Is It Illegal To Ask For Service Dog Papers?

Is It Illegal To Ask For Service Dog Papers

People regard animals, particularly dogs, as friends of man. Such people see them as pets. They also apply this reasoning to service dogs. However, service dogs are beyond pets. People train service dogs to serve particular needs. They render tremendous service to persons with impairments.

Now, is it illegal to ask for service dog papers?

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides an answer to this question. The Act states that owners of properties do not require service dog papers. Therefore, it will be illegal to ask for service dog papers. Read on to find out more details on this subject.

The Americans With Disabilities Act

The ADA is a civil rights law enacted in 1990. The Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. President George H.W. Bush signed the bill on July 26, 1990. The disabilities covered include both mental and physical conditions. However, the conditions are medical.

Some of the disabilities are blindness, deafness, and mental retardation. It also covers impairments involving missing limbs, cancer, and autism.

ADA aims to protect people with disabilities. The Act protects these individuals from discrimination. Such discriminations may arise concerning where they work. It may as well be on their means of transportation.

ADA ensures that persons with disabilities can associate freely. They could do this in the exercise of their fundamental and universal rights. Under ADA, they enjoy the freedom of movement and association.

Individuals are not to relegate persons with disabilities to their homes. Neither should people reject them due to their impairments. ADA maintains that people with disabilities do not need service dog papers.

What Are Service Animals?

A service animal is a dog trained specially for particular tasks. The tasks performed are usually for people with disabilities. Also, the duty must conform to the disabled’s needs. So, the dog has a specific role to play.

Apart from dogs, there are other service animals. These include pigs, miniature horses, and monkeys. Service dogs can accompany the physically challenged. They are also trained to alert a deaf person. Besides, they serve as guides to the blind. Service dogs also distract a person from sudden mental attacks.

Also, service dogs calm people with PTSD during attacks. They help in retrieving items and delivering messages.

Service Dog Papers

Service dog papers refer to a certification. This certificate states that such a service dog has received adequate training. Also, the document shows that the animal assists the owner. Such assistance is commensurate with the person’s disability.

Organizations should not request service dog papers from disabled employees. The ADA states this provision in its document. So, businesses should not discriminate against these individuals.

Such businesses should allow disabled employees into their premises. They should as well permit their service dogs with their owners.

However, employers may be unsure of an animal’s status. Such business owners then request for papers for confirmation. Patrons also have this concern. They wish to know whether the animals are service dogs.

Some establishments have a “No Pets” policy. So, to these establishments, they can inquire. It is because some service dogs are not easily identifiable. Some do not wear special vests or collars. So, it isn’t easy to confirm if they are service animals.

Also, not all service dogs are licensed. Many of them do not have certified papers. In this case, employers can ask just to be sure. However, service dogs do not require certification. Certification is not a condition to allow these dogs.

The disabled do not need to provide proof of their conditions. It is another issue. It is worthy to note that service dogs are not pets. Businesses should not do away with their policies. However, they have to make exceptions for service dogs.

An organization must provide reasons for the non-admission of service dogs. Failure to do this is a violation of the ADA. There are some justifiable reasons to refuse entry of service dogs.

Businesses can deny entry to service dogs for two reasons. The first reason has to do with the animal’s behavior. They may disallow an animal from entering in some cases. They may forbid the dog on the grounds of safety. Besides, they may reject the animal if it is against their policy.

Training A Service Dog

Service dogs are of immense help to people living with disabilities. However, getting the best out of these creatures requires training. There is specialized training for service dogs. Training will enable the dog to perform disability-related tasks. Also, extensive training is beneficial to the handler.

Owners also need to familiarize themselves with training methods. There are specific acceptable techniques of training for service dogs. Besides, handlers need education on the dog’s health and care. Beyond these, a good understanding of specific laws is necessary. One of these laws is acceptable behavior. Another is public access laws.

Service dogs go beyond rendering service to handlers. They become loyal companions and best pals. So, owners can create a great bond with their service dog.

Rules On Service Dogs

According to the law, service dogs are working dogs. They perform tasks for people living with disabilities. The dog must be able to carry out tasks related to the owner’s disability.

Service dogs are different from pets. They work against distractions. Also, service dogs should focus solely on their handler’s needs. Therefore, they must ignore distractions like children and noise.

The professional training of dogs is usually long. Besides, it is expensive. The process can last for two years. So, owners can train their service dogs themselves.

Any dog can become a service dog. There are no particular breeds of dogs used as service dogs. However, service dogs must possess unique characteristics. One characteristic to look out for include alertness. Another quality is its ability to please handlers. Besides, service dogs must be calm and friendly.

Rights Of Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities spells out some rights of service dogs. Service dogs are permitted to enter public premises. Such premises belong to the government. Also, these premises serve a public use. Examples of public places are the local and state government.

Also, service dogs can enter some private establishments. They can venture into school premises and hotels. Restaurants, groceries, and parks should admit service dogs. Therefore, they can venture into places meant for public gathering.

Service dogs have the right to enter premises with ‘no pets’ signs. It is because service dogs are not pets.

Kinds Of Service Dogs

There are different kinds of service dogs. Each of these categories performs various tasks.

Guide dogs

These go through specific training. Guide dogs assist people with visual impairments. These kinds of dogs bring a sense of safety and freedom to handlers. They help them avoid moving vehicles and obstacles.

Also, they give signals to changes in levels of elevation. Besides, they help to locate objects with given commands. They as well help to carry and retrieve items. The service dog helps owners move around. These dogs also prevent them from hitting objects. They as well prevent handlers from falling into ditches.

Hearing dogs

These types of dogs assist the hearing impaired. They alert handlers to sounds and the presence of people. They as well help to retrieve dropped items. Also, these service animals warn owners about approaching vehicles.

Mobile service dogs

Mobility assistance dogs usually accompany people on wheelchairs. They also assist owners in opening automatic doors. Besides, they help to retrieve items t. These dogs also help to drop out-of-reach objects for handlers’ access. Mobile service dogs help in the home and the public as well.

Diabetic alert dogs

These dogs are also called DADs. Diabetic alert dogs provide security to owners. They also offer independence to handlers. They work by alerting owners to changes in chemical blood sugar.

Dogs are highly perceptive animals. In essence, the characteristic helps them to denote specific changes. Canines can quickly ascertain hyperglycemic changes. Before the situation becomes dangerous, they notify handlers.

Once the alert comes, the handler knows he needs to test his blood sugar. So, the patient can immediately use the required drug. Also, the dog can alert others in the household. They can as well set off a pre-installed alarm system.

Seizure alert dogs

Seizure alert dogs react with certain behaviors. This behavior usually comes before the seizure occurs. Some small dogs have this natural ability.

Seizure response dogs

These dogs can call for help when seizures occur. An example of such seizures is epilepsy. Once the dog notices a seizure, it runs off to alert people. They can also move the patient from an unsafe place. Besides, they can get the patient medication. They can as well bring a phone to the patient.

Psychiatric service dogs

These dogs assist people with psychiatric needs. Examples of such mental needs include depression and anxiety. Others are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

They render service through the provision of a safe presence. Sometimes, the dog may lean on the handler. Leaning on the owner gives reassurance to such individuals.

Medical alert service dogs

Medical response dogs assist individuals with mental disabilities. Their job includes alerting handlers to conditions before they occur. These service dogs also help in managing symptoms. They can bring owners their medications. They also help in answering the phone.

Sometimes, they offer bracing assistance. Medical response dogs support the handler’s movements. Besides these, they perform other tasks. Medical response dogs sometimes act like their owner’s organizers.

Service Dogs Vs. Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals provide comfort to handlers. They offer succor and company to persons who feel lonely. Emotional support animals do not require specialized training. Also, there are diverse roles performed by emotional support animals.

Some emotional support animals include cats, birds, and pigs. Others are rodents and even reptiles. These creatures also help the fearful. They also assist with anxiety, depression, and panic.

Rights Of Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support animals do not enjoy unlimited access. Service dogs, on the other hand, enjoy almost no limitation. An emotional support animal can enter designated areas. They are allowed into the cabin of an aircraft.


Service dogs do not require certification. The Americans with Disabilities Act covers them. The bill also protects their handlers. It is improper to request handlers to provide certification. However, employers may need clarification. They may wish to know whether the animal is a service dog or pet.

About David Huner

David Huner is a dog lover. Dog training has become a passion for him. With many years of experience he is here to share his tips and ideas. His goal is to provide exact dog training solutions. His favorite quote is "Train your dogs, enjoy your life and be happy"

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