Service Dog Laws

Service animals are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.

Effective March 15, 2011, “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

Key changes include the following:
1. Only dogs will be recognized as service animals.
2. Service animals are required to be leashed or harnessed except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the dog's ability to perform.
3. Service animals are exempt from breed bans as well as size and weight limitations.
4. Though not considered service animals, businesses are generally required to accommodate the use of miniature horses under specific conditions.

Until the effective date, existing service animals of all species will continue to be covered under the ADA regulations.

Existing policies that were clarified or formalized include the following:
1. Dogs whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
2. The use of service dogs for psychiatric and neurological disabilities is explicitly protected under the ADA.
3. “The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence” do not qualify that animal as a service animal and “an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal.”

These previously existing policies are already in effect.

More ADA Links

OREGON LAWS (Some differ)

(1) "Assistance animal" means any animal trained to assist a person with a physical impairment in one or more daily life activities, including but not limited to:

(a) Dog guides, as defined in ORS 346.610;
(b) Hearing ear dogs, as defined in ORS 346.640;
(c) An animal trained to pull a wheelchair;
(d) An animal trained to fetch dropped items; and
(e) An animal trained to perform balance work.

(2) "Assistance animal trainee" means any animal undergoing training to assist a person with a physical impairment.

(3) "Daily life activity" includes but is not limited to:

(a) Self-care;
(b) Ambulation;
(c) Communication; or
(d) Transportation.

(4) "Mode of transportation" means any mode of transportation operating within this state.

(5) "Person with a physical impairment" means any person who has a permanent physical impairment, whose physical impairment limits one or more of daily life activities and who has a record of impairment and is regarded by health care practitioners as having such an impairment, requiring the use of an assistance animal including but not limited to blindness, deafness and complete or partial paralysis.

(6) "Public accommodation" means a place of public accommodation as defined in ORS 659A.400 including but not limited to educational institutions, airlines and restaurants. The exception stated in ORS 659A.400 (2) is not an exception under ORS 90.390 and 346.680 to 346.690.

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