July 10, 2023

The ADA and Service Animals: What You Need to Know

Navigating the complex world of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding the provisions related to service animals. With increased reliance on these companions for individuals with disabilities, it is crucial to grasp the rights and responsibilities associated with their use.

The Rights of a Person With a Service Dog

As a person with a disability, you have rights under the ADA regarding your service animal:

  • You can take your service dog into public places like restaurants, hotels, taxis, and stores. Business owners cannot deny entry or charge extra fees because of your service animal.
  • Your service dog can accompany you in housing, including apartments and condominiums. Your landlord or homeowners' associations must provide reasonable accommodation for your service animal.
  • Airlines should allow your service dog to fly with you in the cabin at no extra charge.
  • Your employer should not restrict you from taking your service dog to work, provided it does not create an undue hardship. Your employer must engage in an interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for your service animal.
  • Public entities like courthouses, libraries, and government buildings should allow access to your service dog. They should not ask invasive questions about your disability or demand proof of the animal's certification or training.

The Responsibilities of a Person with a Service Dog

As a person with a service dog, you have specific responsibilities under the ADA to ensure your rights are protected.

  • Keep your dog under control: Your service animal should not run freely, bark excessively, or disrupt others. Keep your dog on a leash and by your side unless your disability prevents using a leash.
  • Ensure your dog is housebroken and clean: Your service animal should not relieve itself in inappropriate areas or have an offensive odor.
  • Your service animal should be well-behaved: Aggressive or unruly behavior that threatens the health and safety of other individuals is unacceptable.
  • Keep your animal healthy: Stay up to date with all necessary vaccinations and grooming. A visibly ill or unclean animal can be denied access.

You and your service dog can enjoy public access and accommodation rights under the ADA by following these responsibilities. However, if you do not comply, you may face penalties or even lose your right to be accompanied by your service animal. Understand the boundaries, and do not hesitate to contact a New York ADA lawyer if you have additional questions or face discrimination.

Contact a New York ADA Lawyer Today

As an individual with a disability, you have rights under the ADA to use a service animal in public places like restaurants, hotels, and stores. If you feel you have faced discrimination due to a disability, don't hesitate to contact an ADA lawyer. The legal team at Mizrahi Kroub LLP can advise you on your rights and help determine if legal action needs to be taken. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

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