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Service Animals (Disabilities) « Disabilities – Resources

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Service Animals – ADA Regulations
Articles & Publications and Resources
related to Service Animals


ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Regarding Service Animals

  • ADA Business Brief: Service Animals (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.
  • ADA Requirements: Service Animals (Revised 2010)
    The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. These requirements clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new and updated requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.  This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the provisions in the Department’s new regulations.
  • Are Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities Partnered With Psychiatric Service Dogs Covered Under the ADA? (Service Dog Central)
    It is important to make a distinction between ESAs (emotional support animals) and PSAs (psychiatric service animals), because PSAs are task-trained just like other SAs and are not there solely to provide emotional support. Therefore, PSAs meet the requirements of the definition of "service animal." People often confuse ESAs with PSAs, which has probably lead to this misunderstanding of whether the use of PSAs/PSDs is covered under the ADA.
  • Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
    What are the laws that apply to my business? How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, privately owned businesses that serve the public are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
  • Service and Working Animals (USDA)
    On March 15, 2011 the definition of a "service animal" under the Americans with Disabilities Act changed and now defines a "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The Act also allows trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations.
  • For further information on these changes, please go to Section 35.136 Service animals in Part 35 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services (as amended by the final rule published on September 15, 2010), U.S. Department of Justice.

Articles and Publications regarding Service Animals

  • Am I Allowed to Bring my Service Dog Into a Domestic Violence Shelter? (Center for Independent Living of South Florida Advocacy Blog – 10/11/12)
    Domestic violence shelters are covered by the ADA, and are required to allow service dogs to accompany an individual with a disability into the shelter, even if the shelter has a no pets allowed policy. The shelter is required to modify its policy and allow the dog in. It is important to note, as well, that the shelter is not allowed to ask for proof of your disability, proof of the dog's training or certification as a service dog, and is not allowed to ask to have the dog perform any tasks to prove that it is a service dog. 
  • Learn About the Different Types of Service Dogs (7/22/13)
    There are over a dozen different specializations for Service Dogs. What are all of these types of Service Dogs — and what do they do?
  • No Dogs Allowed? Federal policies on Access for Service Animals (Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter)
    Federal policy dictating access and training rights for disabled people who have service animals has, but for the past decade, been virtually nonexistent. In its absence, many individual States did address rights for service animals through laws providing disabled people access to public facilities and housing. To date, all States and the District of Columbia have to some extent legislated such access rights. However, the extent of coverage varies considerably State to State and many State codes do not include reference to service dogs other than guide and hearing dogs.
  • Service or Companion Animals for Disabled Tenants (Tenant Screening Blog)
    If you’re a landlord, you are required to make “reasonable exceptions” to ensure disabled folks are not discriminated against. For example, even with a “no pets” policy, you may be required to make an exception to accommodate a service or companion animal.
  • Service Dog Etiquette (Bella Online)
    The first thing we should consider when teaching adults and children service dog etiquette is that it develops naturally from respectful and considerate behavior toward the dog handler who is a person with a disability. While none of us would presume to handle or interfere with a person's wheelchair controls, white cane or hearing aide, our first impulse may be to respond to or interact with service dogs as if they are pets. Children can often recognize and remember rules associated with working service animals better than adults, and may remind their parents that a working dog has a job to do that requires concentration and interaction only with its handler.
  • Special Education News – JD Supra (11/10)
    Information about service animals in school, wrongful graduation and more.
  • St. Mercy Medical Center Settles Violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services – 1/3/12)
    Following an investigation, St. Edward Mercy Medical Center has agreed to make changes to its policies and procedures to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The settlement resulted from a complaint filed with OCR by a person with a lumbar and spinal disability who requires a service animal to assist him in a number of daily functions. While the complainant sought emergency medical treatment for his father, Mercy refused to allow the service animal to accompany the complainant into the hospital. The complainant was told his service animal was not a “seeing eye dog” and the animal would need to be removed from the hospital because he could not show vaccination records or tags verifying the health of the animal. After an investigation, OCR found that Mercy’s policies and procedures regarding access to service animals inappropriately excluded service animals already being used by qualified individuals with disabilities other than vision impairment. 
  • The Differences between Service and Therapy Animals (1/3/17)
    The service animal is undeniably different than the therapy one, not-to-mention the current laws to substantiate this.

Resources related to Service Animals

  • Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans
    NEADS was established to train and provide rescued dogs and donated puppies to assist people who are deaf or physically disabled in leading more independent lives at work, at home and at school.
  • For Better Independence Assistance Dogs
    Dog trainers Lori Grigg, her friend Beth Spanski and a few others have a dream that, if it becomes reality, will improve the lives of thousands of disabled people.
  • National Resource Directory – Service Animals (
    Links to resources related to service dog programs.
  • National Service Dog Resource Center (Delta
    The National Service Dog Resource Center is a web-based Delta Society program, providing information and resources for people with disabilities, as well as their friends and family, who are considering getting a service animal or who are currently partnered with a service animal. The NSDRC also provides resources for people with disabilities who have access problems entering the workplace and other public places with their service animals. If you've got a question about service animals, more than likely, you'll find the answer here.