Services Animals

Service Animals

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The Department of Justice has issued revised ADA regulations which cover Title II (state and local government programs) and Title III (places of public accommodation, such as restaurants or retail merchants) , which took effect March 15, 2011. These regulations revise the definition of service animal and add additional provisions.

Definition

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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • 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.

  • Helping individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks under the definition of a service animal.

When and Where a Service Animal is Allowed Access

Individuals with disabilities can bring their service animals in to all areas of public facilities and private businesses where members of the public, program participants, clients, customers, patrons, or invitees are allowed. A service animal can be excluded from a facility if its presence interferes with legitimate safety requirements of the facility (e.g., from a surgery or burn unit in a hospital in which a sterile field is required).

A public entity or a private business may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal if the animal is not housebroken or is out of control and the individual is not able to control it. A service animal must have a harness, leash or other tether, unless the handler is unable to use a tether because of a disability or the use of a tether would interfere with the service animal’s ability to safely perform its work or tasks. In these cases, the service animal must be under the handler’s control through

voice commands, hand signals, or other effective means. If a service animal is excluded, the individual with a disability must still be offered the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises.

Asking Questions

To determine if an animal is a service animal, a public entity or a private business may ask two questions:

  • Is this animal required because of a disability?

  • What work or task has this animal been trained to perform?

These questions may not be asked if the need for the service animal is obvious (e.g., the dog is guiding an individual who is blind or is pulling a person’s wheelchair). A public entity or private business may not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability or require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal, or require the animal to wear an identifying vest.

Miniature Horses

A public entity or private business must allow a person with a disability to bring a miniature horse on the premises as long as it has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. However, an organization can consider whether the facility can accommodate the miniature based on the horse’s type, size, and weight. The rules that apply to service dogs also apply to miniature horses.

Other Provisions

  • A public entity or private business is not responsible for the care and supervision of a service animal.

  • A public entity or private business cannot ask nor require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge or deposit, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay such fees.

  • If a public entity or private business normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

Relationship to Other Laws

These provisions related to service animals apply only to entities covered by the ADA. The Fair

Housing Act covers service animal provisions for residential housing situations, and the Air Carrier Access Act covers service animal provisions for airline travel. The definition of a service animal under each of these laws is different from the definition under the ADA.

 

Content was developed by the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, and is based on professional consensus of ADA experts and the ADA National Network.

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The contents of this factsheet were developed under grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant numbers 90DP0089 and 90DP0086). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this factsheet do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

© Copyright 2017 ADA National Network. All Rights Reserved.
May be reproduced and distributed freely with attribution to ADA National Network (www.adata.org).

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ADA Requirements for Service Animals

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section

Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

Overview

This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

  • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.

  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.

  • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.

  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.

  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.

  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.

  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

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Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011

 

5 Self-Help Strategies for Depression

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By Dani Poole on July 2, 2018

In 2016, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode – 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults. But with appropriate professional andself-help strategies, recovery from depression is possible. Self-help for depression can help alleviate symptoms and put someone on the path to recovery.

Here are 5 self-help strategies for depression:

  1. Exercise. Both aerobic exercise like walking or jogging and anaerobic exercise like weight lifting can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

  2. Relaxation training. Focusing on tensing and relaxing muscle groups methodically can help a person with depression relax voluntarily. You can find some guided relaxation training techniques online, like this one from Children’s Mercy Hospital.

  3. Light therapy. Exposing the eyes to bright, full-spectrum light that mimics natural outdoor light – particularly in the morning – can help treat certain types of depression, like SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms.

  4. Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Self-help books based on CBT can help a person with depression work through some of their symptoms. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy and Control Your Depression (revised edition) are two books based on CBT that have been found effective in trials.

  5. Computerized therapy. Self-help treatment programs delivered over the internet have also been proven effective for helping treat depression. MoodGym is a CBT website that has been evaluated in a scientific trail and found to be effective in relieving depression symptoms if people work through it systematically. The site teaches people to use ways of thinking that can help prevent depression.

Remember that a person’s ability and desire to use self-help strategies will depend on their interests and the severity of their depression. Therefore, if you are encouraging self-help strategies for someone facing depression in your life, it’s important not to be overly forceful.

Knowing how to help someone facing depression – including encouraging appropriate self-help and other support strategies – can help improve the quality of life for millions. Learn more about how you can #BeTheDifference in someone’s life by finding a Mental Health First Aid course near you.

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