Service Dog Law in Arkansas
For individuals with disabilities, a service dog in Arkansas can be important in providing assistance and support to help them navigate daily life. In the state of Arkansas, there are laws in place to protect the rights of service dog owners and ensure that their animals are allowed to accompany them in public spaces.
What is a Service Dog in Arkansas?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog in Arkansas is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. These tasks can include things like guiding individuals who are blind, alerting individuals who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, and alerting an individual with epilepsy to an impending seizure, among others.
Service Dog in Arkansas Access Rights
In the state of Arkansas, individuals with disabilities who use service dogs are afforded certain legal rights. These rights include:
- The right to be accompanied by a service dog in all public spaces, including restaurants, hotels, stores, and public transportation. 
- The right to have their service dog with them in housing, even if the housing has a no-pets policy. 
- The right to have their service dog with them in the workplace, if the dog is necessary for them to perform their job duties. 
It’s important to note that these rights only apply to individuals with disabilities who use a service dog in Arkansas. Emotional support animals and therapy animals do not have the same legal protections.
Registering a Service Dogs in Arkansas
Unlike some states, there is no official registry for service dogs in Arkansas, and service dog certificates are not a formal requirement. Any service dog registry claiming to be government-operated or sanctioned is false information. Business operators and government officials cannot legally require proof of registration, training, or licensing as a condition to enter their establishment where the public is invited.
The only two questions that are permissible for you to be asked about your service dog are:
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What task has the animal been trained to perform?
Once you confirm the above, businesses must make reasonable accommodations. Unfortunately, many businesses that interact with the public are unfamiliar with the laws surrounding service animals and insist on receiving proof of service dog registration.
For convenience and to ensure proper access as intended by the ADA, many service dog handlers choose to voluntarily register their dogs as service dogs and carry a digital ID card and/or certificate with them, or use physical markers such as a collar, bandana, or ID tag. This can prevent uncomfortable situations or confusion when interacting with staff at public establishments.
Service Dog in Arkansas Training Requirements
There are no specific training requirements for service dogs in Arkansas. However, under the ADA, service dogs must be individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate their handler’s disability. This means that the dog must be trained to perform a specific task that helps their handler with their disability, such as retrieving dropped items for someone with mobility issues.
Penalties for Interfering with Service Dogs in Arkansas
Interfering with a service dog or their handler is a crime in Arkansas. Anyone who intentionally interferes with the use of a service dog by harassment, intimidation, or physical force can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the offense. Additionally, anyone who injures or kills a service dog can be charged with a felony. 
Service dogs are an important tool for individuals with disabilities, providing them with the assistance and support they need to navigate daily life. In Arkansas, there are laws in place to protect the rights of service dog owners and ensure that their animals are allowed to accompany them in public spaces. If you are an individual with a disability who uses a service dog, it’s important to to understand your legal rights and advocate for yourself if those rights are ever violated.
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable Service Dog or ESA Identification and Certification.