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When It Says “No Dogs Allowed”

Often times I have encountered businesses where I am greeted by the comment “We do not allow dogs in here Ma’am”.

While I actually appreciate the sentiment (safety and sanitation in a business are great priorities), it would be better to simply be asked the two questions allowed by the ADA, which is federal law.  It is clearly outlined what they can ask, what they must do, and what they are NOT required to do!  There is even an informational page specifically to guide businesses!

A business may ask if the animal is a Service Dog for a person with a disability, and what tasks or work the animal performs.  It is a very simple and actually quite effective method to clearly communicate the compliance of federal law, and the concern that pets are not allowed.  If the answer to the first question is “No”, the business representative can then inform the customer that pets are not allowed.  It is not nearly as rude or startling of an interaction that way.

Service Dog At Grocery Store Counter

Of course, I must mention that there are exceptions to the law allowing Service Dogs to accompany their disabled person.

  1. A dog that is not under the control of it’s owner may be asked to leave.  The person may still receive service, but the animal should be removed.
  2. A dog that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others – such as a dog that lunges at or attempts to bite people, or one that eliminates in the place of business.  Again, the person may still receive service once the dog has been removed.

I like that businesses are attempting to keep their spaces safe and clean, but my goal is to make them more aware of the laws that outline how to do so.  Businesses that are properly prepared with all of the information regarding Service Dog law can avoid expensive and troublesome civil and criminal penalties from disregarding the law – whether it be denying entry wrongly, how to ask an unruly dog be removed, or liability if they allow all dogs in and then someone is bitten.

A Paws Then Play LLC business seminar effectively communicates applicable laws to your employees and explain how to apply the laws regarding service dogs in multiple business scenarios. More importantly than just informing employees on the applicable laws, Lindsay would explain when and how to apply this knowledge safely. Please visit service dog information for businesses or contact Paws Then Play LLC for more information about Service Dog Awareness Education Seminars.