Disabilities and Service Animals
The Americans with Disabilities Act has a specific definition of a disability, and it states essentially that a disability is a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.
List of Disabilities
A disability can take many forms, including bodily functions such as those of the neurological, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems.
Here is a list of disabilities that individuals may have that may be helped by having a service dog:
Mobility Issues (Including Paralysis)
Sensory Issues (Blindness, Hearing Loss, etc.)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Bone and Skeletal (Such as Osteoporosis, Scoliosis, etc.)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Do you Have a Disability?
If you are limited in your ability to perform major life tasks such as seeing, hearing, standing, walking, eating, sleeping, thinking, speaking, or other similar tasks, then you likely have a disability that would make you eligible to have a service dog under ADA laws. The service dog helps you in performing the particular tasks that you would otherwise be unable to perform without the service dog.
Your Disability and Public Knowledge
You are NOT allowed to be asked by a owner, manager, or other representative of a business what your disability is that allows you to have a service dog. That information is private and you do not have to disclose it to anyone if you are asked. The only information that may be asked is if it is a service dog, and what tasks the service dog is trained to perform for you. For example, if you have a mental illness that requires that you take medication and your service dog is trained to alert you when it is time to take your medication by tugging at your shirt, then you may explain the task your service dog performs, but you are not obligated to divulge the nature of your illness or disability.