Service Animals

What is a service animal?

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA

  • Service animals are NOT pets

  • Service animal means a 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.

  • Examples of work: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Rules & Guidelines for Interacting with a Service Animal

  1. Do not touch, talk, feed or otherwise distract the dog while it is wearing its harness
  2. Do not give the dog commands; allow the handler to do so
  3. Do not try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler, assist the handler upon request
  4. Do not attempt to grab or steer the person while the dog is guiding him or attempt to hold the dog's harness, ask if the owner needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm
  5. The ADA does not require identification or licenses for service animals. If you are unsure as to whether or not an animal is a service animal you are permitted under Federal law to ask the handler two specific questions:
    1. If the handler has a disability
    2. What specific task the dog/animal is trained to perform

*A handler is not required to tell you any more about their disability of if they have any sort of certification of their disability or their dog's training.

New York State Service Animal Protection Law

  1. Any person who owns an animal or possesses control of such animal and who, through any act or omission, recklessly permits his or her animal to interfere with the proper working of a service animal, exposing the handler and service animal to danger or resulting in injury or death of the service animal shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars in addition to any other applicable penalties.
  2. Any person who own an animal or possesses control of such animal and who, through any act or omission, recklessly permits his or her animal to interfere with the proper working of a service animal, exposing the handler and service animal to danger or resulting in injury or death of the service animal, where the animal causing such injury has previously been determined to be dangerous pursuant to this article, shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or by a period of imprisonment not to exceed fifteen days, or by both such fine and imprisonment in addition to any other applicable penalties.
  3. The handler of the service animal incapacitated, injured, or killed shall have the right to pursue any and all civil remedies available to recover damages for medical and veterinary expenses, rehabilitation or replacement of the service animal, and lost wages, transportation expenses or other expenses directly related to the temporary or permanent loss of the service animal.

Video: Responding to Service Animal Calls (Canines for Service)

Video: Serving Service Animal Teams (Ohio Trauma Committee Functional Needs Work Group)

Video: Guide dog saves trainers from out-of-control car