Service Animals in Private Business

Taking Over
Your Building?
in Places of
Public Accommodation
Service Animals Under Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the
benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory,
psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Service Animal Inquiries
• When it is not obvious what service an animal
provides, only limited inquiries are allowed.
• May ask ONLY two questions:
(1) is the dog a service animal required because of a
disability, and
(2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
• Owner/Staff cannot and should not ask about the
person’s disability, require medical documentation,
require a special identification card or training
documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog
demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
Service Animals
Handler’s Responsibilities
• The dog must remain under the handler’s control (usually
by using a leash, unless not practicable due to the nature
of the disability or task(s) performed) and be housebroken.
• Handler must take corrective action in the event a service
dog is aggressive or not behaving.
• Handler is responsible for any damage or if the dog bites
another individual or animal.
Remember, a working service dog isn’t free to play,
so please don’t distract it.
Exclusion or Removal of Service Animal
• 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 or
(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.
• Suggestion: Notify/get approval from
a supervisor before requesting
removal of a service animal. The
supervisor should document the
steps taken by staff and reason for
exclusion or removal.
Allergies and Phobias
• Allergies and fear of dogs
are not valid reasons for
denying access or refusing
service to people using
service animals.
Miniature Horses
Fair Housing Laws Apply to Housing
• Animals trained to provide a specific task to a
person with a disability, and emotional
support animals, may be allowed in housing as
a reasonable accommodation.
Title III ADA Applies to Privately
Owned Public Accommodations
• Owners/agents of privately-owned businesses
that serve the public MUST allow service dogs,
per the ADA. They do not need to allow other
* Dogs working for police and fire-fighters are also allowed per
CA Civil Code 54.25
Emotional Support Animal vs.
Psychiatric Service Dog
• Emotional Support
– Mere presence of the
animal helps a person with
the symptoms of a
– May be permitted in
housing as a reasonable
– The ADA does NOT protect
the right of a person with a
disability to bring an
emotional support animal
into a public
• Psychiatric Service Dog
– Individually trained to
perform a task for a person
with a psychiatric disability
– May be permitted in
private housing as a
– Must be allowed in areas
of public accommodation
(and in housing specifically
subject to Title II of the
ADA) by right
Assistance Animals in the Workplace in
“Assistance Animal” is defined as “a trained
animal, including a trained dog, necessary as a
reasonable accommodation for a person with a
• Includes, among other kinds of animals
service dogs and animals that provide
emotional support
– California Code of Regulations § 7293.6(a)
– Effective since December 30, 2012
Fake Service Dogs = Crime
• Knowing and fraudulent misrepresentation of
oneself as the owner or trainer of a service
dog is actually a misdemeanor under
California’s Penal Code § 365.7, and
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail
not exceeding six months, by a fine not
exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or
by both that fine and imprisonment.
When Pet Bites Service Dog . . .
• If anyone permits a dog which is owned,
harbored, or controlled by him or her to cause
injury to or the death of a service dog while it is
in discharge of its duties, he or she shall be
ordered to make restitution to the person using
the dog, including paying for any veterinary bills
and replacing the dog if it is disabled or killed.
– Section 600.2 of the Penal Code,
– A service dog can cost $15,000 - $50,000.
San Francisco Solution
San Francisco County responded to a high
number of complaints about animals in food
facilities in San Francisco by giving restaurant
owners signs to post stating that fraudulent
misrepresentation of a service animal is a
• Subsequently, complaints fell from 44 in 2011
to 17 in 2012.*
* NBC Bay Area, May 21, 2013
Presented by:
Carey Stone
Department on Disability
(213) 202 - 2747

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