Service Animals in Public Spaces

Helping businesses understand working service animals
A person with their large service dog is sitting on a patio chair

Service Animals in the Community

What exactly are the rules?

Question 1:

A person hands you their dog’s ADA registration card. You should let them in.
Answer: False

There is no registration for service animals.

Question 2:

A service animal is barking and causing a disruption. As a retail worker I have to ignore this.
Answer: False

Remember, the service animal has to be under the control of the owner. You should ask the handler to ensure that the animal is under control. If the handler cannot control the animal, you can ask that they remove it.

Question 3:

If a restaurant patron is with a service animal, the restaurant is legally required to provide water to the animal.
Answer: False

The business has no obligation to provide for the service animal’s needs. Ultimately though, this could be seen as good customer service.

Question 4:

A service animal in a library is running around. Library staff have a right to ask the handler to get the animal under control or leave.
Answer: True

The handler must be in control of the animal. A staff member should politely ask the handler to control the dog. If the owner doesn’t start controlling the dog, the staff member can ask the owner to take the dog out. The handler should be allowed to re-enter the library without the dog.