SERVICE ANIMALS & 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. Service animals are working animals, NOT PETS.

 

Service animals are NOT:

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals under the ADA.

An animal that provides: Emotional support, Crime prevention and Comfort or companionship is NOT considered a service animal because it does not perform specific tasks associated with a person’s disability.

 

What tasks can service animals perform?

The tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the disability of the person handling the animal. These tasks include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Guiding a person who is blind or has low vision
  • Alerting a person with a hearing loss to certain sounds
  • Picking up or retrieving objects
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens
  • Providing physical support or assistance with balance
  • Assisting a person with psychiatric disabilities by interrupting impulsive behaviors

 

How do I know if the animal is a “service animal” under the ADA?

If the person handling the service animal does not have an obvious disability, businesses or other public entities can ask two questions:

  1. Is this a service animal?
  2. What task(s) has the animal been trained to perform?

Service animals must be under the handler’s control at all times. Service animals must have a harness, leash, or other tether unless the handler’s disability prohibits their use or if the animal’s work or tasks would be adversely impacted by their use.