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Following is an example of reasonable rules that associations may adopt regarding service animals. Associations can adopt rules requiring service animals:

  • be trained to perform tasks to mitigate the effects of its owner's disability,
  • be clean and free of foul odor whenever in the common areas,
  • not urinate or defecate in inappropriate locations,
  • not create a nuisance by unnecessary barking or whining,
  • not show aggression toward people or other animals,
  • obey the commands of its owner,
  • work calmly and quietly on a harness, leash or other tether,
  • be able to lie quietly beside its owner without blocking aisles, and doorways,
  • stay within 24" of its owner at all times unless the nature of a trained task requires it to be working at a greater distance.

Do service animals have to be on a leash?  According to U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, the ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. In most instances, the handler will be the individual with a disability or a third party who accompanies the individual with a disability. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may use a long, retractable leash to allow her service animal to pick up or retrieve items. She may not allow the dog to wander away from her and must maintain control of the dog, even if it is retrieving an item at a distance from her. Or, a returning veteran who has PTSD and has great difficulty entering unfamiliar spaces may have a dog that is trained to enter a space, check to see that no threats are there, and come back and signal that it is safe to enter. The dog must be off leash to do its job, but may be leashed at other times. Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.

Additional Information. See "Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA."

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Adams Stirling PLC