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Assistance Dog Laws

As a business owner, employee, or other member of the community, there are some important things you should be aware of regarding Assistance Dogs who have public access rights, as well as your rights as a business.

Assistance Dogs include Guide Dogs who are trained to help people who are visually impaired, Hearing Dogs who alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and Service Dogs who are trained to help people with mobility and other physical disabilities. Service Dogs also include Seizure Dogs, Autism Dogs, and Psychiatric Dogs who assist  with PTSD and anxiety.

“Therapy Dogs” and “Emotional Support Dogs” are not Assistance Dogs. They do not perform a physical skill.

According to the American’s with Disabilities Act and state laws, people with  disabilities are allowed public access rights for their specifically trained Assistance Dogs. Assistance Dogs are legally allowed to accompany their person into stores, restaurants, public transportation, and other places where dogs are not normally allowed.

Know Your Rights

Along with public access right, the person and his/her dog have the following responsibilities:

  • The dog must be well groomed, well behaved, and under control.
  • The dog must be on a leash.
  • The dog must be able to lie quietly beside the handler without blocking aisles or doorways.
  • The dog may NOT ride in a shopping cart or sit in the person’s lap while at a restaurant.

In order to have public access rights, the dog must be trained to perform a physical skill. You may NOT ask the person what his/her disability is, to show proof of disability, or proof of where the dog was trained.

You as a business owner, employee, or member of the community may ask the person the following questions if you think there is a need to verify that this is truly an Assistance Dog:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What task(s) has this dog been trained to perform?

For more information, please refer to these resources on our website:

For a printable card covering this information, click on below images and copy.

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