Differences Between Service, Therapy, and Emotional Support Dogs

With so much publicity around the announcement from the Publix grocery chain that dogs – of any kinds or purpose – are not allowed in their shopping carts, and the policy change by American Airlines about which support animals are allowed on flights, it reminded me of this article from Animal Planet about what animals are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Act dictates that dogs (and not miniature horses) that otherwise wouldn’t be permitted in areas, are allowed if they perform a specific task to assist their owner. Notably the act does not extend the same protections to Emotional Support, or Therapy Dogs. The latter two groups may be allowed based on statues passed by individual states, or by individual businesses, but they are not Federally mandated to do so.

It is important to protect access to public spaces to everyone, provided there is a balance that the accommodation to one party doesn’t adversely impede the access others are permitted. For example, an emotional support dog being allowed in a bookstore should be okay provided that the dog is performing its duties, and is not running around, causing problems or being noisy and negatively impacting the enjoyment of the bookstore for other patrons. In the case of a mis-behaving therapy or emotional support dog, the manager would be within their purview to ask the person to leave.

For example, read this interesting article from The Washington Post: Dogs In Grocery Stores: Therapy For Some, Annoyance For Others.

It is important to note that this access is provided as a courtesy by the manager rather than out of an obligation to adhere to the ADA.

The most important part of dog ownership, whether working or pet, is personal responsibility. Ensuring that when out in public, that your dog is well-behaved. Check out the 5 Essential Commands from Caesar Millan.

This is a list of 33 dog friendly stores, compiled by BarkPost, where our canine friends are welcome! There are lots of super-cute pictures of dogs out shopping!

Remember, cars get hot when they are in the sun, so, if you can’t bring your dog into a store, its probably best to leave them at home!

 

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