Definition of A Service Dog in Texas
Service dogs are dogs that have been trained to perform a specific task to help their handlers with a disability. Service dogs are 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 Texas, 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.
Registering your Service dog in Texas
Registering a Service dog in Texas is a simple and straightforward process.
- Identify the right service dog for your disability
- Ensure proper training
- Registering and certifying your service dog
Requirements for a Service Dog in Texas
There is no official registry for service dogs in Texas and service dog certificates are not a formal requirement. Any service dog registry claiming to be government operated or sanctioned is not true. 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.
In fact, Texas state law explicitly states: No person with a disability may be denied admittance to any public facility in the state because of their disability. No person with a disability may be denied the use of a white cane, assistance animal, wheelchair, crutches, or other device of assistance.
Texas is a relatively friendly state when it comes to service dog laws and its state laws provide the following:
- A service animal in training must not be denied admittance to any public facility when accompanied by an approved trainer.
- A person may not assault, harass, interfere with, kill, or injure in any way, or attempt to assault, harass, interfere with, kill, or injure in any way, an assistance animal.
- Any individual or individuals that deny disabled individuals who require the assistance of a service dog access are subject to criminal penalties including fines of up to $300 and 30 hours of community service.
- Disabled individuals who require service dogs cannot be charged extra for their service dog unless the service dog causes damage.
Living With Your Service Dog in Texas
While not a formal requirement, as a matter of convenience and to ensure proper access as intended by the ADA in the State of Texas, many service dog owners 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.
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable Service Dog Identification and Certification.