Service animals are trained to mitigate an individual's disability by performing such tasks as retrieving, leading, pulling, providing balance or alerting. They are also trained to follow basic obedience commands such as sit/down, stay, come/here, heel, fetch, and leave it, as well as to exhibit exceptional behavior in public settings.
There are also service animals that serve individuals with medical or psychological conditions such as seizures, potentially dangerous changes in blood sugar levels, an incipient manic episode, anxiety, or a panic attack. For persons battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, services animals can interrupt flashbacks and nightmares and reduce anxiety and stress.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses, non-profits, and government entities that serve the public grant access to service animal teams in all areas the public is allowed. Additional fees cannot be imposed.
An individual with a service animal can be asked two questions: Is that a service dog, and... what task or tasks does the dog perform for you? Inquiries into a person's disability cannot be made, nor can the owner/handler be required to have his dog perform a task for which it has been trained.
Businesses have been known to inform service dog owner/handlers that local health department code requires only seeing eye guide dogs be granted access. This is not true. The business owner is committing a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which supersedes local and state regulation.
Providers of transportation services may fear that admitting a dog into a taxi cab, bus, subway, train, or airport could be detrimental to business. ADA legislation and the Code of Federal Regulation (49 CFR Parts 27, 37 & 38) address the provision of transportation services to persons with disabilities which requires all transportation entities, public and private, to provide service to a person accompanied by a service animal.If you and your service dog are denied access to a state, local, or federal government facility, park, any mode of public transportation, or a business or non-profit organization that serves the public, call, or request that your local law enforcement agency be called. Insist the officer file a formal report. Ask when the report will be available and get a copy. File a complaint with both the Office of the Attorney General in your state and the United States Department of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) division. Many states impose criminal fines in addition to Federal penalties for denying access to a service dog team. In Florida, "violators face possible incarceration and criminal fines. They are also subject to civil penalties for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and other tangible injuries, as well as punitive damages of up to $100,000."