Legal Question in Disability Law in California

While on patrol can I legally ask someone who claims their dog is a "service dog"? Should the dog wear a tag or some kind of identification? Someone told me that it's illegal to ask that question.

Thanks alot

Asked on 8/25/14, 4:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Service animals are a defined legal term. They and their owners are certified as trained with a state issued certificate on doctors orders. The animal is supposed to be identifiable with a vest or distinctive gear. Many people fabricate a story about their pets to get special treatment reserved and deserved only for certified animals. It is not illegal to ask for proof, which is supposed to be carried with the animal. Anyone refusing probably doesn't have the certificate, or even know the rules. The problem for stores and public facilities is the risks of refusal of service generating a legal claim, legitimate or not. Many facilities will bow to the the access demands rather that risk suit.

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Answered on 8/26/14, 1:33 pm

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