How to travel with your service or emotional support animal
For many, travelling without their service animals or emotional support animal is not an option. However, in many cases, the concern and fear of being denied access is enough to keep some from traveling with their animal.
- There is no certification, registration, or official license for a service animal. A service animal is a dog or a miniature horse that is individually trained to assist a person with a disability. Since there are many different types of disabilities and tasks that a service animal may do, there are no generally recognized license for a “service animal”.
- An emotional support animal is not a service animal. An emotional support animal is any animal that lessens the effects of a psychological disability. Any mammal, reptile, fish, or bird can be an emotional support animal.
- A dog that is specifically trained to do tasks for a person with a psychiatric disability is a service dog.
- Service Animals are generally allowed in public accommodations or governmental facilities; however, public accommodations and governmental facilities are not required to permit emotional support animals admission into their facilities.
- When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Two questions may be asked: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
- A business may not ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task
- While there is no official standards for training of service animals, Assistance Dogs International, a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations, has developed suggested standards for the type of obedience and specialized training recommended for service animals.
The Goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act is “to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency” for individuals with disabilities. The right to travel with one’s service animal is critical to achieving these goals.