Service Animal Information

Since 1977 Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, has been at the forefront of promoting the health benefits of the human-animal bond.  In the early years of the organization’s history, this included advocacy for people with disabilities who use service animals.  Pet Partners is now committed to providing the best prepared visiting animal teams in the country through our Therapy Animal Program (registration as a therapy animal team does NOT provide legal protection for public access).  Several other sources of expert information regarding service animals are now readily available on the Internet and through federal government offices.  Please read the following FAQ’s to be directed to the most knowledgeable source to address your issue. 

WHAT IS A SERVICE ANIMAL?
Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, and reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications. Service dogs also employ specific skills to provide mobility assistance, support individuals with PTSD, communicate seizure alerts and/or perform other duties that mitigate an individual’s disability. Service dogs are considered working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

HOW DO I GET A SERVICE DOG OR HAVE MY DOG TRAINED AS A SERVICE ANIMAL?
If you are in need of an assistance animal to alleviate your disability, or you are looking for a service dog trainer for a dog you already own, contact Assistance Dogs International, Inc. (ADI).  ADI is a coalition of members representing nonprofit organizations that train and place assistance dogs.  Visit www.assistancedogsinternational.org where you will find a complete list of their member organizations.  Click on “Member Search” at the bottom of the page and click on your geographical region of the map.  Follow the on-screen instructions to find an ADI member.  ADI members have their own guidelines and processes for assistance dog applicants.  Please contact them directly so they can talk with you about your specific needs by emailing info@assistancedogsinternational.org or call 707-540-1553. 

WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS WITH A SERVICE DOG, ASSISTANCE ANIMAL OR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL?
People with disabilities who use service dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to have their dogs accompany them into public places.  For information about the ADA as it applies to service dogs, please contact the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301. Those living in a public housing situation that does not allow pets, but having a disability that benefits from an assistance animal, are protected under the Fair Housing Act to be exempt from the community’s pet policies.  For information about the Fair Housing Act, please contact the Housing Discrimination Hotline at 800-669-9777. 

 

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