News & Articles

Service Animal Definition Has Been Updated

Published on December 11, 2011

By Rick Lentini

December 14, 2011
Retail businesses throughout the United States can now more easily determine what qualifies as a service animal. The new Americans with Disabilities Act regulation states that only dogs (and in limited circumstances, miniature horses) qualify as service animals, and they must be “individually trained to do work or perform tasks” that are directly related to an individual’s disability. Psychiatric service dogs are also included in the definition.

The new definition removes emotional support animals that might otherwise provide a person comfort by their presence.

The new definition makes it easier for retailers to identify pets acting as service animals, since nearly all animals other than dogs are excluded. Nevertheless, retailers should exercise tact and respect when denying access.

Rick Lentini is the Chair of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC’s Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group. Rick can be reached at 206.654.2231 or

This message has been created by the Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise you of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

Click Here to Download


Have Questions?

Get in touch today.