The simple answer to this question is yes. However, a business may only ever ask you to leave when you are with your service dog in certain contexts. If they ask outside of these contexts, they are violating the rules surrounding service animals.
Read on to learn more about which situations might make this permissible in public situations.
In the majority of situations, if you have an officially registered service dog, a business is not allowed to ask you to leave simply because they don't want the dog in their business. However, a business can ask you to leave if your dog is causing what would be considered a disturbance. Examples of a dog causing a disturbance include:
- Defecating or urinating in the place of business
- Other acts that would generally be considered unruly behavior
The majority of service dogs are incredibly well trained and are unlikely to display these types of behaviors while they are working. If you do notice these behaviors in your service dog, it could be a symptom of a larger issue. If you recognize some of these behaviors, you may want to consider taking them to a vet or trainer.
If you have your service animal with you, yes, a business can ask certain questions. But this set of questions if short and specific. In fact, there are only two of them. A business can ask:
- If your dog is a service animal
- What the animal's duties are
That's the extent of what a business can ask you regarding your animal. Anything outside of this basic scope violates your right to privacy. For example, they are not allowed to ask you what kind of disability you have.
There is no official rule or regulation that states you must dress your service dog in official attire. However, it is a simple and easy gesture to make that prevents confusion when interacting with people that otherwise might want your dog to leave. When you put your service dog in clothing or a harness that indicates their status it helps those around you. Some examples of the benefits include:
- Helping others recognize that the animal is working and that they should not go up to try and pet the animal.
- Helping others recognize that the animal belongs to you
- Serving as a recognizable characteristic if your animal gets lost or separated from you.
When it comes to purchasing clothing or a harness for your service dog, you can several options online. They are relatively affordable. You can even get options that say "Service Dog" or "Service Animal" in bold letters.
It is not uncommon for some to abuse the fact that you have service animal for their monetary gain. One of the most common ways that this presents itself is through additional fees. Some business owners think that it is justifiable to charge for additional rates if a disabled person has a service animal. This practice is discriminatory and heavily ableist. Understand that this practice is not legal, and if you encounter it, you have a right to challenge them on it.
Some of the most common situations where this happens include car services and housing rental. For example, in rideshares such as Uber/Lyft, as well as in taxi cabs, some drivers try to discriminate. They will try to deny service to those with working animals or charge them a special fee for riding.
The same goes for a housing service, like an Airbnb, that would try to charge extra for maintenance. The rule of thumb is that if they wouldn't charge the same fee to an able-bodied person, then it is discriminatory.
This is an important question that many people ask. The main difference between the two is:
- A service animal is specifically trained to assist in tasks related to a person's disability.
- Emotional support animals do serve a function, but the primary function is emotional comfort. Emotional support animals often assist those struggling with depression and other mental health issues.
ESA dogs play an important role. However they are not to be confused with official service animals. If you already have a service animal, then you already understand this. But if more people try to educate themselves about the differences, it helps prevent misunderstandings in public.
Some handlers are intimidated by flying on a plane with their service dog. However, remember that you are allowed to bring your animal on a plane and nobody can tell you otherwise as long as you prepare with the appropriate documents.
Air travel with service dogs comes with rules and regulations. But at the end of the day, air travel shouldn't be more of a hassle for you because of your disability or your service dog.
When you do book a flight on an airline, take a moment to notify them that you will be bringing a service animal. It helps everyone be prepared for you and your dog, and ensures that you are accommodated as you should be. Another thing to keep in mind is that your service dog flies for free with you. If your animal is trained well, it should have no problems on your next flight.
Most of the benefits of ESAs and PSAs are gleaned in public spaces. This is why legal protections are so important to know about when thinking about getting a service or support animal.
Legal protections refer to which locations your animal is allowed to access while working, and what questions people are allowed to ask you about your animal and your disability. Much of the general public, even store owners and employees, may not be acquainted with legal protections, which is why handlers need to be sure of their rights and which policies they are protected by.
Two acts cover emotional support dogs:
The ACAA protects handlers from experiencing discrimination on commercial airlines. ESAs are, by this act, able to ride in the main cabin with their handler, free of charge. The stipulation is that the animal must be well behaved and not pose a threat to anyone else. The FHA means that handlers cannot be discriminated against in their housing for owning an ESA.
Three acts cover psychiatric service dogs:
The ADA extends protection beyond just aircraft and housing. It allows handlers to take their necessary service dog with them wherever they go, including stores and offices. Employees are furthermore not allowed to ask about your disability or the status of the animal. They can legally only ask two questions:
Any other questions or limitations enacted by employees or store owners are illegal, according to the Americans with Disabilities
These are just a few of the most common questions that handlers ask regarding their dogs being allowed to travel with them. All service dogs have a protected status through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If your animal is trained and well-behaved, you have every right to bring them to public spaces.