Important to Know: Laws Governing Service Dog

Decades ago, it is already popular to use dogs as service animals. They undergo training to be able to guide and assist people with disability. But, is it legal to use them to work for humans? Here we will give you the ADA Service Dog Laws which cover the protection of this animal.


Service dogs provide an excellent aiding support to their owners. These service animals went on a broad training to have a deeper understanding and to adopt with the challenges from a specific disabilities. These include accompanying the visually impaired individual to giving signals to person’s with diabetes for the low insulin levels and so much more. The canines are capable of doing number of tasks that help make independent living possible for their handlers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provide number of rights to these service dogs and their handlers. Moreover, there are also rules and regulations that cover them. However, entitlement of those rights to the dog and his owner depends if they met the imposed rules.

Service Animals as defined by ADA

According to ADA, service animals are “dogs that went on to personal training to execute their jobs for physically or mentally compromised individuals”. These tasks may include things like giving warning to people who have hearing impairment and assisting blind people. Included in the list of their job is to help relaxing a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack. Also included in their task is be a reminder for someone to take their medicines on time, or protecting those who have seizure attacks.

Service dogs are animals in duty and not as sedentary household animals. They undergo training to do their job that is very much related to the disability needs of an individual most likely his owner. However, dogs that primarily cater emotional assistance do not classify as service animals as per ADA service dog laws.

Areas where Service Dogs are allowed

The ADA service dog laws requires the following establishments to allow service dogs to accompany people with disabilities in any areas that are open to the public. These establishments include businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments. Service dogs must be allowed in establishments that prepare or serve food regardless of local or state health codes prohibiting animals on the premises. Further, ADA service dog laws will always overrule local laws.

However, the services that they will give to people with disabilities should be the same as that of the other customers and patrons. Disabled individual should also be given a fair treatment or should not be charge for additional payment for their animals. Establishments that impose additional charges for sedentary household pets must give exemptions of these fees for service animals.

Requirements for Service Dogs and Handler Teams

It is an illegal act to discriminate service dogs and their handlers. However, there are few rules by which dogs and their handlers must abide. Leashing, harnessing, or tethering all service dog is a must under the ADA service dog laws. But, the dog may be kept under control through calling, body languages or signs, or other controls if these devices intrude with their work. Or the device also obtrude with the medical condition of the owner and makes it impossible to use them.

A business owner has the permission to request the removal of the animal from the establishment, in the event a service dog can not be maintained. Also, if the owner do not succeeds to have control over his dog, it needs to be removed from the area. Situation that allows the service dog to get out from a certain place are the following:

  • a service dog do not undergo housebreaking
  • is behaving aggressively
  • posing a danger to human in terms of their health and safety

Moreover, the establishment permits the handler to obtain the services or goods they need without the animal’s presence if the dog is removed legitimately from the premises. Service dogs provide vital assistance for people with disabilities. The ADA gives numerous rights to them. But, the handler must ensure that the dog has proper training and behaves appropriately in public.

Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

There are other particular rules in relation to the use of service animals. See the list below.

  • Do not go beyond more question when the task of the service animal is not noticeable. These are the only questions to be inquired by the staff: (1) is the dog an animal in duty that is used because of an owner’s condition, and (2) what is the dog’s job that he has been trained to do. Remember, the individual’s medical condition cannot be asked by the staff as well as getting any medical records. Do not also get an identification card, documentation or any other verification for the dog. Also, don’t ask that the dog to show his specific task.
  • The reasons of having a sensitivity reactions and fear of dogs are not an acceptable one to not allow a service animals to access a certain place. Better to place the animal in service in other locations within the premises just to receive them. This is suitable when a person who is sensitive to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal and must need to have them in the same room or facility.
  • Food facilities must permit service animals in public places even if it is prohibited by the state or local laws.
  • People working in the establishment are only permitted to make only two queries about service dogs. They may inquire if the dog is a service animal that is needed because of a medical condition and what is the specific job of the dog that he needs to do. The ADA do not allow them from inquiring about an individual’s medical condition. They are also prohibited to get any identification, certification or verifying documents for the dog or medical records from the owner. They also may not require the dog show his job.
  • Staffs are not permitted this service animals any food or to take care of them.


There is some State and local laws that also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Below is a brief information about such laws.

Federal Law and ADA Guidelines

Service animals can be identified uniquely from pets by the roles they cater at the legislation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. The first thing on your mind about the seeing-eye dog is assisting his handler crossing in the middle of the road. But, service animals work with a broader category of tasks everyday. These include getting medicines or giving signals for the deaf to emergencies when they occur. The ADA approves dogs of all kinds and give an exemptions to owners regarding the breed restrictions.

State Laws and Rules Governing Service Dogs

Aside from the ADA guidelines, it’s very vital to learn of the state policies prior to officially running your business establishment. Also have a deeper understanding of variety of state policies about service animals and the process of their employment. Like for example, the Rhode Island approves dogs and even miniature horses to be an animals in service. However, in Texas, it has a different program which is stringent. Usually, service animal receives threat if they are noticed that they are well-trained.

Restaurant Staff knowledge about Service Dogs

Operating a public establishment is more than making your place dog-friendly. As a business owner, see to it that you follow the ADA’s guidelines to promote an inclusive atmosphere:

Who is responsible for a Service Dog

It is the owner who have the primary accountability with this service animal. More so, the restaurants do not have any responsibility to the animal. In the event the dog barks or imposes danger to the clients as well to the workers, the dog must be automatically removed. However, do not depend this situation on previous experiences. Also do not based on your own perspective of the way the animal behave.  That being said, service animals went on to training to stay cool in public and keep an eye on their jobs.

Where can a Service Dog walk in a Restaurant

Service animals needs more accessibility approval. This means that they are permitted to go everywhere your clients can go to. This is including the buffet tables or bars.

Can a Service Dog eat in a Restaurant

Your are not required to give food or water to the animal when they visit your place. However, you may give water if you desire to, just get the approval of the owner for this action.

Restaurant Laws for Service Dogs in 30 different States

Each state has different service animal laws by state for the use of the service dogs when entering a restaurant. Below is some of state laws governing service dogs in restaurant premises.

1. Alaska:

The local law of Alaska is the same with the ADA that do not allow charging fees for admission in accommodations in public places. You do not need to give extra charges in order that your service animal accompany you. However, in case your animals makes any damage you are obliged to pay for it.

2. Arkansas:

Arkansas law indicates that people owning service animals that aid them with their compromised psychiatric or mental state are not covered with this policy.

3. California:

In California, people with medical conditions permits to have with them service dogs and psychiatric service dogs. They should be well-trained. But, the emotional support animals are not able to access in general public.

4. Delaware:

The scope of the state law in Delaware applies to psychiatric service animals. That usually aid people with conditions affecting their mentality.

5. Florida:

The state code on animals in service in Florida covers dogs and mini horses. They are allow to go to public. However, this has limitation when it comes on housing policies.

6. Georgia:

In Georgia individual with physical conditions are not able to have a service dog when going every where. Moreover, the law in Georgia do not apply to psychiatric service dogs.

7. Hawaii:

They allow a dog in duty to be with people to all public places in Hawaii. Unless, the health of the people together with their safety in such areas may be at stake. Moreover, discrimination for this individual is not honored.

8. Illinois:

The Illinois law state that the owners approves for animals in service. But not the emotional support animals.

9. Kansas:

In Kansas, their law only covers dogs known as “assistance dogs”.

10. Kentucky:

In Kentucky, they require all places to let assistance dogs to guide individuals with medical conditions. However, the state law in their area do not have any definition for “assistance dogs”.

11. Michigan:

Registration of animals in service is not a requirement in Michigan even if ADA mandates it. They have a different registration program. An owner can acquire an identification card and a patch for his dog. However, this state program is voluntary.

12. Missouri:

Missouri law allows people to have service dogs with them into public areas. They also accept other service animals as required by the ADA.

13. Montana:

In Montana, their law is not a limitation for all animals. This could be of any specie, whether dog, cat or horse. It is as long as they are capable of giving service to people with medical conditions. Or those animals that are willing to undergo training.

14. New Jersey:

New Jersey requires all places to accept a service dog or guide dog. Generally it has to be with individuals who have medical conditions.

15. New Mexico:

The law for service animals in New Mexico permits the “qualified service animal” to guide their owner in all public places.

16. New York:

New York categorized a service animal into three groups. This includes guide dogs, service dogs, and hearing dogs.

17. North Carolina:

The law in North Carolina do not have definition for service animals.

18. North Dakota:

In North Dakota, their laws for service animal are very wide. It includes almost all strains of animals that undergo training.

19. Ohio:

There are two existing law in Ohio. It usually divides an animals in service and their access in public places. However, they both gives the animal qualifications for a unique protection.

20. Oklahoma:

The law in Oklahoma states that an animal in service is a dog. It should have individualized training and can have access to all places.

21. Pennsylvania:

In Pennsylvania, it is a crime to discriminate an individual with medical conditions. Also they are accompanied by a guide dog or support animal. There is an existing law that protects this kind of individual.

22. Rhode Island:

Rhode Island allows a dog that undergoes training to be with their owner as their guide or assistant.

23. South Dakota:

The law in South Dakota mandates to not have qualifications for animal. Moreover, this law permits all individual to have with them their animal to all places.

24. Tennessee:

In Tennessee, they commonly use the word service animals but they generally use the word “guide dogs”.

25. Texas:

They have a specific list of disabilities that needs for a service animal.

26. Utah:

In Utah, a dog that undergoes training and do a specific job for its owner is a service animal.

27. Virginia:

Virginia disability law approves service dogs to have access in all places.

28. Washington:

Within the state of Washington, service animals can go in all places.

29. West Virginia:

West Virginia’s White Cane Law’s definition for a service animal is a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal that has individual training to do a job for individual with a physical or mental condition.

30. Wisconsin:

The scope of the law in Wisconsin do not apply to private, nonprofit clubs.


To sum it all, whenever a service dog is in public places, it is all the handler’s responsibility. It is also their accountability for its behavior. Make sure that the service dogs undergo proper training and appropriately behave in public.

Important to Know: Laws Governing Service Dog

by Mr Bigs Mom time to read: 9 min