I’m sure at some point you’ve seen someone inside of a store or place of business with an animal. For the most part it is typically a dog, however there are many forms of service animals. Whether you are a business owner, or someone planning to own a service animal, here are some helpful things you should know.
– Some establishments make it quite clear that they enforce a “no pets” policy which may have those with service animals intimidated to enter the premises. However, many might not be aware that a service animal is not termed as a ‘pet’. The ADA strictly enforces business owners to modify their “no pet” policy and allow all service animals entry. You don’t have to completely void out not wanting to have pets inside of your facility, but simply alter it so that a person with a disability may bring their service companion with them.
– Many individuals with a disability may wonder where exactly they are able to take their service animal when on business property. You will be glad to know that these animals are allowed anywhere you are able to go on the premises. A business owner is not able to tell you that your service animal must wait behind while you enter a specific area.
– Business owners are entitled to ask you and your service animal to leave the property under certain conditions. These conditions include your animals behavior. All owners with a disability are responsible for the actions of their service animal. It is your responsibility as the animal owner to ensure they do not act aggressive towards others while in public locations.
– Most service animals will be wearing special jackets, harnesses, or collars which will allow facilities to immediately recognize the difference between them and a pet. This however, is not always the case. Some are licensed or certified and the owner may choose to show you the paperwork. As a business owner, you are not able by law to insist on proof of certification before allowing a disabled person and their service companion onto the property.
To be more specific for those who may still be unsure as to what defines a service animal, the ADA has laid out a few standards. Any animal trained to assist an individual with a disability is termed to be a service companion. They are termed as a service animal by the ADA regardless of whether or not they have been licensed or certified by the state. One of the most common service animals you might find are “Seeing eye dogs” which are used by the blind to help them get around in public areas. However, there is a wide variety of them depending upon the individuals disabilities.
Be sure to check with your state laws and regulations for more information regarding service animals. It is always best to have your animal licensed to avoid any issues from arising. Please go to http://www.ada.gov/svcabrs3.pdf for more information.