7. ADA & Service Animals

Stacy: Hello, I'm Stacy Hart with today's ADA update on service animals. As many people know a service animal is any dog trained to do work or task or tasks for a person with a disability. For example, some services a service animal can provide is as a seeing-eye guide for someone who is blind, alert someone who is deaf to noises or people in the environment alerted someone with a seizure disorder to the onset of his seizure. A service animal can go anywhere that its owner can go. So for example, they can go to city and town buildings programs or meeting. They can also go with their owner to private businesses such as restaurants theaters or shopping centers. However, to determine if a dog is a service animal an organization can ask two questions: “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?” and “What work or task is the animal trained to provide?”

Also remember that the service animal is the responsibility of the person with the disability and must be under their control at all times. For other situations check pertinent laws as needed. For example, housing falls under the Fair Housing Act which does allow service animals or emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation. Also check your state law; some state laws allow for the use of an emotional support animal. This is important because the ADA does not cover emotional support animals. If you have other questions about service animals or emotional support animals, please call us.