Service Animals

Can People Ask You for Your Service Dog Certification?

If you have a service animal or are thinking about getting one, you may be wondering what rules and regulations apply to you. What do you do when a business owner of staff member questions the legitimacy of your service animal? Are you required to show them your service dog certification? What questions do you have to answer and what can you ignore? Read on to learn more about your rights as a service dog owner.

What is a Service Dog?

A service animal is defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog who is trained to perform a specific task related to their owner’s disability. Common examples are seeing eye dogs who are trained to lead their owners who are unable to see. People with mental disabilities also may have service dogs, which are called psychiatric service dogs.

Where Can Service Dogs go with You?

Under the ADA, service dogs are to be treated as necessary medical equipment, meaning that they can be taken virtually anywhere with their owner. This includes public places, restaurants, stores, work, airports, and more. This means the service dog must also be trained to be calm and collected under a variety of conditions and circumstances. They differ from emotional support animals in that they are trained to do certain tasks, while emotional support animals simply provide comfort through their presence. Emotional support animals also cannot travel with you or go in public with you the way a service dog can, because they are only protected by the Fair Housing Act.

Can People Ask You for your Service Dog Certification?

In a nutshell, no, people cannot ask you for your service dog certification. According to ADA regulations, they can ask two questions of you. One, is this animal a service animal required because of a disability? And two, what work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform? You are not obligated to show any documentation or disclose the nature of your disability or mental illness. Service animals are also not required to wear vests or identification of any kind, but these accessories do help provide clarity.

However, some people and organizations may need official certification from you, such as a landlord, or if you are booking a flight. In these instances, official documentation of your service animal is required for the safety of everyone involved.

In conclusion, no, people cannot ask you for your service dog certification. They can only ask two questions to verify the animal is a service animal and what its purpose is. They also cannot ask you for personal information about your disability or illness, except in certain circumstances, such as for housing or travel. For these instances, you will need a service animal letter of certification. You can get one by talking to our experts at United Support Animal today at 800-918-3151 or by taking our pre-screening test.