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Service Dog Information

Section 504 means section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 394 (29 U.S.C. 794), as amended.

Service animal means 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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, 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. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.   http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_withbold.htm

  • Service Dogs are working animals.  They are not considered PETS.  When you see a service dog on the bus, train or other public place, do not assume you can just walk up and pet, touch, feed, or otherwise interact with the animal because that may interfere with the animals job of serving it's person.
  • Some people will not want anyone interacting with their dog.  It's best to interact with the handler.


  • A person does not have to disclose any information to anyone about the specifics pertaining to their disability.  They are completely covered by the American with Disabilities Act.  Plus it's NOT POLITE to ask questions about a persons disability.
  • Presently there are no ADA requirements stipulating that a Service Dog has to wear any identifiable service dog tags, service dog vest or have papers that identify it as a Service Dog.  Some people may have papers proving the dog was trained as a Service Dog, but they do not have to provide those papers.

  • A Service Dog has been specifically trained to provide a service to it's person.  Since the disability or need may not be evident it is a good idea to leave the dog alone.  You may distract the dog from doing it's job.

  • Service Dogs are not necessarily identifiable as such.  However, some people choose to have their dog wear a vest that identifies it as a Service Dog*.  If you are a businesses, you can ask if the animal is a service dog, or what it has been trained to do.  The Service Dog can be any breed, mix of breeds, or size. 
  • It is still unfortunately common for people with disabilities to have trouble with businesses or even governmental services allowing the person to enter with the Service Dog.  Or for people to not understand the dog is permitted.  If you see such a situation happening, it is okay for you to support the person with the Service Dog by communicating that Service Dogs are allowed under Federal Law.
  • Service Animals are used by a person to help them function in their world.  Most common are service dogs.  Your service animal can go any place you go.  All businesses must permit your service animal to accompany you into their place of business.  If they do not allow your service animal you may be entitled to legal recourse to remedy the total disregard of  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  You do NOT have to certify your service animal.

*Service Dog vests can come in various styles and colors. 


This video is pretty good, with the exception of a service animal defined as a dog or miniature horses. See ADA Definition

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