A service dog in Florida is a dog that has been trained to perform a specific task to help their handlers with a disability. A service dog in Florida is intended to improve the quality of life of their handlers, and allow them to function independently. The ADA defines a service dog as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. In the State of Florida, private businesses and non-profits that serve the public have a legal requirement (under federal law) to allow service dogs to accompany their handlers in all areas where the public is permitted.
Service Dog in Flordia Definition
Under Florida state law, a service animal is defined as: an animal that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
There is no specific requirement for the type of work or task, however, they must be directly related to the individual’s disability and may include. Tasks can be physical or psychological. Some examples of physical tasks include:
- guiding an individual who is visually impaired or blind
- alerting an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing
- pulling a wheelchair,
- alerting and protecting an individual who is having a seizure,
- retrieving objects,
Some examples of psychological or emotional tasks include:
- helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors
- calming an individual with PTSD
- providing companionship to those suffering from depression
Registering and Certifying Your Service Dog in Florida
There is no official registry for a service dog in Florida and service dog certificates are not a formal requirement. Any service dog registry claiming to be government operated or sanctioned is simply 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 permitted.
The only two questions that are permissible for you to be asked about your service dog in Florida 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.
Why Register as a Service Dog in Florida?
Although not required under state or federal law, registering your dog as a service is dog in Florida has many positive benefits. Unfortunately, many businesses that interact with the public are unfamiliar with the laws surrounding service animals or are skeptical of fraudulent service dogs in Florida and insist on receiving physical proof of service dog registration.
As a matter of 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. This can prevent uncomfortable situations or confusion when interacting with staff at public establishments.
Living With Your Service Dog in Florida
A Service dog in Florida is not considered to be pets, and are afforded significant access rights in all realms of public space. Florida laws also specifically allow for service dogs in training to have the same access rights as fully trained service dogs
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable Service Dog Identification and Certification.