Service dog registration is a simple process, and we'll provide the answers you need to be completely informed about our service dog registration process. We will also cover your legal rights and protections with your registered service dog to help you live with your pet in no pet housing with NO FEE and fly with your service dog in the cabin of an aircraft without being charged a pet fee.
Service dogs are dogs (and in some cases, miniature horses) trained to perform major life tasks to assist people with physical or severe psychiatric impairments/disabilities. Service dogs are sometimes referred to as assistance animals, assist animals, support animals, or helper animals depending on the country and the animal's function.
For a person to legally qualify to have a service dog, he/she must have a physical impairment (or severe psychiatric impairment) that substantially limits his/her ability to perform at least one major life activity without assistance. There are no limitations with respect to the kinds of impairments/disabilities this applies to.
A physical impairment is any medical disorder, condition, disfigurement or loss affecting one of the body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
Examples of conditions that are impairments: AIDS, and its symptoms; Alcoholism; Asthma; Blindness or other visual impairments; Cancer; Cerebral palsy; Depression; Diabetes, Epilepsy; Hearing or speech impairments; Heart Disease; Migraine Headaches; Multiple sclerosis; Muscular dystrophy; Orthopedic impairments; Paralysis; complications from Pregnancy; Thyroid gland disorders; Tuberculosis; loss of body parts.
Certain temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual effects usually are not disabilities. Likewise, environmental conditions and alternative lifestyles are not protected. A person currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs is not considered an individual with a disability. This refers both to the illegal use of unlawful drugs such as cocaine, as well as illegal use of prescription drugs.
Examples of conditions that are NOT impairments: The common cold or the flu, a sprained joint, minor and non-chronic gastrointestinal disorders, a broken bone that is expected to heal completely, compulsive gambling, pregnancy, old age, lack of education, poor judgment, or bisexuality or homosexuality.
These activities consist of functions such as caring for yourself, (including, but certainly not limited to bathing, dressing, shaving, preparing a meal, and going to the restroom), performing manual tasks, eating, sleeping, standing, walking, lifting, reaching, bending, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.
As a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, major life activities now also include the operation of any major bodily function, including, but not limited to functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive (procreation) functions.
It isn't necessary to possess a letter from a physician that states you are disabled and require a trained service dog, but if someone legally challenges a person claiming to be disabled, proof of the disability will be necessary at that point. What you must be prepared to do when in public is confirm you are disabled and provide credible verbal evidence of what your service dog is trained to do.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), 42 U.S.C. 12101, prohibits discrimination on the basis of a "disability" in several critical areas. Those areas include:
That means you are entitled by federal law to be accompanied by your service dog anywhere a non-disabled person could go, even when pets are NOT allowed.
If you are disabled and have a trained service dog, you have the right to be accompanied by your service dog in the cabin of an aircraft and not be charged a fee. There are some limitations and exceptions that can be made at the discretion of airline personnel, however. For example, the animal must be able to stay on the floor between your knees and the seat in front of you. If the dog is too large or the plane to crowded, they can require you to crate the dog. Click here for more information.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 requires property managers and landlords to make a reasonable accommodation (a change in the rules) to permit a disabled handler to have a service dog and not be charged a pet or other fee. That means if they have a "cats only" policy, they must accept your service dog. If they have a policy that allows dogs weighing no more than 30 lbs. and your service dog weighs 75 lbs., they must make a change in the rules to accommodate you. If they accept all dogs, except pit bulls, and you have a pit bull, they must allow your pit bull to reside with you. Click here for detailed information.
A "place of public accommodation" includes almost every type of operation which is open for business or which comes in contact with the general public. Specifically, it includes any commercial facility, operated by a private entity (not the government), whose operations fall within at least one of 12 different categories. A disabled person is protected by law to be accompanied by a service dog in the following areas:
A public accommodation cannot refuse to serve you because its insurance coverage or rates are conditioned on the absence of persons with disabilities.
Private clubs and religious organizations are NOT considered public accommodations
Title III of the ADA does not apply to:
Private clubs, not open to the public
Religious organizations and places of worship
Registration is not federally mandated or compulsory, but voluntary. The importance of registering your service dog, however, is that it not only legitimizes your dog (making him/her look official), but eliminates nearly all the hassles and confrontation you'll encounter without it. That's the reason National Service Animal Registry exists: To make life easier and less problematic for the disabled! Several members of the NSAR staff group are disabled and attest to how much easier it has been to take their animals in public after they were registered and attired appropriately.
To find out more about or begin to register your service dog, click here. We guarantee your life will be enhanced, as a result!
It's quite disturbing when a service dog isn't properly obedience-trained, even if the service dog is effectively task-trained for its disabled handler. When in public, it's important (and lends critical credibility to the animal and the disabled handler) when a service dog is manageable, well behaved, and NOT aggressive toward other animals or humans.
That's the reason why a service dog should be able to complete the basic obedience commands listed in the NSAR Public Access Test for service and psychiatric service dogs. This list represents what you and your service dog should work toward and be proficient at: Public Access Test