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Service Animals in Food Facilities



Service Animal

Historically, service animals under the ADA were only those that were specifically trained to provide a task or function to an individual with a disability. Recent ADA regulatory changes in March 2011 limited the types of service animals to dogs, and miniature horses in limited cases. All service animals must always be under the control of the person it serves. "Pet dogs" are not considered service animals.

Work or Tasks Performed by a Service Animal

The work or task a service dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Dogs whose only job is to provide comfort, emotional support, well-being, companionship or act as a crime deterrent due to the animal's presence do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Examples of work or tasks are as follows:

  • Guiding people who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks.
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to the presence of people or sounds.
  • Providing nonviolent protection or rescue work.
  • Pulling a wheelchair.
  • Assisting a person during a seizure.
  • Alerting a person to the presence of allergens.
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone.
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.
  • Helping a person with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
  • Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack.
  • Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications.

Food facilities in Sonoma County on private property may legally exclude any animal that is not a service animal as defined above.