A Business Owner and a Service Animal – What Are the ADA Expectations?

A Business Owner and a Service Animal – What are the ADA Expectations?

 Why be proactive?   As a business owner, you strive to make your contact with the public an enjoyable and satisfactory  experience – that is what leads to repeat business. Customers have diverse needs and backgrounds; this would include those who bring a service animal into your place of business. A proactive approach in knowing and applying the ADA Guidelines to individuals using a service animal will enhance the experience of patronizing your business for all of your customers.   What are the basics? Basic Guideline: Businesses that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to enter with their service animal Origin of Guideline: ADA Service Animal 4 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that regulates businesses and organizations that serve the public, states that people with disabilities to must be allowed to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.  The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.  

 ADA Serviced Animal 3

   Who can help you meet expectations? The Building Inspector’s Safety Team Can!ADA Service Animal 2 Business Owner Expectations:                 
  • Know the two questions permitted to be asked the owner of a service animal.
  • Know if staff, patron, or client allergies, cleanliness questions, and fear of animal are valid reasons for denying access to services.
  • Know the types of animals that qualify as a service animal.
  • Know if and when a person with a disability can be asked to remove the service animal from the premises (There are times when the answer is “yes.”)
  • Know if and when a person with a disability can be charged a fee for a service animal.
  • Know if and when staff are required to provide food or care for a service animal.
  • Know if and when the service animal is required to wear a tag or vest to identify as a service animal.
  • Know if and when a person with a disability has to provide documentation for a service animal.
  • Know how the ADA, the Fair Housing Act, The Animal Welfare Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act apply to service animals.
  The Building Inspector makes all aspects of ADA compliance understandable for business owners and employees. Knowing the appropriate way to satisfactorily conduct business with a person with a disability who uses a service animal can only gain more repeat business. The Building Inspector offers many services including developing procedural policy and training for owners, management, and staff. Taking a proactive approach and knowing how to properly respond will set your business apart – customers will notice!

 ADA Service Animal 1

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