Service dogs provide life-saving benefits to people with physical and emotional disabilities. While most people are familiar with seeing-eye dogs for the blind, they may not know that service dogs can also be trained to assist owners with mobility problems, detect oncoming epileptic seizures and alert diabetic owners to changes in their blood sugar. Service dogs are essential to their owners, and the law protects these animals from policies that prohibit pets. While registration is not required, it can provide many benefits.
Service Dog Registration and the ADA
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), registration is not required for service animals. However, they must comply with local vaccination, registration and licensing requirements. To qualify as a service animal a dog must be trained to perform specific tasks related to a person’s disability. Animals that provide comfort or companionship are not recognized as service animals, unless they have been specifically trained to sense and take action to prevent an anxiety attack. However, some state and local governments do have laws that allow emotional support animals in public places.
Service animals are not required to wear any type of identifying apparel or tags. Staff may ask if the dog is required because of a disability and what work or tasks the dog has been trained to perform, but they may not request documentation of the dog’s status as a service animal.
USA Service Dog Registry offers a voluntary registration program that provides people who use service animals with documentation to identify the important status of their pet. While registration is not mandatory, it can provide a number of benefits to pet owners.
- Providing Documentation to Support Your Animal’s Special Status - The primary benefit of service dog registration is that it can eliminate problems with companies who question your dog’s right to stay with you and fulfill its important function. Documentation is not required for service animals. If an establishment prohibits a service dog from entering or questions the owner extensively, the ADA recommends filing a complaint against the establishment. However, by registering your service dog and showing documentation, you can avoid many problems with individuals who are unversed in ADA law. The documentation and identification you’ll receive make your service dog visibly official.
- Reducing Housing Discrimination – Like many commercial businesses, landlords are often unaware of the protection offered to service animals. By providing documentation, you can assure your landlord that your pet is medically necessary and protected under ADA and the HUD Fair Housing Act.
- Helping Your Pet Stay Focused – While some challenges come from those who dislike animals, others arise from animal lovers themselves. Strangers who pet and play with your dog may distract it from its important duties. However, most people are aware that they should not interact with service animals without an owner’s permission. Our full and delux ID kits provide your pet with a vest that identifies it as a service animal so your dog can stay focused and attentive.
- Keeping Your Pet Safe During an Emergency Evacuation – Any time there is an evacuation emergency personnel will be on the lookout for animals and pets. However, if your pet is registered and bearing identification, rescue personnel will be aware of its essential status and work to reunite you with your pet as quickly as possible.
- Support for Veterans – By registering with the USA Service Dog Registry, you are helping to support veterans, as well. We proudly donate to Paws for Veterans, an organization that pairs shelter dogs with returned military personnel who may suffer from PTSD and other challenges.
Registering a pet is easy and can offer lifelong benefits. By creating an official record of your dog’s status, you can better protect your rights and reduce discrimination for your disability. Registration can also keep your pet safe in public and in an emergency. Your service animal is an essential part of your life. Registration shows others just how important