BREAKING NEWS

Can service animals be other species besides dogs?

In some cases, yes, but in other cases, no.

The Codes of Federal Regulation for the Americans with Disabilities Act defines "service animal" as "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 service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´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, and helping persons 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 do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition."

Under that definition, only specially trained dogs can be service animals. The ADA applies to areas of public access or public places and businesses where pets are not generally permitted. It also applies to state services, including state owned housing. But it does not apply to most other housing.

Under the FHA (covers most housing), Section 504 of the Rehab Act (covers entities receiving federal funds), and the ACAA (covers commercial aircraft, service animals can still be of species other than dogs.

Most other countries recognize only specially trained dogs as service/assistance animals for public access, housing, and flying.

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2011-02-17 HUD memo on new ADA regulations on assistance animals.PDF170.17 KB