Service Animals

A service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is defined as: "Dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with dis­abilities." National Park Service Policy Memorandum 18-02 specifically includes physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, and other mental disabililties. Service animals-in-training are not considered service animals.

Under the ADA, National Park Service policy, and park regulations, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless (1) these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or (2) the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In those cases, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective means. Service animals must also be housebroken.

The ADA also states that therapy or emotional support dogs are not considered service animals and therefore are not permitted in the cavern.

Leashed service dogs are allowed on all paved roads, pullouts, parking and picnic areas, along Walnut Canyon Desert Drive (Loop Road), on the paved Nature Trail, and at Rattlesnake Springs. Service animals are also allowed inside the cave on the King's Palace Trail, Big Room, Natural Entrance Trail, and Bat Flight Amphitheater.

Service animals are not allowed on off-trail cave tours due to the close proximity of safety caution tape on trails that mark deep drop-offs and protect park resources. In addition to resource protection, most service animals have not been trained to climb ladders, use ropes, and belly crawl. Off-trail tours where service dogs are not permitted: Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, Hall of the White Giant, Spider Cave, and Slaughter Canyon Cave.

More information is available at:

National Park Service Policy Memorandum 18-02
ADA Service Animals Publication
ADA Service Animals Questions and Answers

 

Last updated: October 18, 2018

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Carlsbad, NM 88220

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