Know Your Rights – ADA Requirements

Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals

Department of Justice sealU.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section

ADA 2010 Revised Requirements

Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public Accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).


This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

  • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask 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. Staff cannot ask about the person’s 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.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • 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 animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

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For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.

Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011

PDF Version of this Document

July 12, 2011


Blind teen asked to leave bakery because of her service dog – Cleveland 19 News|Cleveland, OH



Posted: Oct 27, 2015 4:04 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 28, 2015 5:39 AM EDT
By Jen Picciano
Posted by Cleveland 19 Digital Team

BEREA, OH (WOIO) – Messages of outrage and disappointment flooded social media after a blind college student was kicked out of a Berea because she had her guide dog with her.

Dick’s Bakery on Front Street is a favorite spot among students at Baldwin Wallace, including 19-year-old Gabriella Drago.

But what happened this week when she and a friend went in for a donut left a terrible taste in her mouth.

“I walked in and they said that there were no dogs. So I explained to the woman that Freesia was a service dog. So she was allowed in there. She said no, this is a bakery, you cannot have your dog,” Drago said.

She said even after she told the clerk she was blind and it was illegal to kick her out, the woman persisted.

“Both of us were beyond words at that point, appalled and shocked,” said Courtney Popp, a friend who witnessed everything.

“She did call me later to apologize. And said that I didn’t look blind. So I’m not sure how I was supposed to look,” Drago said.

Drago said she does not think this was a case of intolerance, but one of ignorance that lead to the encounter.

She said she does not want to drive Dick’s out of business, but teach other businesses like it about the Americans with Disabilities Act and how people like her deserve to be treated.

“I think it should be brought to light that things like this are happening and they should not be happening,” Drago said.

The owner of Dick’s released this statement:

“A long time employee made a serious mistake not allowing a girl in the bakery with her dog.  We deeply apologize for this poor judgment. We truly respect all of our customers and assure you this will never happen again.”

Ownership says the employee in question, no longer works at Dick’s Bakery.

BEREA, OH (WOIO) - Wags 4 Kids plans to print stickers to help businesses become more aware of people with disabilities and their service animals.


W.A.G.S. 4 Kids plans to print stickers to help businesses become more aware of people with disabilities and their service animals.

Source: Blind teen asked to leave bakery because of her service dog

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.

Updated: Tuesday, October 20 2015 7:06 PM EDT2015-10-20 23:06:35 GMT

Berea bakery apologizes after service dog mistake – WKYC


Source: Berea bakery apologizes after service dog mistake

Owners apologize after blind college student asked to remove service dog



WKYC Staff, WKYC 7:54 p.m. EDT October 27, 2015

Now Dick’s Bakery is apologizing to the Baldwin Wallace University sophomore for what it calls a unfortunate misunderstanding.

Gabriella Drago entered the downtown Berea bakery with her service dog, a black lab named Freesia.

“She is my eyes,” says Drago. “She just makes everything so much easier and faster.”

As Drago and her friends tried to buy donuts, an employee at the shop immediately told her to take the service dog outside.

“I know that it’s happened to other people, but it’s never happened to me, so it was just kind of a shocking situation,” says Drago.

The social media backlash against the bakery was almost immediate.

Today, the owners of Dick’s Bakery have quickly and openly apologized and are trying hard to make things right.

“We’re truly sorry for making her feel unwanted. We want her to give us a second chance to make it right,” says Rick Baker, a second-generation owner of the family business. “Come in an we’ll load her up once a week with some goodies, so she can enjoy herself with her and her friends.”

Baker says the employee, who has been with them for 50 years, simply didn’t know Drago was blind.

“She’s got a genuinely good heart. Yesterday was just an unfortunate incident,” says Baker. “She’s broken up.”

Experienced service animal trainer Wendy Crann says it is simply a matter of education.

“We can’t let ourselves get to that place of ‘string em up!’ – when this is an opportunity for people to learn a better way,” says Crann.

According to her, there are only two questions that it are appropriate and legal for business owners to ask when faced with giving service animals access to their business.

“The first is, ‘Is this your service animal?'” says Crann. “The can also ask, ‘What tasks is the dog trained to perform?'”

Asking anything beyond that is a violation of civil rights.

While Drago appreciates those who have stood up for her, she accepts the Bakers’ apology.

“I really like there food, and my intention is not for people not to go there anymore,” says Drago, who says she wants to go back for the bakery’s donuts.

She says it’s a teachable moment, and it’s one that the owners of Dick’s Bakery are taking to heart.

“We value our customers and yesterday, we fell short of that,” says Baker. “And for that, the Dick’s Bakery family is truly sorry.”

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Here’s how Sesame Street is helping kids with autism


Source: Here’s how Sesame Street is helping kids with autism

Meet Julia, Sesame’s Street first character to have autism…

Sesame launched ‘Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing In All Children’ project, and as part of that project Julia was created.

The project features storybooks, online videos and a downloadable free app. It helps families with autistic young children.

Senior vice president of U.S. social impact Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, who helped to create See Amazing, told People Magazine:

When we explain from a child’s point of view that there are certain behaviours…to express excitement or unhappiness, it helps younger children to understand how to interact with their autistic peers. It makes children more and therefore more inclusive.

School Shooting Victim Meets Service Dog Raised By Prison Inmate

On February 27, 2012, Nick Walczak was one of the students injured in the Chardon High School shooting in Ohio. Nick was shot four times and was paralyzed from the waist down.

As we’ve seen many times before, service dogs are proven to be hugely beneficial for people with disabilities. Enter Turner the Golden Retriever, who was trained by prison inmates specifically for Nick at the North Central Correctional Complex. Turner was one of six dogs in the program where 11 inmates rotate the dogs and train them for W.A.G.S. 4 Kids — an organization that matches service dogs for children with disabilities. Each inmate approved for the program is trained by a professional.

In the video below, watch the incredible moment the inmates proudly introduce Nick to the dog who’s about to change his life forever. The inmates are so open to showing Nick all they’ve taught Turner, making sure the teen is as prepared as possible. While they’re sad to see Turner go, he’s given them a newfound sense of purpose as they carry out their sentences.

As it turns out, the inmates did a wonderful job raising and training Turner. Nick says, “I’m not lonely anymore. He’s constantly with me.” Turner is an invaluable companion who makes life easier for someone who has already been through hell and back.

Watch the wonderful meeting below, and please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook!

Watch the wonderful meeting below, and please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook!

Source: School Shooting Victim Meets Service Dog Raised By Prison Inmate

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Logan is a funny, outgoing and kind 13 year-old. Logan loves NASCAR, Minecraft, building with Legos and watching sports. He likes to sing and enjoys music as well. Logan has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, and struggles with anxiety. He has difficulty forming relationships and making friends, as well as communicating what he is feeling and thinking. This can lead to a lot of frustration. He also has a difficult time focusing and completing tasks. We adopted Logan when he was four and a half years-old and we’re the fourth placement he had known. All of that moving has caused him to continuously worry about feeling secure. We are hopeful that an Autism Service Dog will be a companion for him and help him to meet and make friends, provide security and ease his anxiety.

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