Service Dogs

What is a Service Dog?

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 

(Reference ADA Requirements)

What can a Service Dog be Trained for?

  • 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. 

(Reference ADA Requirements)

Service Dogs vs. Emotional/Support Animals & Therapy Dogs

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. Therefore, they do not have the same rights and public assess as a highly trained and certified Service Dog does. 

(Reference: ADA Requirements)

Service Dogs: Public Access

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. 

When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. 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 preform?

(Reference: ADA Requirements)

Service Dogs: State Laws

With the growing number of people claiming they have a Service Dog, when in fact, they do not have a service dog. Now, several states and major airline companies have tighten the leash and updated their regulations on Service Dogs and Therapy/ Emotional Support Animals. 

Therapy Dog and Emotional Support Animal laws very from state to state, so please check with your local government to get the latest on your state's laws. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA

FAQs about Service Animals (pdf)