What is a Service Animal?
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) determines the regulations guiding service animals. In 2010, the Department of Justice revised and clarified its requirements for service animal public accommodations.
Service animals are:
Any breed and any size of dog
Trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability.
Service animals are not:
Required to be certified or go through a professional training program
Required to wear a vest or other ID that indicates they’re a service dog
Emotional support or comfort dogs/animals, because providing emotional support or comfort is not a task related to a person’s disability
Emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals aren’t service animals. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
If the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, it is not a service animal under the ADA. But if the dog is trained to perform a task related to a person’s disability, it is a service animal under the ADA. For example, if the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, the dog is a service animal. (ADA Website)
Service Animals in Petrified Forest National Park (per National Park Service (NPS) policy):
Service animals must be allowed wherever visitors are allowed when accompanying an individual with a disability.
A service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless (1) these devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or (2) the individual’s disability prevents them from using these devices. In those cases, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective means.
National Park Service staff may require an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from a facility, service, program, or activity if:
the animal is out of control (see 28 CFR 35.136(b)(1) and 28 CFR 36.302(c)(2)(i)) and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it;
or the animal is not housebroken.
If a service animal is excluded for these reasons, the individual with the disability must have the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without the service animal.
Limitations on the Use of Service Animals
With respect to closing areas to the use of service animals under 36 CFR 1.5(a), the NPS will construe 36 CFR 1.5(a) so as to be consistent with section 504. The NPS is not required to modify policies, practices, or procedures to accommodate service animals if such modifications would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public. Additionally, the NPS may impose legitimate requirements necessary for the safe operation of its services, programs, or activities. Therefore, a park may prohibit service animals in an area closed to pets if (1) allowing them would require a fundamental alteration to the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities provided to the public in the area, or (2) the presence of a service animal would jeopardize the safe operation of its services, programs, or activities.
Last updated: July 9, 2023