Friday, November 22, 2002

service animals in places of business

There's some controversy going on in an Idaho city over a woman who is using a horse as a service guide animal to overcome her blindness and balance and hip problems. City officials are seriously concerned that the horse is getting too close to traffic, and may pose a health risk. They've invoked an old law that prohibits horse riding in the city. Does the law apply to an animal that may be a service guide under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Guidehorse Foundation, which has a considerble amount of information about the use of miniature horses as guide animals, also has a section on Legal Access for Service Animals. There they describe a service animal as follows:
A: 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.
The quote is from their Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business. If you are a shopkeeper, restauranteer, taxi driver, or run some other privately owned business that serves the public, the page is worth a visit.

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