I know, first hand, someone who bought an expensive mutt – sorry – “doodle” then decided to make her life easier by buying a dog vest from Amazon that said her dog is a service dog just so she can take her dog anywhere and everywhere. Let’s make this clear up front – this is a young lady with no physical, mental, or emotional disability or need. She just wanted to take her dog with her everywhere she went. When people complain about folks taking advantage of the ADA, she is a perfect case in point.
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) very specifically defines a service dog.
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. SOURCE
If you walk into a no pets allowed facility, such as a restaurant, you can be asked two (and only) two questions about your dog:
- “Is that a service dog required because of a disability?”
- “What tasks does the dog perform?”
The key there is “tasks”. A service dog must perform some task – from picking up items, leading the handler, alerting to potential diabetes issues, etc. Service dogs are working dogs. They have a job to do. If your dog performs a task then you are protected under the ADA.
An “emotional support” or “therapy” dog is not a service dog. No restaurant, retail store, office is required by law to let you bring a service dog into their establishment (rules are slightly different for housing and commercial airlines). This means that even if your dog provides you aid and comfort due to PTSD, it is not an ADA service dog. This especially means the $30 vest bought from Amazon that your dog is wearing does not – ever, at all, under any circumstance – allow you to bring your dog into a restaurant.
So no, you do not have a “service dog”. You are just an entitled brat.