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What if a patron brings in a service animal into your business?

California business owners understand there are various regulations they must follow regarding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The intent of the ADA is to protect the rights of disabled individuals who need certain accommodations while in public. One of these accommodations may include the use of a service dog. 

Some individuals have disabilities that may require additional support, and you may have a patron who needs to use a service dog for various reasons. You may not want an animal in your place of business or understand your role in ensuring reasonable accommodations, but you may find it beneficial to seek help regarding this matter. Business owners do not have to navigate complex ADA-related issues alone.

Rules, regulations and allowing service dogs at work

There are various types of conditions and needs that may require the assistance of a service animal. From severe allergies to vision problems to PTSD support, animals can be a good way for certain individuals to live relatively normal lives. When it comes to an animal coming into your business, it may be helpful for you to understand the following information about the ADA:

  • The ADA requires that any animals used in a support role remain on a leash or be controlled by the owner through voice commands and other signals.
  • When asking about a service animal, owners and staff can only ask if the animal is for service purposes and what type of services it provides.
  • The allergies and fears of others are not sufficient to keep a service animal from entering your business.
  • If the animal is out of control or is clearly not appropriately housebroken, you can ask the person to remove the animal.

It can be complex and confusing to navigate ADA matters, especially when it comes to whether or not you have to allow an animal in to your place of business.

Shielding your business from complications

Failure to allow disabled individuals to bring service animals into your business can lead to complications and potential lawsuits. You would be wise to understand both your rights as the business owner and your obligation to certain patrons. A complete evaluation of your business and your specific concerns can help you understand how to proceed. 

The ADA protects the rights and interests of certain individuals, and as a business owner, it would benefit you to take measures to understand what this means for your everyday operations.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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