What is a Service Animal?

 

What is a service dog?


As specified by the ADA, service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.


Where are Service Animals allowed?


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.


What does “do work or perform a task" mean?


The dog must be trained to take an specific action when needed to assist the person with disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person to remain safe during the seizure.


What questions can business covered entity’s employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?


In situations were it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal staff may ask two specific questions: (1) is the dog service animal required because of a disability? And (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?