Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA) Title III, 28 CFR Section 36.104, defines a service animal as any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Individuals under this law can be accompanied by their service animal in public places. The ADA does not require “certification” or proof of the service dog’s training (see also ACAA of 1986).

Alaska Statutes Interference with rights of physically or mentally challenged person.

ADA  allows any person with a disability train their own service animal. The law does not require that the animal be registered with any program, organization, state or local agency.

AS 11.76.133 Interference with the training of a service Animal (a) A person commits the crime of interference with the training of a service animal if the person intentionally prevents or restricts a person who is authorized to train a service animal from being accompanied by an animal that is identified as being in training to be a service animal or assesses an extra charge because of the animal in a public facility except as provided in the (b) and (c) of this section.

  • 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.


Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person  with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person  with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or  performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets.  The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly  related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does  not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under  the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under  the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local  laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does.  Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney  general’s office.


Under  the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit  organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals  to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility  where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a  service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or  examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service  animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence  may compromise a sterile environment.


Under  the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered,  unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the  individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed.  Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required  because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been  trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability,  require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for  the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the  work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.   When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a  service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for  example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both  should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different  locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A  person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal  from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler  does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not  housebroken. When there is a  legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must  offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or  services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments  that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas  even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated  from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or  charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals.   In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by  patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that  they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage  caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.