Service Animal Access
Service Animals generally must be allowed to accompany disabled people where all members of the public are allowed to go. This includes state and local government services, public accommodations, and commercial facilities. They are permitted in restaurants, areas of food preparation, hospitals, and clinics etc. Sterile areas such as operating rooms are a no-go for service dogs.
Persons with service dogs are not to be segregated or treated differently from others.
Federal Law trumps state or local law with regards to service animals.
Think about it like this; would you allow your mother or spouse to be thrown out of a pizza joint or treated like a second-class citizen for no reason? Would that change if she needed a dog to safely navigate the world?
What Is A Service Animal?
Service animals must be dogs, no matter how many tricks your pet chicken can do; it is not a service animal, sorry.
According the Department of Justice Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA):
“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”
If you don’t like dogs, think of a service animal as a four-legged tool that improves another person’s life.
How Do I Know It’s a Service Dog?
If a business owner questions the plausibility of a service dog on their premises they should know the following:
Staff may ask the owner of a service dog two questions only:
1. “Is the service animal required because of a disability?”
2. “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform”
No demonstrations are required of the dog, nor is a further explanation of the person’s disability. No special paperwork detailing training or otherwise identifying the animal as a service dog may be demanded. The dogs are not there for people’s amusement and a person’s disability is their own business, not that of a waitress or concierge.
Dogs that are not housebroken or controlled may be removed.
-This also applies to children. –
If a dog is not housebroken, it probably isn’t a service dog. Service dogs are highly trained animals and are carefully evaluated. Regardless of that, nobody has to tolerate Fifi watering the salad bar.
Service dogs must be leashed (disability permitting).
This does not apply to children but isn’t a bad idea.
Service dogs improve the quality of life of disabled people. Just because a person looks “normal”, does not mean they are not battling a disability.
Department of Justice: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Veterans Administration: http://www.va.gov/health/serviceandguidedogs.asp
American Humane Association: http://www.americanhumane.org