Laws Relating to Service Dogs

In the United States, Service Dogs are “covered” by two, sometimes three, sets of laws. Federal, state, and (sometimes) local. Just keep in mind that it is YOU, the person with the disability that have the rights, not the dog/animal itself. YOU have the right to have a service animal with you as long as you and the animal meet certain criteria.

There are three main federal laws that cover service animals: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Each law covers different sectors of the public and each have different criteria and expectations. See the Federal Laws page for more information on each of these laws and how to find out more.

These federal laws almost always carry more weight than the state laws. However, some states offer different and better protections such as punishment for harming a Service Dog and accommodating a Service Dog In-Training (neither of which are covered in the three main laws mentioned above). You can expect the same access across the US. It is always good to know the laws in the state where you live though so you know your full rights. If you are traveling with your SDIT, it is also good to plan ahead and know if your dog will be considered a pet or a SD. You can find links and information on our State Laws page.

This site focuses primarily on Southern SDs and we are not opposed to Western Dawgs or even them poor wet Dawgs of the Northwest. Heck, we even like them Nawthern Dawgs! But state SD laws are hard to keep track of. We will primarily list the Southern states and try to maintain those. If we keep a grip on that, we may expand to neighboring states. At the least, we will provide links to other websites that do a much better job of keeping track of such stuff than we will ever be.

Local laws would be impossible to maintain here. Instead, we can assist you in finding out how to find them yourself. You can find this information on our Regional Laws page.

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