What is a Service Animal?
Dogs whose sole purpose is for comfort or emotional support ARE NOT Service Animals under ADA Law, although they do have some rights under the Fair Housing Act. Therapy Dogs (working dogs that enter public facilities on invitation to comfort sick and/or elderly individuals, etc.) are also not Service Animals. Individuals with these animals DO NOT have the same rights of access as individuals with Service Animals. Individuals with psychiatric disabilities may still have a Service Animal if that animal is trained to perform actual physical tasks, such as recognizing a psychiatric episode and responding to it, performing room checks for individuals with PTSD, deep pressure therapy, etc.
How can I tell if a Dog is a Service Animal?
Businesses may ask two questions to determine whether a dog is actually a Service Animal: “Is the dog a Service Animal required for a disability?” and “What work or tasks is the dog trained to do?” It is not lawful to require identification or proof that the dog is a service animal and/or to ask any questions that might reveal information about the individual’s disability.