Many people with disabilities use a service animal to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.
A few highlights about service animals are:
- A service animal is defined as a dog that has been specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
- In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two questions:
- Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
- Staff is NOT allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require service animals to wear a vest, identification tag or specific harness identifying them as service animals.
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