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What is a Service Dog

Who can have a Service Dog

Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

Only dogs can be service animals -- no other species have rights as service animals.

Service dogs must be:

  1. Trained -- Under control, on-leash, and housebroken;
  2. Trained -- to do work or perform tasks that mitigate a disability.

Your dog is NOT a service dog:

  • Just because you have a disability. The dog must be trained to do something that is directly related to your disability (for example -- you cannot take your Chihuahua into the grocery store because you have difficulty walking);
  • Because he makes you feel good, provides emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship. These are not trained tasks. This is an Emotional Support Dog. Emotional Support Dogs do not have public access rights.
  • Because you have a letter from your doctor stating that you would benefit from having a dog. In order to be a Service Dog, the dog must be trained and appropriate for service work;
  • If he is a protection or guard dog. Even if you have PTSD, anxiety, or feel vulnerable because of your disability, service dogs cannot be trained for protection. Service dogs must be quiet, tolerant, and mild-mannered. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, call us about the service tasks that your dog can be trained to do for you.

Be aware that you are responsible and legally liable for any damage or injury that your dog causes to people, other animals, or property. Any of the following actions can cause your dog to be legally declared Vicious, Dangerous, or Destructive by law: Baring teeth, growling, attempting to bite, biting, approaching in a threatening manner, damaging or destroying property. The dog's status as a service animal does not absolve the owner from responsibility.

Most people cannot recognize the signs of stress and fear in their dogs. Stressed dogs can bite. Don't risk medical expenses and a lawsuit -- leave your dog at home unless it has been assessed and trained.

 

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