form. You may also file a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within 180 days of the date of alleged discrimination by reaching out to one of DCR’s regional offices.

How Can I Get Certified for an Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey?

American Service Pets provides you with a swift and easy process to certification for your Emotional Support Animal. Just follow these easy steps:

Fill Out the Questionnaire

It takes only a few minutes to determine if you’ll be eligible for a certification letter with our simple questionnaire.

Get a Doctor's Approval

American Service Pets allows you to choose whether you want to communicate with your own doctor or one in our network for approval. Once approved, the letter will be sent to your email address.

Add Your Pet to the International Directory

American Service Pets will help you get your pet added to the online directory, which creates a pet profile and shows your pet’s status and certification letter.

95% of our applicants qualify for an ESA letter. You can get yours with American Service Pets today.

The Benefits of Choosing American Service Pets

The mission of American Service Pets is to assist those struggling with mental or emotional issues in getting the help they need from an Emotional Support Animal. Our network of ESA owners across the U.S. is now over 45,000 strong. Here’s what makes our service exceptional:

How To Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter in Wisconsin with American Service Pets

American Service Pets can help put you on the fast track to enjoying love and support from your animal. Start today with our simple online questionnaire.

Nationwide Experts in Emotional Support Animal Certification

Don’t put up with harassment from those who don’t understand the health benefits of the bond you have with your Emotional Support Animal. That’s why we are here to assist you with registering your Emotional Support Animal in New Jersey. Leave behind any worries about rental accommodations or fees related to having an ESA. If you meet the criteria, you can obtain certification in just a few minutes through American Service Pets.

Disclaimer: We would like to emphasize that while the terms “certification” or “registration” may be used in relation to Emotional Support Animals, there is no official certification process for ESAs or any form of ESA registry as of this date. As such, the use of these terms should not be interpreted as legally recognized designations by government or regulatory authorities. Remember, ESAs can provide a valuable source of comfort and support, but their recognition relies on proper documentation from a healthcare professional and adherence to relevant laws and guidelines.

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