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How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog in Arizona
A service dog provides invaluable assistance to a handler with disabilities by completing specific tasks it was trained for. Owners lead more independent lives, have easier access to places, and may move about with greater confidence, knowing that their trained service animal is there to assist them.
Many tasks that non-disabled people take for granted may simply be out of reach for some disabled individuals, such as picking up dropped objects, safely crossing a city street, or opening a door or elevator.
Service dogs are not pets – at least not in the way that many people think of a pet. The tasks a service animal performs aren’t tricks but rather life-enhancing and sometimes life-saving duties. These are working dogs trained to complete specific tasks and respond to both verbal and non-verbal cues their owners give.
The primary role of a service dog varies; depending on their handlers’ needs, their tasks are different. But in all cases, the service dog is intended to provide assistance for physical or psychological health issues their handler might experience daily.
Service animals are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). They are afforded more access than regular pets or even emotional support animals. In Arizona, service dogs are permitted in the workplace, restaurants, hotels, and airplane cabins.
Disability as Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA offers many protections for individuals with a disability. The term disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Discrimination against people with disabilities was much more common before the passage of the ADA, including limited access to public places or public transportation, refusal of service in a restaurant or store, lower pay in the workplace, and discrimination in the hiring process.
The ADA guarantees people with disabilities freedom from discrimination in the workplace, and business places. Furthermore, the ADA ensures reasonable accommodations in stores, at work, and when traveling. Reasonable accommodations could include installing wheelchair ramps in stores and restaurants, providing software that translates text to speech, and allowing a trained service animal to accompany the owner to help them complete specific tasks.
The ADA’s Definition of Service Animals
The ADA defines a service dog as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” The ADA protects those with both physical and mental or emotional disabilities.
The ADA only legally protects service dogs, explicitly prohibiting any other species of animal, from federal protection.
A service dog is selected for its intelligence, trainability, and temperament. Not every dog is capable of being a service dog, and every service dog will be trained to perform one or more specific tasks. Service dogs are commonly trained to:
- guide blind or visually impaired people
- alert a deaf handler to certain sounds or danger
- provide non-violent protection
- retrieve dropped items
- pull a wheelchair
- detect the presence of certain allergens, and alert their highly sensitive handler
- provide support with stability or mobility limitations
- clear a room for a handler with PTSD, and provide reassurance during panic attacks
- retrieve medication
These services are vital for the well-being and safety of the handler. Therefore, the service dog is allowed to remain with their handler at all times.
Arizona Service Dog Registration
The state of Arizona does not require a service dog registration, nor is it mandatory for owners to have specific tags or vests identifying the service dog. The only requirement for a service dog handler is to state that the dog is a service dog and name the tasks it is trained to perform.
However, many service dog handlers find it reassuring to have a service dog registration and accompanying ID card. These items make it easier to navigate in public places and instantly show others that you have a working dog that should not be interfered with.
Arizona Law Protects Service Dogs
Arizona law allows accessibility for a service dog anywhere the owner goes, making discrimination against the owner and dog illegal. Furthermore, the service dog’s actions are protected; people may not interfere with or obstruct the dog’s activity when it’s working. In Arizona, it’s a Class 3 misdemeanor to prohibit access for a service dog.
Your Rights as a Service Dog Handler
Your freedom and rights for employment, housing, and access to public places as a disabled person are guaranteed by the ADA. These civil rights cannot be taken away or restricted, and you are entitled to reasonable accommodation.
Such accommodation includes your service animal, and your word that the dog is a legitimate working animal is enough to grant you and your service dog access to all public places. You do not need to present a service dog certification to exercise your rights.
Although Arizona does not require service dog accessories, most handlers find it easier to provide their dog with a vest to indicate that it’s working and should not be touched or disturbed.
Many also find that registering their service animal with a reputable organization, such as Service Dog Certifications, helps when questioned about the presence of their animal on the premises.
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Please see this article for some facts you should know about registering service dogs: https://www.servicedogcertifications.org/how-to-register-service-dog/