Service and Support Animals

Service Animals is a self-advocacy packet that explains what animals are protected under the ADA as service animals, the definition of a service animal, where service animals are allowed, the questions someone is allowed to ask regarding a service animal, some of the other laws related to service animals, and answers some frequently asked questions about service animals.  The packet also includes sample letters to a place of public accommodation and to a governmental program or service as well as a step-by-step guide to advocating for a service animal.

Animals & the Fair Housing Act is a self-advocacy packet that explains who is protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the types of housing covered, reasonable accommodations, the difference between service animals and companion animals, when animals are permitted, etc. This packet also provides recommended steps to take to request an animal as a reasonable accommodation and a sample letter.  For more resources regarding assistance with housing, please see our Housing page.

Service Animals at the Doctor’s Office discusses service animals generally and answers questions about dogs in medical settings. This self-advocacy packet also provides examples from other cases regarding service animals in medical settings, a guide to advocating for your service animal, and a sample letter regarding service animals in a healthcare setting.

Government Resources

The U.S. Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, maintains the website, which has a large variety of resources regarding the ADA including technical assistance manuals, business briefs, videos, explanation of physical accessibility requirements, information about ADA enforcement, and other resources. Specific to service animals, the website offers a page of information on the ADA requirements related to service animals: HTM version, PDF version. In July 2015, the US DOJ supplemented its 2011 ADA requirements fact sheet with a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The 2015 UD DOJ document is to be read in conjunction with the 2011 fact sheet. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation-Aviation Consumer Protection provides information to travelers and airlines about travelers with disabilities, including service animals and emotional support animals. It is important to understand that the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), not the ADA, covers most aspects of air travel. The US DOT website provides links to the formal guidance regarding animals under the ACAA as published in the Federal Register and a nearly 200-page technical assistance guide for airline employees and air travelers with disabilities, which includes sections on service and emotional support animals (see sections starting on page 33, 101, and 178).

NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services offers a service animal registration application. Note that North Carolina does not require that service animals be registered as a service animal to be recognized and protected as a service animal.

Other Resources

The ADA National Network provides information, guidance and training on the ADA and consists of ten Regional ADA National Network Centers. The ADA National Network website has information on a variety of topics, including service animals. The regional center that covers North Carolina is the Southeast ADA Center which has a variety of resources and offers technical assistance and referral.

Pet Partners is a non-profit organization that works to help people live healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives. Pet Partners, formerly known as the Delta Society, does not offer service animals but has information and resources for people with disabilities, as well as their friends and family, who are considering getting a service animal or who are currently partnered with a service animal.

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