The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans With Disabilities Act was put into effect in 1990 to allow equitable access to public locations/resources for people with disabilities. This act created guidelines regarding building accessibility, accommodations in the workplace, and fair considerations across an array of public services.

What kinds of animals can be service animals?

As of March 2011 only dogs can be considered service animals. Prior to 2011, several animal species were permitted. Services animals that were working prior to this change have been permitted to finish their working career. However moving forward, only dogs can be service animals.

How can you tell if a dog is a service dog?

While business owners cannot ask for identification or require set equipment styles, there are two key questions to ask:

-Is this a service dog?

-What task are they trained to provide?

Understanding what a task is, is an important part of using these questions well. Tasks are a trained behavior that specifically involves the dog doing something to mitigate a disability.  For instance, “alerting”, “guiding”, etc. The key to knowing if a response is task centered is if it is something the dog is doing to provide assistance. The links below can help further clarify the definition of a task.

Where can a service dog go?

Service dogs can accompany their handlers into any public establishment. They can also reside with them in any housing situation, regardless of pet policies. Service dogs can accompany handlers on transportation modalities including planes, trains, buses, taxis, ride share services etc.

Service dogs can also accompany handlers to work or recreational activities. They can be refused in places that are restricted from members of the public in the event their presence would create a health or safety issue.

To verify if a service dog is permitted in a certain location, you can contact the ADA information line at: 800-514-0301

Helpful Links

ADA Service Dog FAQ

ADA Guidelines: Service Dogs

Read the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Seek Support for ADA Violations

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