Iowa Emotional Support Animals

Do you live in Iowa or are you considering “The Hawkeye State” as a future place to call home? If so, and you have an emotional support animal (ESA), make sure you are familiar with the state’s ESA laws

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals in Iowa

Just as elsewhere in the USA, in Iowa there is a distinction between service animals and ESAs:

  • Service animals are defined as animals that are specially trained to assist a person with a disability, such as a guide dog for a visually impaired person.
  • Emotional Support Animals are defined as therapeutic but not individually trained to perform specific tasks.

Service animals in Iowa are covered under Iowa’s disability rights law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). People with disabilities can be accompanied by their service animals in public places such as stores and restaurants. 

ESAs are not covered under the ADA and thus do not have the same legal access to public spaces.

What Laws Cover ESAs in Iowa?

In Iowa, ESAs are covered by 2 federal laws: the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACA).

  • The FHA requires rental properties such as apartments to make accommodations so you can live with your ESA. This includes properties with no-pet policies. They cannot charge you extra for the accommodations. 
  • The ACA requires commercial airlines to allow your ESA to travel with you in the cabin of a plane.  They cannot charge you extra for traveling with your ESA. 

There are legal circumstances that could interfere with your desire to live with your ESA or fly with your ESA. For example, the airlines do not have to accept all types of animals; so if your ESA is an alligator, it most likely won’t be able to fly in the cabin with you. Another example is that rental property owners/managers can turn down your request to live with your ESA if it is obviously inappropriate for the living unit; so if your ESA is a Pronghorn antelope, you most likely will not be able to have it live in your studio apartment with you.

Please be aware that laws might be changed or added after this article has been published online, so check for any federal or Iowa state law updates that could affect you and your ESA.

I Want an Emotional Support Dog in Iowa, What Do I Do?

For your ESA dog (or another type of ESA) to be guaranteed privileges guaranteed by federal law in Iowa, you need an official ESA letter from an Iowa licensed mental health professional. The DOGtor can handle that for you, just as they have helped so many people over the years get the necessary paperwork. Working with the DOGtors is quick, easy, and refreshingly affordable. And, you don’t have to be concerned about risk, because if you don’t qualify, the DOGtor offers a 100% same-day refund guarantee.

Start your no-risk assessment right now.