Service Animal Access is Protected by Federal Law

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What is a service animal?

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.

 

What does "do work or perform tasks" mean?

The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.

 

Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

No.  These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. 

 

Businesses may ask:

1) Is this a service animal?
2) What task does the service animal perform?

 

Businesses may not:

1) Ask for identification for the service animal
2) Ask for handler's disability
3) Charge additional fees
4) Refuse admittance, isolate, segregate handler and service animal.

 

For additional information about service animals, go to:

www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html