Service Dog Certification Resource Center!

Welcome to The #1 Resource For Service Dog Certification

We have everything you need to make your life easier whether you are looking into getting a service dog, training service dogs, or already have a service dog. State specific laws pertaining to service dogs, training tips, history articles, and inspirational stories are just some of the helpful things you’ll find here.

 

Service Dog Certification: Is it necessary?

Service dogs are absolutely not required to be certified, registered, or show identification. The Americans with Disability Act says the following: “Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

That being said, there are some advantages to getting “certified.” Some service dog training programs give a certification. If you have done the research and know this is a great training program, then getting the certification is a bonus. While service dogs are not required to wear any special identifying vests or harnesses, it can sometimes help prevent a confrontation with a business owner, or another customer. READ MORE

Service Dog Laws

You may not know it, but service dog laws are acknowledged as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This is providing the animals are individually trained to perform a specific act for their owner. Therefore, service dog certification is a vital aspect in this definition.

These dogs must be allowed to go anywhere with their handler. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, movie theaters and even aboard airplanes. This is all clearly defined by federal and state laws. As the laws pertain to air travel, this is covered in the Air Carriers Access Act.

What may also surprise you is the fact that these animals do not have to wear any form of identifying articles such as a vest. This is totally at the option of the owner and not required by law. As a matter of fact, it is illegal to even ask for any type of special documentation.

The importance of service dog certification cannot be expressed enough considering that should your dog misbehave in any fashion, the proprietor of the establishment you are visiting, does have the right by law to ask you to get the animal under control and failing to do so, request that you leave. READ MORE

Training for Service Dogs

Needless to say the key element in achieving service dog certification is the training. There are a variety of techniques used to accomplish this goal. Within this section I will attempt to describe both positive and negative reinforcement programs and which of these seem to provide the best results.

It should be noted that dogs, like people, have different personalities and may react to a particular regimen based on these unique traits.

First and foremost, before any formal training is begun, your pet should be given basic training in the home like any other puppy. They should be house broken and disciplined within the home in the normal manner. READ MORE

 

Service Dog Laws in West Virginia

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The intent of this article is to familiarize individuals with the service dog laws in West Virginia. It is not intended to be used as a legal reference guide. Some of the laws will be summarized or paraphrased for the purposes of space and clarity. If you feel that you or your service dog has been discriminated against, it is recommended you seek legal counsel and/or contact the West Virginia Attorney General’s office in Charleston.

Under section 5-15-3 “Definitions” of the service dog laws in West Virginia a service animal means: “any guide dog, signal dog or any other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. FYI – Service dog certification training covers all the tasks listed above.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

Any person who is disabled has the right to enter public accommodations accompanied by their service dog. In the state of West Virginia, these public locations include, but are not limited to: hotels, lodging places, restaurants, professional offices for health and legal services, hospitals and all other public accommodations, amusement or resort and other places including places of employment to which the general public is invited. All common carriers such as buses, taxi’s trains, boats, airplanes and other public conveyances (transportation) are also included. Again, it should be noted service dog certification will specifically address your dog’s public behavior.

ILLEGAL INTERFERENCE LAWS

Any person, firm or corporation that interferes with a disabled individual’s right of entry to a public venue with their service dog is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50.

LICENSING & ACCREDITATION

Within the service dog laws in West Virginia the $3 state head tax on dogs shall be waived for any guide or support dog especially trained for the purpose of serving disabled individuals. Service dog certification criteria meet the “especially trained” requirement mentioned above.

Service Dog Laws in Vermont

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The service dog laws in Vermont put more of an emphasis on illegal intervention situations than most other states. We will discuss those statutes later in this document. But let us first identify what constitutes a service dog in Vermont. In section 355, subsection (a), item 2 of these laws you will find the following definition: “A guide dog means a dog whose status is reasonably identifiable individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability for purposes of guiding an individual with impaired vision, alerting an individual with impaired hearing to the presence of people or sounds, assisting an individual during a seizure, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving items, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability, and assisting with navigation.”  One should take note of the phrase “individually trained to work or perform tasks” as it relates to the need for service dog certification training.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

Under section 4502 of the service dog laws in Vermont, it is stated that an individual with a disability accompanied by a service animal must be allowed entry to a public accommodation and the opportunity to participate in, and not be denied the benefits of its services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages and accommodations. While not required by law, service dog certification instruction specifically targets your service canine’s behavior in public venues.

ILLEGAL INTERFERENCE LAWS

The previously listed section 355 of the service dog laws in Vermont which defined a service dog is titled “Interference with or cruelty to a guide dog”. Remember the description given covers all types of service dogs, not only dogs used by the visually impaired. The minimum penalty for interfering with a service dog is a $100 fine for the first offense. Subsequent fines may go up to $250. Any obstruction, intimidation or otherwise jeopardizing the safety of the service dog or its owner may result in a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. Anyone causing injury or death to a service dog may be imprisoned up to two years, receive a fine not to exceed $3,000 or both. Restitution may also be included for such an offense including veterinary bills, cost of a temporary or permanent replacement dog, loss of wages and any other costs and expenses incurred by the owner as a  result of these actions.

I think we will all agree, avoiding confrontational situations would be best for all concerned and with that, I would again recommend service dog certification accreditation to aid in this result.

Service Dog Laws in Utah

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The service dog laws in Utah provides perhaps the most comprehensive definition of any state as to  what constitutes a service dog and the tasks associated with this classification. Under section 62A-5b-102, subsection 3a, a “Service animal” includes any dog that is trained or in training to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. These tasks will include: assisting an individual who is blind or has low vision with navigation or other tasks; alerting an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds; providing nonviolent or rescue work; pulling a wheelchair; assisting an individual during a seizure; alerting an individual to the presence of an allergen; retrieving an item for the individual; providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability; or helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. It should be noted the definition requires the canine to be trained to perform these functions. Service dog certification training provides the best possible scenario to not only meet the description of a service dog in Utah, but for the dog to receive the optimum instruction possible to execute the specific task or work function.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

Within the service dog laws in Utah a disabled individual accompanied by their service dog must be allowed entry to all public accommodations, amusement, resort and otherwise the same as any other member of the public. These locations will normally include bars and restaurants, hotels and motels, cinemas and theaters, as well as all forms of public transportation (buses, taxis, trains and airplanes) even where a “no pets allowed” policy usually applies. Housing is also covered in that the renting, leasing or selling of a home must allow the dogs too. Service dog certification offers the best proof that the canine is, in fact, properly accredited.

ILLEGAL INTERFERENCE LAWS

Under the service dog laws in Utah it is a crime to deny access to a certified service dog and is categorized as a class C misdemeanor. It is a class B misdemeanor to misrepresent a non-service dog as an assistance animal. Owners are encouraged to present a laminated ID card or other identification to the management of public venues to verify the dog’s legitimacy. You will receive formal paperwork upon completion of the service dog certification process.

Service Dog Laws in South Dakota

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The purpose of this document is to familiarize interested individuals with the service dog laws in South Dakota. Some laws will be quoted verbatim, while others may be summarized and paraphrased for purposes of space and clarity. This information is in no way intended to act as an official legal guide. Should you require legal action, it is recommended you contact a lawyer and/or the States Attorney General’s office located in Pierre, SD. As you peruse these rules and regulations I suggest you keep in mind service dog certification as a means to train your canine.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

As cited in section 20-13-23.1 of the service dog laws in South Dakota; “Any person with a disability is entitled to reasonably equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable to all persons.” This, in essence says you and your service dog must be welcomed in virtually all public venues. Normally besides the hotel and lodging places specifically mentioned in the statute these public places will include bars and restaurants, movie theatres and retail stores. No additional fees shall be charged for this access. However you, as the service dog’s owner, are liable for any damages attributed to the animal’s behavior. Therefore, service dog certification training can be of great benefit in avoiding this situation. Housing is also covered and it is illegal to deny the leasing of a residential or commercial property solely based on the presence of a service dog.

MOTOR VEHICLE LAWS

South Dakota codified law, title 32 deals with drivers of motor vehicles that, when observing a disabled person accompanied by a service dog, must bring their vehicle to a full stop prior to reaching the intersection allowing the crossing party to pass safely before proceeding.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

The service dog laws in South Dakota deem any violations to the laws governing the use of such dogs within the state punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Laws are also in place to prevent any malicious interference by an outside party that prevents a service dog from performing their tasks.

Service dog certification will insure your canine is acknowledged as an accredited service animal meeting all of South Dakota’s requirements for this title.

Service Dog Laws in South Carolina

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The service dog laws in South Carolina places more of an emphasis on compliance with these statutes than in most other states. Violations and penalties are clearly spelled out in its text.  Let us first quote the definition of a service animal (dog) within these edicts as set forth in Section 47-3-920: “Service animal means an animal that is trained for the purposes of assisting or accommodating the sensory, mental or physical disability of a disabled person”. To legally be considered a service dog, the canine must be trained to perform specific tasks for its handler. While service dog certification is not required by law, the training it provides meets this criteria.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

Within the service dog laws in South Carolina, physically disabled individuals accompanied by a service dog, have the same right of entry to public locations as all other members of society. These locations include all places of public accommodation, amusement or resort. This will normally include, but not be limited to, restaurants and bars, hotels and motels, movie theaters and all forms of public conveyance (transportation). Once again, service dog certification will insure your canine receives proper training in behavioral methods to control them in public.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

The service dog laws in South Carolina find it is unlawful for a person or his agent to deny or interfere with admittance to or the enjoyment of any public facilities by a disabled person and their service dog within the state. It is also illegal to interfere with the general rights of the disabled. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction will be fined at the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than three years or both. Further, it is unlawful for a person who has received notice that his or his own pet animal’s behavior is interfering with a service dog, to continue with reckless disregard toward that service dog. Any interference, obstruction or intimidation of a service dog is considered a violation of state law, punishable by a magistrate courts maximum fines and imprisonment. Intentional injury to, disablement of or the death of a service dog is punishable with a fine of up to $2500 and/or a prison term up to 6 months.

Finally, service dog certification is strongly encouraged to not only stay in compliance with all the rules and regulations governing the use of a service dog in South Carolina, but also to insure this animal is utilized to its fullest extent by the disabled individual in their everyday life.

Service Dog Laws in Rhode Island

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As part of the service dog laws in Rhode Island, two definitions stand out as to what constitutes a service animal (dog) as acknowledged in section 40-9.1-1.1 of the state’s constitution. The first meaning is that of a “personal assistance animal”. A personal assistance animal is a dog that has been or is being trained as a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog. “Service dog” means a dog that has been or is being specially trained to aid a particular disabled person with a disability other than sight or hearing. Both of these descriptions include training as a requirement and in the case of the service dog, “special” training is a mandated. While service dog certification is not required by law in Rhode Island, the training it provides will more than satisfy the states instruction prerequisite.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

The service dog laws in Rhode Island entitles disabled individuals accompanied by a service dog full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges on any public conveyance operated on land, water or in the air. This law includes but is not limited to: taxis, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, street cars and boats. It also includes all educational institutions and places of public resort, accommodation, assemblage and amusement. Locations such as these include hotels, lodging places, restaurants and theaters. Service dog certification training would also serve you and your service dog well, as it pertains to the concentration of training provided which relates to the canines behavior in public places. Housing is also covered in the service dog laws in Rhode Island in terms of the purchase or leasing of an apartment or home. However, occupied, single family residences are excluded.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

Section 40-9.1-3 of the Rhode Island state code, calls for the awarding of financial judgments in civil actions involving service dogs. This includes payment for damages and court and attorney fees to anyone discriminating against a service animal. Physical interference or abuse is also forbidden. Both of these offenses are misdemeanors punishable by a fine of not less than $100, 6 months in a county jail or both.

No additional fees or charges are ever allowed in conjunction with the admittance of a service dog to public venues or housing. The service dog’s disabled handler is required to maintain complete control of the canine and failure to do so will result in the owner being liable for the dog’s actions. Service dog certification allows for the best means to handle the pup in public.

Service Dog Laws in Oregon

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As defined by the service dog laws in Oregon, Section 346.680, an assistance animal is any animal trained to assist a person with a physical impairment in one or more daily life activities, including but not limited to: dog guides, hearing ear dogs, an animal trained to pull a wheelchair; an animal trained to fetch dropped items; and an animal trained to perform balance work. “Daily life activity” includes but is not limited to: self-care, ambulation; communication; or transportation. One may want to consider service dog certification training as a means to instruct a service dog in the applicable daily life activity that pertains to the disabled owner.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

The service dog laws in Oregon allows for the presence of a service dog, accompanied by its disabled handler in all public accommodations. Public accommodations include but are not limited to educational institutions, airlines and restaurants. Although not specifically listed, other public locations normally covered by this statute would be hotels and motels, retail stores and movie theatres. Besides airlines, transportation would include buses and taxis as well. Mode of transportation means any mode of transportation operated within the state. The service dog owner is liable for any damages, accidental or otherwise caused by the canine. Service dog certification insures your canines’ best behavior when utilizing these public venues.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

A landlord may not refuse to rent a dwelling unit to a person with a physical impairment on the basis of the persons use or possession of an assistance animal. A person with a physical impairment has a cause of action to recover compensatory damages or $200, whichever is greater, from any landlord that refuses to rent a dwelling unit or who charges additional rent on the basis of the persons use or possession of an assistance animal. The theft of or attack on a service dog will result in the charging of a Class C misdemeanor and if this offense results in the death of the canine, the offending party is responsible for economic damages and may face a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed 60 days or both.

LICENSING LAWS & ACCREDITATION

The service dog laws in Oregon mandate every person keeping a dog that has a set of permanent canine teeth or is six months old, whichever comes first, shall procure a license for the dog. However, an assistance animal is exempt from this licensing requirement. Service dog certification accreditation will serve as proof of the dog’s exemption under this law.

Service Dog Laws in Oklahoma

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The service dog laws in Oklahoma are held under the auspices of the State Attorney General’s office and the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission. Both of these offices are located in OKC.  The statutes we will be discussing in this article are for reference only and not intended to be used as a basis for legal action. The laws will sometimes be paraphrased due to space issues.   As you review this information you will discover service dog certification can be a useful resource for both complying with these rules and receiving the best possible aid from the dog.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

As per the service dog laws in Oklahoma, a disabled individual accompanied by a service dog shall not be denied admittance to, or refused access to, any of the following because of such dog: streets, highways, walkways, common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains,  motor buses, streetcars,  boats or any other mode of public transportation. Hotels, motels and any place of lodging are included as well. Additionally, restaurants, bars and all places where food or beverage is offered for sale to the public, as well as retail and wholesale outlets too. Virtually all places of public accommodation, amusement, convenience or resort, to which the general public is normally invited are covered by this state of Oklahoma proclamation. The owner of the canine shall never be required to pay an additional charge for his or her service dog but is, in fact, liable for any damages done to the premises by such dog. Leased housing is also covered by the service dog laws in Oklahoma within statute 41-113.1 which states: “A landlord shall not deny or terminate a tenancy to a blind, deaf or physically handicapped person because of the guide, signal or service dog of such person UNLESS such dogs are specifically prohibited in the rental agreement entered into prior to 11/01/85.    Service dog certification training will enable you to show proof of the dogs’ relevancy with a leasing agent as well as in public venues, although this accreditation is not required by law.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

Failure by any person, firm, corporation or their agent who violates the right of entry to a disabled individual and their service dog is guilty of a misdemeanor as set forth in Section 19.2 of the service dog laws in Oklahoma. Further, the harming, mistreatment or killing of a service animal is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or up to one year in the county jail.

It is once again suggested service dog certification be considered to utilize your assistance canine at an optimum level, while complying with all Oklahoma state laws in this regard.

Service Dog Laws in North Dakota

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The service dog laws in North Dakota are controlled by the office of the Attorney General located in Bismarck.  The state offers a very clear definition of what constitutes a service dog, as well as, other assistance animals that are NOT included within this classification. It should be noted; this article will deal in legal generalizations and may, at times, paraphrase certain edicts. This document should never be used as the grounds for a lawsuit. See a lawyer for legal advice. Service dog certification is not required by law, but with the following definition in mind it should be considered as the means for adhering to the law in a preeminent manner. Section 25-13-01.1 of the service dog laws in North Dakota has this definition of a service dog: “Assistance dog includes a dog that has been specifically trained to aid an individual with a disability.” It includes seeing and hearing dogs, plus any other disabled person requiring aid. “The term does not include a dog that is not trained to mitigate an individual’s disability, but the presence of which is to provide for the comfort, protection or personal defense of an individual.” In other words, therapy dogs and guard dogs are not recognized as service dogs in North Dakota and therefore are not included in the rules and regulations cited in this article. ”Service dogs” includes dogs provided to perform a variety of physical tasks, including pulling a wheelchair, lending balance support, retrieving dropped objects and aiding in a medical crisis. Service dog certification instruction’s main goal is to train canines to accomplish these tasks.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

Section 25-13-02 of the service dog laws in North Dakota states: “Any individual with a disability is entitled to be accompanied by an assistance dog in places of public accommodation, common carriers, facilities of a health care provider and all places the general public is invited.” No additional fee may be charged and the owner of the service dog is liable for any damages.   Once again, service dog certification is recommended to insure your dog’s best public behavior. Housing and employment laws allowing for the presence of a service dog are also covered by North Dakota state law, even where a “no pets” policy would normally be enforced.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

Any person who denies or interferes with the admittance to, or enjoyment of a public place due solely to the presence of a service dog shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor in North Dakota.

Service Dog Laws in New Hampshire

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Following, you will find a synopsis of the service dog laws in New Hampshire. This is a partial listing of the rules and regulations used by the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights. Chapter 167-D titled “Hearing Ear Dogs, Guide Dogs, Service Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs” sets the standards for an assistance dog in the state. These laws exclude psychiatric service dogs and do not apply to owner trained dogs. It is therefore advised that service dog certification training be secured to satisfy the state of New Hampshire’s legal definition. It is further required that a service dog has special identification and a license. It also forbids “fake” service dogs with this offense punishable as a misdemeanor crime upon conviction.

ASSISTED LIVING LAWS

The service dog laws in New Hampshire offers an extensive list of public accommodations where a disabled individual accompanied by a service dog must be allowed entry. Some of these locations are “any tavern roadhouse, motel, hotel, trailer camp whether for entertainment of transient guests or accommodation of those seeking health, recreation or rest; any producer, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retail shop, store establishment or concession dealing with goods and services of any kind; any restaurant, eating house or place where food is sold for consumption on the premises”. It goes on to name all public conveyances (transportation) whether operated on land, water or in the air. Additionally, it cites all public educational institutions including libraries, as well as all areas of amusement such as theatres. Private clubs are identified within Chapter 167-D: 2 as institutions, bona fide clubs, or place of accommodation which is in its nature distinctly private, nor shall these laws apply to any educational facility operated or maintained by a bona fide religious or sectarian institution. When dealing with the public and their collective acceptance of your service canine, service dog certification will insure the dog’s optimum behavior is exhibited, vital to them being welcomed.

ILLEGAL INTERVENTION LAWS

As per the service dog laws in New Hampshire, it is unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly either to hinder, inhibit or interfere with a disabled person and their service dog who otherwise complies with the limitations applicable to all other persons. Anyone violating these people’s rights will be guilty of a simple misdemeanor. Any person that attempts to do physical harm to a service dog will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. While it is obvious that owners of service dogs would prefer to avoid any confrontations, service dog certification instruction lends itself well in the prevention of such issues.