Service Animal Guidelines

As of March 15, 2011, only dogs and miniature horses (subject to certain limitations) are considered to be service animals (guide dogs, etc.), according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other animals, either wild or domesticated, do not qualify as a service animal. Under the ADA, it is the training that distinguishes a service animal from another animal. Service animals are 'working' animals, not pets or therapy animals.

Facts about Service Animals
  • They do not have to wear any special gear or identification, and owners/handlers do not have to carry any certification showing the animal is a service animal.
  • A city employee may ask the handler/owner if the animal is required because of a disability and what task or service the animal has been trained to perform. They may not ask about the nature or type of the disability.
  • Service animals may be any breed or size of dog.
  • Service animals are not pets.
  • Service animals are protected by federal and some state laws.
  • A service animal may not be allowed in a public building if that animal's behavior (lunging, growling, snapping, barking) poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. The owner/handler should be invited to return to the building without the dog, or be offered other accommodations.
  • Another person's allergies or fear of animals is not a valid reason for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals.