Service Animals 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 persons 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 Handlers Responsibilities The dog must remain under the handlers 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 isnt free to play, so please dont 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 animals 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.
Housing 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.
Privately Owned Public Accommodations 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 animals.* * 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 Emotional Support – Mere presence of the animal helps a person with the symptoms of a disability – May be permitted in housing as a reasonable accommodation; – The ADA does NOT protect the right of a person with a disability to bring an emotional support animal into a public accommodation Psychiatric Service Dog Psychiatric Service Dog – Individually trained to perform a task for a person with a psychiatric disability – May be permitted in private housing as a reasonable accommodation; – 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 California Assistance Animal is defined as a trained animal, including a trained dog, necessary as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability 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 Californias 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 misdemeanor. Subsequently, complaints fell from 44 in 2011 to 17 in 2012.* * NBC Bay Area, May 21, 2013
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