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ADA addresses the rights of handlers in public facilities

ADA makes it clear in Titles II and III that service animals are allowed in public facilities and accommodations. A service animal must be allowed to accompany the handler to any place in the building or facility where members of the public, program participants, customers, or clients are allowed. Even if the business or public program has a “no pets” policy, it may not deny entry to a person with a service animal. Service animals are not pets. So, although a “no pets” policy is perfectly legal, it does not allow a business to exclude service animals.

Any place of business or organization cannot ask about the nature or extent of your disability. If the service provided by your dog is obvious, such as the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or aiding with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability, no questions can be asked. Only two questions may be asked if the reason for the service dog is not obvious:

1. Is the animal required because of a disability?

2. What work, or task has the animal been trained to perform?

No business or organization is not allowed to ask for documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

A place of public accommodation or public entity may not ask an individual with a disability to pay a fee even if they charge a fee for other, non-service dogs. A hotel can not charge a cleaning fee if the dog did not damage their accommodation. However, if your animal did cause damage, then the handler is liable for that damage and must reimburse the establishment for such damage.

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