Everything you need to know about service animals

What is a service animal?

A service animal is any 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. A service animal must be a dog-with one exception-miniature horses may be allowed with special requirement in regulations.

A service animal can be trained by a professional organization, an owner or anyone else. There is no specific training or certification requirements.

What does a service animal do?

A service animal is trained to perform tasks that are directly related to the individuals disability. Some tasks that a service animal may be required to do include:

  • 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.

28 C.F.R § 35.104; 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.