U.S. Attorney Parker recognizes Service Dog Awareness Week, reminds public that ADA, FHA protect service animals & owners
United States Attorney Kenneth L. Parker recognized the observance of Service Dog Awareness Week in Ohio from July 25 through 29 and reminded the public of the valuable contributions that service animals make in our communities. Parker noted the federal laws that protect these animals and those who use them.
“The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals,” U.S. Attorney Parker said. “The ADA generally requires state and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations to allow service animals to go most places where the public can go, unless doing so would ‘fundamentally alter’ the nature of the goods or services provided to the public.”
A service animal is any breed of dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks directly related to a person’s disability. Accordingly, entities that have a “no pets” policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities. Entities can, however, ask an individual to remove a particular service animal if such animal is not housebroken or if the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control the animal. 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.
The Fair Housing Act, which applies to many types of public and privately-owned housing, also offers protections for residents or applicants with a disability who use a service animal or other animal to assist with their disability.
Mr. Parker added that anyone who believes they have experienced discrimination because of their use of a service animal can report potential violations directly to the U.S Attorney’s Office.