Business Specialist Column (Service Animals)
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of service animals? Maybe you immediately think of a cat, dog, or another animal that you may see when you are out and about in public, or shopping at a local retail store, or attending a work-related training in your community.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center defines service animals as dogs (or even miniature horses, as a modification) that are trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, service animals are individually trained to provide support that’s relevant to the person’s disability.
It is important to note that dogs providing emotional support or comfort do not qualify as service animals regardless of whether they’ve been trained. Titles II and III of the ADA provide protection of service animals or dogs; more specifically, Titles II and III pertain to businesses or nonprofit organizations serving the public must typically allow service animals in all areas of the facility where the public is allowed.
Businesses and/or its staff are limited to asking the two following questions if there is a concern about the service an animal can provide: