ADA Service Animal Compliance Resources
Under Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and virtually all state laws, a service animal is an animal that has been trained to perform work or tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The ADA provides no protection for emotional support animals (ESL or comfort animals) in public accommodations.
Rights for Service Dog in Training (SDiT) Teams: The ADA does NOT grant access rights to people training a service dog. However, in many US states, people who are training a service dog have the same rights of access as disabled people accompanied by trained service animals. This varies from state-to-state. *note the wording in some states: the trainer must be employed by a training facility, in some states volunteers have the same rights as does anyone just training the service dog with no formal training attachment, it varies state to state.
This is a great article to learn more about Service Dogs in Training
This PDF also goes over service dogs state by state including information on Trainers and Service Dogs in Training
And a great resource for additional information can be found at Table of State Assistance Laws (always reference your state site directly in addition to double check as while Service Dog laws don't change often, there are occasional updates to the laws)
This very informative video reviews the definition of a service animal (note: ADA does not cover 'emotional support' animals), where they are allowed, etc. The 2 questions that can be asked of the individual about the dog are: Is the dog a service animal? What task(s) is the dog trained to perform?
ADA Resources from the Former AIHP Website
- PDF: ADA Compliance for your Property and Website, Rob Fulton & Lisa Kolb, Acorn Internet Services
- PDF: Service and Assistance Animals in Hotel and Lodging Environments: A Business Guide to Rights, Responsibilities, and Best Practices, Ohio Hotel and Lodging (OHLA)
- PODCAST: ADA Compliance & Website Accessibility for B&B’shttps://www.innspeakpodcast.com/episodes/ada-compliance-website-accessibility-for-bbs/, InnSpeak Podcast
States Where Misrepresenting a Service Animal is a Crime
ALABAMA (Senate Bill 10, enacted as Act 2019-478) passed in the 2019 Alabama legislative session that amends current state law (Alabama Code 21-7)- Class C misdemeanor, and in addition to any fines and penalties provided by law, shall perform 100 hours of community service for an organization that serves individuals with disabilities, or for another entity or organization, at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than six months.” A subsequent infraction is a class B misdemeanor and carries a $100 fine.
ARIZONA. House Bill 2588 introduced in 2018 states those who "fraudulently misrepresent" service animals can be fined $250.
CALIFORNIA. Penal Code 365.7 introduced back in 1995. Those pretending to be an owner of a service dog is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.
COLORADO. House Bill 16-1426 passed in 2017 states it is a class 2 petty offense to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service animal in the state. Violators of this new law will be hit with a fine of $25 for their first offense, $50-100 for a second offense and $100-500 for a third or subsequent offense.
FLORIDA. CS/SB 414 This law passed in 2015 classifies misrepresenting a dog as a service animal as a second-degree misdemeanor. Those who are caught breaking the law face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
IOWA. Senate File 2365 Passed this year in 2018, an offender can face 30 days in jail, a fine, or possibly both.
IDAHO. 18-5811A Since 1997 in Idaho, any person, not being a disabled person or being trained to assist disabled persons, who use an assistance device or assistance dog to gain treatment or benefits as a disabled person, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (No specific punitive measures stipulated e.g. fine or imprisonment)
KANSAS. K 39-1112 Introduced in 2015, this is a class A Misdemeanor: No fines or penalties specifically indicated.
MAINE. 17 M. R. S. A. § 1314-A Passed in 2015, any person who commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $1000 may be adjudged for each occurrence.
MASSACHUSETTS Pending Legislation
MICHIGAN. MCL 752.61 - 63 Passed in 2016 a violation is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 or more of the following: imprisonment for not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than $500.00, community service for not more than 30 days
MISSOURI. V. A. M. S. 209.204 Introduced in 2017 any person found in breach of this law is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and shall also be civilly liable for the amount of any actual damages resulting from such impersonation. Any second or subsequent violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor.
MINNESOTA. HF3157*/SF2646/CH106 Passed in 2018 an offender will be subject to a $100 fine 1st offense, and a misdemeanor charge for a 2nd offense which can include $1000 fine and/or 90 days in prison.
NEBRASKA. Neb. Rev. St. § 28-1313 A person commits unlawfully using a white cane or guide dog if not blind as defined by law and carries, displays, or otherwise makes use of a white cane or guide dog. Unlawful use of a white cane or guide dog is a Class III misdemeanor. Passed in 2008.
NEVADA. N.R.S. 426.805 Since 2005, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.
NEW HAMPSHIRE. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 167-D:10 Passed in 2015 any offender shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to enhanced penalties in paragraphs II and III. (fines and penalties not stipulated)
NEW JERSEY. N. J. S. A. 10:5-29.5 Introduced in 2013 an offender shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $500.
NEW MEXICO. N. M. S. A. 1978, § 28-11-6 Violations dating back to 1978 is a misdemeanor. (fines and penalties not stipulated but referred to as misdemeanor under NM Common Law)
NEW YORK. McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 118 Updated in 2018, 1st violation is $25 fine. 2nd if $50 fine. 3rd offense a fine of $100 or more than 15 days’ imprisonment or both.
NORTH CAROLINA. N.C.G.S.A. § 168-4.5 Passed in 2005, a violation of this section shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor. (fines and penalties not stipulated)
South Carolina H. 5041 Section 47-3-980 (1) for a first offense, an amount not less than three hundred fifty dollars and not more than one thousand dollars; (2) for a second offense, an amount not less than six hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars; (3) for a third or subsequent offense, an amount not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars, in addition to not more than ten hours of community service.
TEXAS. V. T. C. A., Human Resources Code § 121.006 Punishable by a fine since 2014 of not more than $300 and 30 hours of community service to a governmental organization or a nonprofit organization which primarily serves disabled individuals. Habitual offense can see the fake service animal seized by the state.
UTAH. § 62A-5b-106 Passed in 2007 an offender is guilty of a class C misdemeanor (fines and penalties not stipulated)
VIRGINIA. VA Code Ann. § 51.5-44.1 Passed in 2016 this is a class 4 misdemeanor (fines and penalties not stipulated)
WASHINGTON STATE. HB 2822 - 2017-18 Passed in 2018, an offender can be $500 fine for a civil infraction.
WYOMING. House Bill 114 Introduced in 2017, a guilty person can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $750.