Public Access Rights

To fully participate in all elements of life, those using trained Service Dogs are recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as having special rights of access to public areas.

Your rights include:

  • You have a right to privacy about your specific disability. By law, businesses can only ask if your dog is a service dog, and if so, what service the dog provides. All you need to disclose is that your dog is a service dog who is providing medical alert.
  • You and your Service Dog have a legal right of access to public accommodations. This includes access to all businesses (restaurants, stores, theatres) and public transportation (buses, taxis), etc. Denial of access to you and your properly-controlled dog is considered discrimination and is subject to penalties under the ADA.

At NICST our client training addresses potential interactions with the public in order for clients to understand their rights and to educate the public on how to treat their Service Dogs.

Please Help the Public Understand

  • To ask before touching or interacting with your Service Dog. These dogs are working at all times, so they should not be distracted without your permission.
  • Do not attempt to feed, tease, or distract your Service Dog. While offering a treat or play may seem innocent, these dogs are fed a specific diet and are working to alert you. Any unwelcome distraction may upset the dog and cause severe consequences.
  • Keep their pet dog leashed and under strict control around your Service Dog. While most interactions between pets and assistance dogs are non-eventful, there have been instances of pets becoming aggressive and harming these working dogs. Assistance dogs are selected for their non-aggressive behaviors and will not defend themselves, and their injuries could subject the pet owner to civil and criminal penalties. Again, to protect everyone’s well-being, ask before introducing your pet to a Service Dog.

Additional resources & information:

Workplace Accommodations

Can your Service Dog go to work with me?

Yes! But that may require you to request a workplace accommodation. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), persons with disabling conditions, including diabetes, can request various types of accommodations to help them manage their disease in the workplace.

Early on in our client training, NICST addresses workplace accommodations. The following are provided as part of this lesson module:

Additional resources & information:

School Accomodations

Can a Service Dog accompany your child to school? Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, schools are prohibited from discriminating against students with disabilities.

In our training of school-age clients and their parents, NICST helps them understand their rights and the steps to take to apply for accommodations. The following are provided as part of this lesson module:

Additional Information & Resources:

Housing Rights

Can your Service Dog live with you?

Yes! The Fair Housing Act of 1988 protects against discrimination on the basis of disability, requiring owners of housing facilities to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a “no pets” policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow you to keep your Service Dog in your home.

The U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development enforces provisions of the Fair Housing Act. In California, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing assists in the resolution of housing discrimination issues.

We have provided these resources for informational purposes and advise you to direct any questions regarding your rights under law to an attorney.