Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Kimmy0
What A Jerk!
The ADA and Service Dogs
This is information that everyone needs to know. Especially if you own your own business because at one time or another you will have to encounter someone with a disability. I have recently run into a handful of uniformed jerks that have hacked me off because they do not know the law. Many of these people are doctors and ask questions that are against the law. I am speaking directly to you, Dr. Durrett! Shame on you for not knowing the law especially since it is your job to work with so many disabled people.
If you or someone you know is disabled and has a service dog you need to be informed of your rights. I have taken the liberty to gather as much information as possible on this matter so that you know your rights, know what questions can and cannot be asked, and what questions you have to answer. The following has been copied straight from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Website with permission. This is to inform Jerks like Dr. Durrett and others that just don’t have a clue. I encourage you to comment and let me know what your thoughts are on this matter and if you have a service dog yourself, I would like to know the situations you encounter on a daily basis.
I have just started this gig of taking my service dog with me places and I’m sure that Dr. Durrett isn’t the last idiot I run into. Be aware, I am informed and you sir have broken many laws. Two of which are asking me what my disabilities are and to see certification of my animal. I have provided all the information needed and WILL NOT be treated differently from other people just because I have a disability. So, Kiss this!
|U.S. Department of Justice|
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
Americans with Disabilities Act
ADA Business BRIEF: Service Animals
Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, providing comfort to someone with P.T.S.D., or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not just pets.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.
Businesses that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to enter with their service animal.
- Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability.
- People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons. However, if a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.
- A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
- In these cases, the business should give the person with the disability the option to obtain goods and services without having the animal on the premises.
- Businesses that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
- A business is not required to provide care or food for a service animal or provide a special location for it to relieve itself.
- Allergies and fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals.
- Violators of the ADA can be required to pay money damages and penalties.
If you have additional questions concerning the ADA and service animals, please call the Department’s ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) or visit the ADA Business Connection at ada.gov.
Duplication is encouraged. April 2002
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).
This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.
- Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
- A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
- Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
How “Service Animal” Is Defined
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 just pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.
This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.
Where Service Animals Are Allowed
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Service Animals Must Be Under Control
Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals
- When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
- Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
- A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
- Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
- People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
- If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
- Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.
In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.
For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.
To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,
visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.
800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)
24 hours a day to order publications by mail.
M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.
For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.
Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011
last updated: July 12, 2011
A Service Dog is defined in the Americans With Disabilities Act as “any guide dog,
signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the
benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to guiding
individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to
intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a
wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”
Service Dogs must be allowed to go anywhere their handler goes, including
restaurants, schools, buses, taxis, airplanes, stores, movie theatres, concerts,
sporting events, doctor’s offices, and any other public place. It is REQUIRED under
federal and state laws that they be allowed. They do not have to wear any specific
identifying gear, including vests. Many Service Dog users choose to dress their
dogs in a vest or other identifying apparel in order to make access easier, as it
avoids many questions and confrontations. This is a personal choice, and is NOT
REQUIRED UNDER THE LAW. It is illegal to ask for any special identification
from Service Dog partners. Some carry ID cards, and may present them voluntarily,
but this also is not required, and should not be expected. You may NOT ask for
“proof” or certification of the dog’s training as a condition of entry into your
If a Service Dog misbehaves and places someone in danger, you as a business
owner have the right to ask the partner to get control of the animal, or please leave.
This should be only an isolated incident, and can not be used to determine future
access based upon what “might” happen or has happened in the past. A person
with a Service Dog cannot be refused entry based on the actions of another Service
animal. Example: You cannot say “Oh, that last Service Dog team that was in here
left a mess, so I’m not letting any Service Dogs into my store anymore.” This is
discrimination and can be punishable by law. Remember, too, that Service Dogs are
just that, DOGS, and they can have bad days just like people can. They are not
robots, and cannot be expected to act perfectly all the time.
American With Disabilities Act website
Service Dog Laws
Americans With Disabilities Act
PS. If you are not disabled please do not abuse this knowledge to take your dog in public places. This only makes it harder on those who need to have their dogs to help them with disabilities. If you get caught doing this and are not disabled you will be fined and face jail time. It really isn’t worth it unless you really need your dog to help you.
All my love,