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How it works: Service Animal

What is a Service Animal?

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

Benefits of a Service Animal

Can go anywhere public has access

No county licensing fees

Tax deductible

Providing assistance to disabled handler

Improving the handler’s self-esteem

A Greater Feeling of Independence

Flies with handler in cabin for free

Lives with handler in housing for free

Stays with handler in hotel for free

Who qualifies to have a Service Animal?

Service animals, as defined by American with Disabilities Act, are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Now, what does that actually mean? We have broken down the definition into three parts to help better understand: disability, training, and tasks.

Disability: An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), over 1 out of 4 (26% ~ 61 million) of adults in the United States have some type of disability who may benefit from the assistance of a Service Animal.

Training: Service animals must always have basic obedience training. They should always behave in public and be under the control of the handler. In addition to the basic obedience training, a service animal must be trained (either by a professional trainer or the handler themselves) to perform a task, or an act of “service”, directly related to the handler’s disability.

Tasks: The task(s) a service animal performs for its handler must be directly related to the disability.

In conclusion, if you have a dog that has been trained (either by yourself or a professional) to provide assistance for your disability, then you may qualify to have a service animal.

What information may be asked of me for proof of my Service Animal?

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:

1. is the dog a service animal required because of a disability,

and

2. what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.

Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. Doing so may be in violation of federal law.

Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.

Do I need a doctor’s letter for my Service Animal?

No. You may not be asked for any medical documentation or to disclose your disability. A doctor’s letter may only be requested for an Emotional Support Animal (link to ESA).

When will I receive my registration?

Your physical kit (certificate, ID card, tag, collar, leash, vest, if ordered) will arrive in 3-7 business days with our free shipping. We also offer the following expedited shipping options:

$9 Priority (2-3 business days)

$45 Express (1-2 business days)

In a rush to receive your certificate and ID cards with your registration? You may add your electronic copies to any kit to receive your digital certificate and ID card via email in less than 24 hours.

Is this legal?

Service Animals are protected under federal law by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), which protects the handler’s rights to have their service animal accompany them anywhere the general public has access.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where can I take my Service Animal?

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.

Service Animal access list

Can I be charged a fee to have my Service Animal accompany me in housing, hotel or airplanes?

People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.

Does an establishment have the right to refuse a Service Animal access?

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:

1. the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it

or

2. the dog is not housebroken.

When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.