Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA

  • Service animals are NOT pets
  • Service animal means a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
  • Examples of work: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.


  1. Do not touch, talk, feed or otherwise distract the dog while it is wearing its harness.
  2. Do not give the dog commands; allow the handler to do so.
  3. Do not try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler, assist the handler upon request.
  4. Do not attempt to grab or steer the person while the dog is guiding him or attempt to hold the dog's harness, ask if the owner needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm.
  5. The ADA does not require identification or licenses for service animals. If you are unsure as to whether or not an animal is a service animal you are permitted under Federal law to ask the handler two specific questions: 1) Do you have a disability? and 2) What specific task(s) is the dog/animal trained to perform?

*A handler is not required to tell you any more about their disability of if they have any sort of certification of their disability or their dog's training.