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Distinction Between “Service” And “Emotional Support” Animals

Distinction between “Service” and “Emotional Support” Animals

In our previous article, we discussed that if you are a business owner that provides goods or services to the public, you must comply with the ADA and Illinois law pertaining to accommodation of service dogs.

In some situations it may not be apparent whether a dog is a service or emotional support animal. In such cases, you may ask two questions to help determine whether the dog may be properly permitted into the business:

  1. Is the animal required because of a disability? and
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Although the task of making this initial determination may appear simple, it is not always so in practice. In addition, the answer to subsequent issues that come up once you comply with such accommodation may not be clear in many cases. Such issues involve whether you may charge extra for making the required accommodation; whether you may assign only certain areas of your business to individuals requesting the accommodation; whether you may charge for damages caused by the service animal; and so on.

As a business owner, you should understand the distinction between service and emotional support animals, and your limitations in terms of the type of accommodation and the fees you may charge. The penalties for refusing access to a service animal or violating any part of the law animal can be extreme.

For more information about the law pertaining to accommodation of service dogs in your business or any other business matter, please call our experienced business attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C.

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