Know your rights.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal regulation which took effect March 15, 2011, states simply that a person with a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities and can benefit from a service dog trained to perform tasks to mitigate those disabilities, has the right to use a service dog for social and emotional assistance.
Unfortunately, some establishments are unfamiliar with the legal rights of people with disabilities who have service dogs and refuse them service or entry. As the summer vacation season approaches, it is important to understand the law so that your family and service dog can enjoy access everywhere the public is welcome.
Under the ADA, state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public 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 service dogs are allowed in patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms.
When it is not obvious what service a dog provides,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, or require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog.
Sometimes people who have allergies or a fear of dogs believe that allows them to request a service dog be removed. However, those are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service dogs. In those situations, accommodations must be made by assigning them to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service dog from the premises unless the dog is out of control or the dog is not housebroken.
Project Chance has created a list to ensure that your family and service dog are welcomed wherever you go.
Knowing the facts lets the world be your playground!