The ADA: Service Animals _review

Topic Progress:
Seven community members wearing face masks are seated around a table in a small meeting style room.
It may not seem like it, but the people in this room are socially distanced. An American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter is in the room to sign for anyone who needs it.
Carrie, a Black woman in her 30s wears a facemask, has a white cane and a miniature horse that serves as her service animal

Carrie: We get a lot of questions about our service animal policies, Terrye.

Look at this draft policy:

Emergency Shelter Pet Policy

Disasterville’s disaster shelters do not allow pets. Shelters do allow service animals in all areas. However, each shelter will have an “animal free” area so that people with dog allergies or phobias can have as little contact with the animals as possible.

This policy is:

PJ, in their 30s, wears a facemask and glasses

PJ: Terrye, maybe we should back up a minute and discuss service animals. Do you know how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines “service animal”?

💭 Can any animal be a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

What are other requirements for service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

PJ, in their 30s, wears a facemask and glasses

PJ: People think that service animals need special tags, a special vest, or a certificate but they don’t. They don’t need to be registered. Service animals must be required because of a disability and trained to perform a specific task related to the disability.

For example, César’s dog, Ginger, has been trained to open doors for César.

Carrie, a Black woman in her 30s wears a facemask, has a white cane and a miniature horse that serves as her service animal

Carrie: I use a service animal, Fury, trained for wayfinding. You may be surprised that a miniature horse can be a service animal.

If someone with a dog or miniature horse shows up at an Emergency Dispensing Site (EDS) to get a vaccine, the only questions staff can legally ask about the animal are: (1) Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability; and (2) What work has the animal been trained to perform?

You can’t ask the service animal owner whether they have a disability or what disability they have.

From the Rocky Mountain ADA Center:

“Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

“A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:

1. The dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it

2. The dog is not housebroken.

“When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence. Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.”

(Rocky Mountain ADA Center, 2020.)