What is a Service Animal?
Effective March 2011, “Service Animal” means:
- Any dog that is trained to do work or perform
tasks for the benefit of an individual with 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 directly relate to the handler’s
- The crime deterrent effects of animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support,
well-being, comfort or companionship do not
constitute work or tasks for this definition.
What about a miniature horse
as a service animal?
- The use of trained miniature
horses as alternatives to
dogs, subject to limitations is permitted.
- The horse must be trained to perform tasks for
the benefit of the person with a disability.
- The miniature horse must be housebroken.
- The handler must have control of the animal.
- Consideration should be given to the type,
size and weight of the horse and whether the
facility can make accommodations
Are Emotional Support Animals considered
“Service Animals” under the ADA?
Emotional support animals are not included in the
definition of service animal. However, psychiatric
service dogs, trained to detect the onset of
psychiatric episodes and reduce their effects, fall
under the ADA definition of a service animal.
What are examples of tasks that
service dogs might provide?
Psychiatric Service Dogs can:
- Remind the handler to take medicine.
- Provide safety checks or room searches
- Turning on lights for persons with Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Interrupt self-mutilation by persons with
dissociative identity disorders
- Keep disoriented individuals from danger
Guide Dog or Seeing
Eye® Dog can:
Serve as a travel tool for
persons with severe visual
impairments or who are
Hearing or Signal Dogs can:
Alert a person with significant hearing loss or
deafness when certain sounds occur, such as a
crying baby or a knock on the door.
Alert a person with autism to their distracting
repetitive movements or other common
behaviors, allowing the person to stop the
Seizure Response Dogs can:
- Assist a person with a seizure disorder
by standing guard over the person during
a seizure or going for help.
- Predict a seizure and warn the person in
QUESTIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
What are the laws that apply to my business?
Under the ADA, privately-owned businesses
that service the public, such as restaurants,
hotels, retail stores, taxi cabs, theaters, libraries, sports facilities, health care facilities and
concert halls are required to allow people
with disabilities to bring their service animal
onto business premises in whatever areas
customers are generally allowed.
How can I tell if it’s a service animal or a pet?
Some, but not all, service animals wear special
collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are
licensed and have identification papers; however,
a business shall not require documentation.
A business owner may not ask the person
to disclose their disability, but they may
ask if the animal is required because of a
disability and what task the animal has
been trained to perform. Violation of
Florida law Chapter 413.08 could result
in a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Am I responsible for the service
animal while the person with the
disability is in my business?
No. The care and supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of the
owner of the animal. The business is not
required to provide care, food or a special
location for the service animal.
What if a service animal growls or
is disruptive to other people, or is
otherwise out of control?
You may exclude any animal, including a
service animal, from your facility when
that animal’s behavior poses a direct
threat to the health or safety of others.
However, you should give the individual
with a disability who uses the service
animal the option of continuing to enjoy
the goods and services on the premises.
On July 23, 2010, final regulations revising the Department of Justice ADA regulations
under Title II and Title III, including the definition of a “Service Animal”,
were signed into law. The final rule includes new language in Sect. 35.104 of the
Title II regulations and in Sect. 36.104 of the Title III regulations.