Understanding Service Dog Public Access Rules

Posted on: in [ General ]


Service Dogs are invaluable companions trained to assist individuals with disabilities. Their role is crucial, and as such, they are afforded specific rights and protections under the law to ensure they can effectively support their handlers.


One of the most important rights is public access. This means that Service Dogs are allowed in places where pets aren’t typically permitted, including restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. The primary reason behind this is to ensure that individuals with disabilities aren't unfairly limited or discriminated against.


Business owners and employees should remember a few essential things:


  1. No Pet Policy Doesn’t Apply: Even if a venue has a "no pets" policy, Service Dogs are exempt. They are working animals, not pets.

  2. Limited Questions Allowed: Only two questions may be asked to verify if a dog is a Service Dog:

    • Is the dog a Service Dog required because of a disability?
    • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  3. No Fees: Establishments cannot charge extra fees for Service Dogs, though the handler is responsible for any damages caused by the dog.



Businesses and the public must respect these rights, recognizing the essential function Service Dogs serve in supporting individuals with disabilities.