ABOUT SERVICE ANIMALS
What are the laws
Under the ADA, privately
owned businesses that serve
the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs,
concert halls and sports facilities are prohibited from discriminating
against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires that businesses
allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto
premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
What is a service
The ADA defines a service animal as any guide
signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance
to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition,
are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they
have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. The ADA
takes priority over any county health department or state or local laws
regarding service animals.
How can one determine
if an animal
is really a service
animal and not just a
Some, not all , service animals wear special
and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have
papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you
may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal
because of a disability. Although a number of states have programs to
service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification
permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.
What must be done
when an individual
with a service
animal comes to a
The service animal must be permitted to
the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where
are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not
be segregated from other customers.
required to change
a posted "no pets" policy?
Yes, a service animal is not a pet. The ADA
you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service
by a person with a disability.
Can a maintenance or
fee be charged for customers
who bring service
No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be
on an individual with as disability as a condition to allowing a
animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits
are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may
its customers with disabilities for the cost of repairing or cleaning
damage by a service animal if it is the public entity's policy to
when non-disabled guests cause such damage.
Can a private taxicab
to provide services to individuals
Private taxicab companies are also prohibited
charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with
and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the
or equivalent service.
Who is responsible
for the service
animal while the person
with a disability is in
The care and supervision of a service animal
the responsibility of his or her owner. A business is not required to
care or food or a special location for the animal.
What if a service
or growls at other people,
or otherwise acts out of
Any animal may be excluded, including a
from a facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to
health and safety of others. Although a public accommodation may
any service animal that is out of control, it should give the
with a disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing
to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on
Can an animal be
doesn't really seem dangerous
but is disruptive to a
There may be a few circumstances when a public
is not required to accommodate service animal - that is when doing so
result in a fundamental alteration of the nature of the business.
this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores,
concert halls and sporting facilities. But when it does, (for example,
when a dog barks during a movie), the animal can be excluded.
This information was
a publication published by the U.S. Department of Justice, 1996.