Tasha (1) & Tasha 2.0
Taking A Service Dog On Your Vacation
For almost three decades I have been traveling with a Service Dog, in fact, I can’t leave my home without one. Tasha (1), a beautiful Buff, American Cocker Spaniel, has accompanied me around the world. More than 200 trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, as well as 47 Disney Cruises. In addition, we have made countless trips to all four corners of the globe including a World Cruise onboard Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. Today I travel with Tasha 2.0, a beautiful Chocolate American Cocker Spaniel. Our journey together is just beginning, we’d like to help you with yours!
There is no reason you can’t travel. Whether you want to visit your family across the US or go anywhere else in the world, you can! Proper planning is required but not unobtainable! Just as you need proper documentation, so does your service dog, and we can help! We will guide you through obtaining a “Pet Passport” for your traveling companion. Now we are not saying it won’t be easy, many countries have a myriad of rules and regulations, and they are all subject to change, but we have the resources and knowledge to assist.
Traveling internationally with your pet? Planning in advance of traveling with a pet is key to avoiding problems when entering a country. Pet import rules are specific to each country worldwide, and pet owners need to be familiar with these rules before traveling to address pet quarantine in countries that require it. Pet owners should create a pet passport which is a collection of all identifying and required documents for entering a given country. Familiarity with pet import rules will help make traveling with a pet safer and more enjoyable.
United States Americans with Disabilities Act
Within the United States, the Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).
Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
Some State and local laws also define service animals more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.
Where Service Animals Are Allowed
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital, it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Service Animals Must Be Under Control
Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (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. Staff cannot 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.
Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.