To determine if an animal is a service animal, you may ask two questions:
1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
You may not ask these questions if the need for the service animal is obvious. Examples include when a dog is guiding an individual who is blind or is pulling a person’s wheelchair. You also may not:
- ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability
- require proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal
- require the animal to wear an identifying vest or tag
- ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the task or work
Under the ADA, it is the training that distinguishes a service animal from other animals. Some service animals are professionally trained; others are trained by their owners. However, the task that the service animal is trained to do must be directly related to the owner’s disability.
Service animals in-training are not specifically addressed in the ADA. However, some state laws may afford service animals in-training the same protections as service animals that have completed their training.