Department of Justice has issued revised ADA Title II (which covers state and local government programs) and Title III (which covers private businesses, a.k.a. places of public accommodation such as restaurants or retail merchants) regulations, which took effect March 15, 2011. These regulations revise the definition of service animal and add additional provisions. (§35.104, §35.136, §36.104, §36.302)
A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.
The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:
- assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks
- alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
- providing non-violent protection or rescue work
- pulling a wheelchair
- assisting an individual during a seizure
- alerting individuals to the presence of allergens
- retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
- providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities
- helping individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors
The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks for purposes of the definition of a service animal.