What Are the Laws in California Regarding Service Dogs?


Quick Answer

According to California law Section 54.2(a), every individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a trained signal, guide or service dog in any establishment that is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the individual is exempt from paying extra fees for the dog.

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Full Answer

Neither a surcharge nor deposit may be imposed on a disabled individual for having a service dog, even if the establishment routinely charges customers who bring animals. Likewise, signs stating “No pets allowed” do not pertain to service dogs — service dogs are not pets, notes the U.S. Department of Justice. As specified by law, service dogs are even permitted to accompany an individual in a private taxi. However, for these terms to apply, the service dog must be certified and trained to the requirements of the disabled individual.

Service dogs can be denied access to or removed from a facility if the dog is exhibiting vicious behavior that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or if the service dog is fundamentally altering the service — for example, if a dog were to start barking during a movie. In addition, the individual is responsible for restitution for any direct property damage caused by the service dog, notes the U.S. Department of Justice.

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