What Rights Do Service Dogs Have?

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What Rights Do Service Dogs Have?

Under the American with Disabilities Act, people with service dogs have a right to be in public places. Also, the act requires public places to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

What Is a Public Place?

A public place is anywhere the public is invited or permitted to be. Such places include restaurants, grocery stores, schools, shopping centers, hotels and doctor’s offices.

Service dogs even are allowed on public transportation including buses and airplanes.

What Kind of Accommodations Am I Entitled To?

Public places allow service dogs into their facilities unless it is a safety concern or unless allowing access to service dogs would fundamental change to the nature of the public place. Public places are generally required to modify their policies, practices, and procedures to accommodate service dogs.

For example, in California, a zoo does not need to let a service dog near an exhibit where there is no physical barrier to separate the service dog and the animal. But the zoo must provide kennels to store the dog.

Do I Need to Provide Documentation?

When your service dog is prevented from entering a public place, you do not need to provide documentation that the dog is a service dog. You simply need to inform the public place that your dog is a service dog and that you have a right to be there.

Consulting an Attorney

If your rights have been violated, please contact a disabilities lawyer. He can assess the reasonableness of your case and help you obtain punitive damages against the public establishment.

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Last Modified: 06-03-2014 03:50 PM PDT

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