Are You Disabled?
To qualify to have a service dog, you must have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For the most current definition, go to this link, which takes you to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (2008), Title 42, Chapter 126, Section 12102: Definition of Disability.
What Are the Laws About Service Animals?
This publication provides guidance from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations as of 2011. As of this new change, only dogs are protected as service animals for these establishments: title II (state and government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities). Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
For the complete regulations, click here.
What Are Business Owners’ Rights and Responsibilities?
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.
They may ask only two questions: 1) Is the animal a service animal? and/or 2) What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?
They may not require special ID cards or ask about the person’s disability. For a complete explanation, see the ADA Business Brief on Service Animals.
Service Dog Registration
Want a way to identify yourself and your service dog? This is NOT a requirement, but having a handler card and a service dog card, with your photo and your dog’s photo can help in certain situations. Although a business owner is not legally allowed to ask for an ID card, I have been asked for one, numerous times, at hotels and other establishments, and it simply made things easier to be able to give a card with Ripley’s picture on it, stating clearly that she was a service dog.
USARPlus (United Service Animal Registry) offers reasonably priced registration, and lots of helpful info on their website (including very clear explanations of who qualifies to have a service dog, and links to Americans with Disabilities websites).
Dog ID Tags
Tired of jangly tags? Boomerang Pet Tags make high-quality stainless-steel tags that slide onto your dog’s collar, in all widths. You can get more than one tag, so it’s easy to include all the vital info – not just your name, phone and address, but also emergency data like the contact numbers for your veterinarian, and the fact that your dog is a service animal. Deeply etched, highly readable, and guaranteed for life.
No more slipping on high-gloss grocery store floors! Dog socks are a great addition to a service dog’s gear. Easily fit into a vest side-pocket, and have multiple uses. Going to a concert venue with wood floors? Slip on the dog socks, and your dog won’t make clicking sounds with his or her nails during the violin solo. Have an older dog that’s beginning to have trouble on a laminate floor at home? Dog socks to the rescue! Easy on, easy off, and they help boost a dog’s confidence in what was once a nerve-wracking situation. Multiple outlets, such as VKRPets.com and Baxter Boo. You can get pretty silly with the style choices – but they work!