Introduction:Service dogs offers many disabled people the opportunity to lead more productive and normal lives. These special dogs are able to perform all sorts of tasks that the disable person can not do for themselves. Because of this, special rules have been established to protect the service dogs' owners from discrimination.
Service dogs are allowed to go anywhere that their owners are legally allowed to go. This includes restaurants, hotels and different modes of transportation. In some circumstances, service dogs may not be allowed in intensive care units in hospitals or "clean rooms" where computer chips and the like are made.
Persons with disabilities are protected from having to answer intrusive questions about their service dogs. There only two legal questions that can be asked about services dogs. Those questions are "Is that a service dog?" and "What tasks does the service dog do?" The second question can be intrusive, but the owner can always answer with a simple "My dog is trained to do things for me I can't do for myself."
Persons with disabilities are protected from having to pay additional fees and deposits for their service animal that would apply to pets. Landlords, hotels and the like can charge for damages the service dog causes, if those same charges would apply to pets. Normally, service dogs are so well trained that this doesn't happen.
Service dog owners are not required to show verification or proof that their service dog is has any special training. In fact, they are not required to provide verification that their service dog is even a service dog. Disabled persons rarely carry such documentation and it is discrimination to ask for it. Service dogs are not required to wear special harnesses or "jackets;" these can interfere with the tasks they must do.
Service dogs are not required to have professional training or certification. They must be trained to do specific tasks for their owners that the owners are not able to do for themselves. In many cases, the service dog's owner trains the dog themselves.
Service dogs do so much for those they help. Service dogs are not pets and should never be treated as pets by the public. Businesses and individuals must respect the rights and the privacy of their owners. Persons with disabilities face enough challenges already without the added strain of being discriminated against because they have a service dog.
Agh! I just saw a mistake I made in my comment and have no way to fix it. To be clear, SDs have no public access rights. Their disabled handler has the rights to take a tasked trained service dog into most places dogs aren't normally allowed to go.
BONNIE - That wasn't a faux pas. That was a rude trainer. It's often not obvious that SDiTs (service dogs in training), but most programs require SDiTs to be caped when in public. The trainer also made a big mistake. She cannot claim it as a service dog as a dog is ONLY a service dog when it is with the disabled person for whom it aids. EMMA- SDs also don't have to be permitted into private clubs, religious buildings such as churches, or federal buildings... which is ironic since the ADA which gives public access rights to dogs is a federal law.
Emma, this is a great five. Two puppies I've bred are working service dogs ... thanks so much for posting this!
Emma - I made a total faux pas the first time I encountered a service dog. I told the lady with the dog "How precious your dog looks wearing his bandana!" (She was the trainer, not disabled.) She snarled her nose at me and spoke in a haughty tone, "This is a service dog, as signified by his 'precious' bandana." Anyway, you wrote a great, helpful list.
select one here...