Service Animal Defined by Title II and Title III of the ADA
are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks to help individuals with a disability. Disabilities may be either physical, sensory or a form of a mental disability. Tasks range from highly trained seeing eye dogs, medical alert dogs or dogs that help calm those suffering from PTSD just to name a few. Service animals are limited to dogs under Title II and III of the ADA.
Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Animals although providinga significant rolefor their owners are not considered service animals
under the ADA. They provide companionship helping those suffering from depression, anxiety to providing comfort from loneliness. They typically are not highly trained.
A handler is responsible for the supervision of the service animal. A service animal must behave in an acceptable way when in public. A handler that does not control their service animal may rightfully be asked to leave a business or other entity. Unacceptable behavior such as uncontrolled barking, running around or other disruptive behaviors are examples.
ADA rules require that service animals be tethered with a leash or harness. If the disability prevents handler from using a tether or the tether interferes with the service animal’s task then some other means such as voice commands will be considered acceptable. The animal must be house broken. The business or public entity is not responsible for the care, supervision or cleanup of the animal. The animal’s vaccination status should also be in accordance with state and local laws.
Your Handler Rights
Entering Public Facilities with Your Service Animal
ADA law states that service animals and handler be permitted entrance to any place in a facility where members of the public or customers are allowed. Businesses or public facilities may not deny entry to a person with a service animal. Service animals are not considered pets in these situations.
When entering a public facility and the animals service task is not obvious such as a Seeing Eye dog then only two questions may be asked:
1. Is the animal required because of a disability ?
2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform ?
You cannot be asked to provide documentation or be asked to prove training or certification as a Service Animal. Local laws that prohibit specific breeds of dogs do not apply to service animals.
You cannot be asked to pay a surcharge for allowing your service animal entrance. Public facilities cannot require anything of people with service animals that they do not require of individuals in general.
Service Animals in the Work Place
Employers may accommodate an individual with a disability to have a service animal or emotional support animal accompany them to work. An employer may request documentation to determine the existence of the disability and how the animal helps the individual perform their tasks when the disability is not obvious or need for the animal is needed is not clear.
Individuals may provide a description of how the animal helps the employeein performing job tasks. They may also demonstrate how the animal is trained to behave in the workplace.
Service and emotional support animals thatpose an undue hardship or a direct threat in the workplace may be excluded.
Housing with Service Animals
Landlord or homeowner’s association must provide reasonable accommodation and not discriminate people with disabilities who utilize Service Animals under the Fair Housing Act. Waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit may be considered a reasonable accommodation.
- 1. A housing applicant cannot be asked about the extent of their disability.
- 2. A person seeking housing may be asked to provide documentation for review.
- 3. A landlord can request that the request be in writing indicating there will be a person with a disability and that the animal actually assists the person with the disability.
Traveling on Buses and Rail Systems
Even if there is a No Pets policy a person traveling with a service animal cannot be denied access to transportation. They are allowed to sit were they choose and no additional fee is required for the service animal. These laws apply to both public and private transportation providers.
***Individuals planning to travel with their service animal are encouraged to contact the airline to see what they may require
Service animals and emotional support animals are permitted in the cabin of the aircraft under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
Air carriers may ask to see written documentation, ID card, dog harnesses or tags, or ask for verbal assurances from the individual with a disability using the animal.
They may ask one of the following:
- 1. What tasks or functions does your animal perform for you ?
- 2. What has your animal been trained to do for you?
Individuals traveling with emotional support
and psychiatric service may need to provide specific documentation to establish that they have a disability and why the animal must travel with them. Documentation may include a letter from a licensed medical professional.
The below websites provide additional information regarding ADA Rights