Department of Justice updates new FAQ on service animals

The U.S. Department of Justice has amended its recent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on service animals in response to concerns from disability rights advocates across the country. DRO will continue to monitor changes to the the FAQ and update this post as necessary.

The FAQ answers many common questions about service animals, including questions about the difference between service and emotional support animals, transporting service animals in ambulances, breeds, controlling the dog, what organizations must comply with the ADA, and more.

Read the FAQ here.

Some excerpts:

Q4. If someone’s dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?

A. It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.

Q14. Does a hospital have to allow an in-patient with a disability to keep a service animal in his or her room?

A. Generally, yes. Service animals must be allowed in patient rooms and anywhere else in the hospital the public and patients are allowed to go. They cannot be excluded on the grounds that staff can provide the same services.

Q22. Can service animals be any breed of dog?

A. Yes.  The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals.

Q34. Are churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship required to allow individuals to bring their service animals into the facility?

A. No.  Religious institutions and organizations are specifically exempt from the ADA.  However, there may be State laws that apply to religious organizations.

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