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Section 36.302(c) of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public accommodations generally to modify policies, practices, and procedures to permit people who are blind or disabled to be accompanied by working dogs anywhere.

Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.


  • Places of lodging

  • Establishments serving food or drink

  • Places of exhibition or entertainment

  • Places of public gathering

  • Sales or rental establishments

  • Service establishments

  • Stations used for specified public transportation

  • Places of public display or collection

  • Places of recreation

  • Places of education

  • Social service center establishments

  • Places of exercise or recreation



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Image by Jamie Street
  • Service animals are dogs and miniature horses that are individually trained to perform tasks or do work for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.  A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by individuals with disabilities.

  • 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.

  • Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability.

  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons.​​

  • However, if a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, customers with disabilities may be charged for damage caused by their service animal.​

  • Customers with disabilities cannot be asked to remove their service animals from the premises unless:

  1. The animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie).

  2. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  In these cases, the business should give the person with the disability the option to obtain goods and services without having the animal on the premises.​

  • Businesses that sell or prepare food must allow individuals with disabilities accompanied by service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.​

  • A business is not required to provide care or food for a service animal or provide a special location for it to relieve itself.​

  • Allergies and fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to individuals accompanied by a service animal.​

  • Violators of the ADA can be required to pay money damages and penalties.​

  • ​If you have additional questions concerning the ADA and service animals, please call the Department’s ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) or visit the ADA Business Connection at​

  • The National Association of Guide Dog Users also sponsors an interactive, nationwide toll-free hotline. There you can listen to recorded information about the rights and responsibilities of individuals who use service animals. The NAGDU Information & Advocacy Hotline also offers an opportunity to speak with a live advocate who has been specially trained to assist in the resolution of access issues. You can contact the NAGDU Information & advocacy Hotline by calling 888-NAGDU411 (888-624-3841) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

      More information can also be found by visiting the National Association of Guide Dog Users

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act


U.S. Department of Justice FAQ’s on Service Animals and the ADA


AKC info on ESA


AKC info of Therapy dogs

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