As a Small Business Owner, What Do I Need to Know About Service Animals?

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As a Small Business Owner, What Do I Need to Know About Service Animals?

By Melanie Ashford

Published October 13, 2020

Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as dogs who are trained to provide assistance or complete tasks for a person with disabilities. In some cases, miniature horses are also covered. Miniature horses can assist people with disabilities who cannot have a dog, for example, because of an allergy.

Service animals vs. Therapy animals

The ADA has clear guidelines on what constitutes a service animal, instead of a therapy or emotional support animal. If the animal is trained to intercept or alert the owner to the onset of an attack or to perform tasks for the person with disabilities, they are a service animal. These criteria can apply to service animals used for psychiatric disorders, amongst other conditions. However, if the animal is intended for emotional support and comfort only, they are defined as a therapy animal.

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