What Classifies a Service Animal?
Service Animals > Classification
In our last article, we discussed some of the potential dangers that can arise when a pet is misclassified as a service animal. While there’s no doubt that dogs tend to bring joy and comfort to their owners, claiming your pet is a service dog can have negative consequences. In this next installment, we’re going to cover what exactly classifies dog as a service animal, and what requirements are necessary. It’s important to note that dogs that have not undergone the proper training and socialization can react negatively in a public setting, potentially biting or injuring another. The best way to protect your pet is with a Canine Liability policy.
What is a service animal?
According to the ADA, 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. Here are some examples of tasks that these animals assist with for their owners:
- 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
- Retrieving items
- Providing balance or stability support
- Identifying allergens
- Preventing or interrupting destructive behavior
Where are service animals allowed?
Service animals are permitted in any public or private business, so long as the presence of the dog does not interfere with safety considerations – such as in a hospital where sterilization is required. Service animal owners must be in control of their dogs at all times, whether with a harness, leash, voice commands or hand signals. If the owner is unable to control the dog, or if he wasn’t housebroken yet, the shop owner can politely ask the dog to exit.
However, 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.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.