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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New DOJ Advisory: Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

From MassPAC

via the Federation for Children with Special Needs

August 4, 2015

On July 20, the Department of Justice released an advisory entitled, Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The advisory notes:

"Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in every­day life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabili­ties, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alert­ing a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.

The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Ameri­cans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle.

Accordingly, entities that have a “no pets” policy gener­ally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities.

This publication pro­vides guidance on the ADA’s service animal provisions and should be read in conjunction with the publication, ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals."

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