A recent incident at a local medical facility bears witness this information needs to be repeated.
Service dogs are not pets. These dogs are individually trained to complete work or specific tasks for their owner. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.
“Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.” Service dogs are allowed to be in your personal wheelchair, otherwise they must remain on the floor.
Misrepresenting your pet as a service dog may net you a $500 fine. “Refusal to answer the questions allowable under (b) of this subsection shall create a presumption that the animal is not a service animal and the enforcement officer may issue a civil infraction and require the person to remove the animal from the place of public accommodation.”
Service dogs do not sniff people, run around greeting folks, or pee or poop on the floor. That $20 vest you purchased online may cost you more than you thought. ESAs (Emotional Service Animal) are not service dogs. Nor are therapy dogs. Neither are protected under the ADA.
David Youngberg, Forks