What types of animals are eligible to be Service Animals?
Only dogs and miniature horses are permitted to be service animals in the United States per the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). For purposes of this guide we will only cover Service Dogs however it should be noted the same rules for Service Dogs also applies to miniature horses with the addition of the following requirements (1) the miniature horse needs to be house broken (2) the miniature horse needs to be under the handler’s control (3) whether the public facility (i.e. restaurant, movie theater, ect) can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size and weight (4) the presence of the miniature horse cannot compromise public safety. Miniature horses are typically 24 to 34 inches tall and weigh approximately 70 to 100 pounds and can be trained in a similar manner as a service dog.
Where are Service Dogs permitted?
Service Dogs are permitted almost anywhere their handler can go including restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, hotels, motels, condos, apartments, airplanes, trains, busses and most other places their handler can go and that are open to the public.
There are only an extremely limited number of exceptions where Service Animals are not permitted which are generally not open to the public such as a hospital operating room where the presence of a service dog or any other animal would compromise public health and safety and are not allowed.
Restaurants and supermarkets though required to adhere to acceptable cleanliness standards ARE open to the public and must permit Service Animals per the Federal Law.
Hotels and Motels may have rules regarding pets however these do not apply to Service Dogs which by law are not considered a pet. If a Hotel or Motel attempts to charge a customer any additional fees for having a Service Dog they are in violation of Federal Law.
When can a business or other establishment deny access to a Service Dog?
Except in the very extremely limited situations previously mentioned such as a hospital operating room any business or institution which is open to the public must accept Service Dogs. However, if your Service Dog were to cause a disturbance or otherwise be out of control then the business would be well within there right to refuse access to both you and your dog. This is why your service dog needs to be well trained and well mannered. In the event you are ever denied access to a business for this reason the business or establishment must provide the disabled customer the option of attaining their goods or services without the dog present – since your dog will be well trained hopefully this will never happen to you.
Can a Hotel or Motel charge a cleaning fee for a Service Dog?
No. Hotels or Motels cannot charge guests for cleaning the fur or dander shed by a Service Dog. However if the Service Dog or their handler causes damage to the property the establishment would be permitted to charge a fee for damages similar to what any other guest would be required to pay.
What Questions is a business or establishment permitted to ask you about your Service Dog?
The questions any business (public or private) are able to ask about your Service Dog is controlled by Federal Law (American’s with Disabilities Act). Per ADA a business is permitted only to ask two questions (1) is the Service Dog required because of a disability? (2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
A business may not ask to see documentation of any sort to “prove” your dog is a Service Animal. The reason for this is if a blind person is accompanied by a Service Dog it would be unconscionable to expect a blind person to produce paperwork attesting to their dog’s skills or their disability.
Federal Privacy Laws do not permit a business to ask a person with a Service Dog to disclose their specific disability. For example if your Service Dog is trained to assist to mitigate symptoms of PTSD you do not have to say you have PTSD, rather you can provide a general answer and say the dog helps you with a psychiatric condition and leave it at that.
The business cannot ask you to have your Service Dog demonstrate it’s trained task as proof the dog is a trained Service Animal. They are only permitted to ask what the dog is trained to do. You never need to answer or provide any further information other than (1) is the Service Dog required because of a disability? And (2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Any other question is no one’s business and per Federal Law you are not required to answer.
Who can train a Service Dog?
Per Federal Law ANYONE can train their own Service Dog. Our online guide will assist you with this process which can take as little as several months or several years. Much will depend on the task your dog is being trained to perform and how well your dog is acclimated to training. Some dogs can be trained simple tasks such as opening a door relatively easily while other dogs may be more difficult. Finding a dog that is easy to train is not always an easy task, even for skilled animal trainers.
Does Your Service Dog need a vest or ID badge?
Technically, your Service Dog is not required to have a vest or ID badge. However it is probably a good idea to have something that identifies your dog as a Service Animal. This will help inform the public that you have a Service Dog without needing to verbally ask you.
Does my Service Dog need to be Registered?
No. There is no requirement to register your Service Dog however much like a vest or ID badge registering your Service Dog can provide the public with an additional reference point that your dog is a Service Animal.
What to do if your Service Dog is denied access to a business or other establishment?
If your dog is denied access to a business or other establishment you have the right to file a complaint with the Department of Justice which will investigate the matter and may fine or sue the establishment on your behalf. Or you also have the right to file your own Civil Rights lawsuit against the establishment in court.
(1) Service Dog ID badge with OUR contact information should you ever have a problem you can provide our phone number and we will help handle the situation.
(2) Your Service Dog will be listed in our online registry so people can verify your service animal's training and working skills.
We will handle ANY questions you get beyond the two questions you are required to answer by law: (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?
Any further questions YOU are not required to answer and you can either choose not to answer OR provide our contact information to whoever has questions about YOUR service dog. WE will handle any further questions ANYONE asks you.
Tasks a Service Dog can perform:
* Help calm a person with PTSD by protecting their handler during a panic attack.
* Help open and close doors
* Detect critical health issues such as low blood sugar levels or possible seizures.
* Protect a person during a seizure by guarding the person to prevent harm from others and if unconscious licking the person to awaken them,
* Use K-9 adapted telephone to alert authorities during an emergency.
* Aid in balance and mobility functions for people with difficulties walking
* Help a person out of bed, into a wheelchair, or other mobility functions.
* Alert hearing impaired handlers to specific sounds.
* Retrieving mobility aids such as canes or walkers
* Remind their handler to take medicine
* And so much more! Dogs which are trained to assist their handler with any of the above functions are NOT a pet but instead are treated as a necessary medical tool for their handler.
As such Service Dogs are protected by federal law and to discriminate against a Service Dog or their handler is a Civil Rights crime.
Service Dog training and Registration NationalServiceDog.com
Registering your Service Dog and having him/her wear a vest and ID will help other members of the public identify your dog as a Service Animal.
Much in the same way a person's uniform identifies what profession they practice so will a proper Service Dog ID, registration, and Vest.
Federal law as stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act permits anyone with a disability (physical or psychological) to have and train their own service animal.
Such disabilities include:
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD
* Severe Depression
* Bipolar Disorder
* Mobility limitations (difficulty walking, reaching, opening doors, ect)
* Other difficulties caused by old age
* Multiple Sclerosis
* Dizziness/Balance issues
* Severe Anxiety
A trained Service Dog can assist in your everyday life activities and anyhow who has a valid need can train their own Service Dog.
Our Free Online Guide will walk you through a step by step process that anyone can follow. In as little as 1-2 months you can have a trained Service Dog that can accompany you ANYWHERE!