If you own a business, are a landlord, or have a physical disability, you may have questions about access privileges granted to service dogs in public. This section of the website will help answer some of those questions.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), business and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public including:
- Taxis and Shuttles
- Grocery Stores
- Department Stores
- Hospitals and medical offices
- Health Clubs
- Parks and Zoos
The ADA defines a service animal* as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
- Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
- A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
- Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
*ADA uses the term "service animal" rather than "assistance animal."
Title III does not preempt any State law if that State law provides protection for individuals with disabilities at a level greater or equal to that provided by the ADA. As explained in section 36.1039©, the ADA does, however, prevail over any conflicting State laws, or those laws that provide lesser protection against discrimination.
In Minnesota, the access privileges of service dogs are also granted through laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature and a service dog-in-training is granted the same access privileges as a fully trained service dog. Trainers can work with their dogs in realistic settings before they are placed with persons with disabilities.
For more information on the Minnesota Laws, follow the links below to the Minnesota State Legislature's website.