Recently a client I was working with experienced major frustration when a local hospital tried to restrict her from having her service dog with her in her hospital room and questioned the legitimacy of her dog being a service dog. My client actually had paperwork and a identification number that her service animal was registered through The United States Service Dog Registry and was ultimately not given any more problems from the hospital staff.
This got me thinking about these types of registries and if they were legitimate or even necessary under the ADA.
Interestingly enough, if you look at the bottom of the main page of The United States Service Dog Registry website- you can see a disclaimer stating the following:
“We do not certify or authorize anyone to use a Service Animal – nor is certification required by law. The privilege to use a Service or Assistance Animal is granted, under the law, by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local governments.”
While the registration through this particular site is free, and appears harmless if a person with a service dog chooses to register their animal- I wanted to learn more about the actual guidelines regarding this.
According to the American with Disabilities Act Website – and the Department of Justice- you are not mandated to register your service dog, but they do state that the animals must be vaccinated and have state licensure as per the guidelines for all pets in your particular state.
See the screenshot below:
It is clear that there is just simply a lack of education in the healthcare community and likely on a national level regarding the laws for service animals and there is more freedom for individuals with disabilities to have service dogs than many likely realize.
However human nature, is human nature. People still like certifications, they still like registries and proof.
My thoughts are – if a registration ID that is free causes less of a hassle for a disabled individual- then get it. But I think it is important for individuals with disabilities to know their rights if questioned.
Service dog owners! Know your ADA Guidelines!