The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) allows service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. Members of the public are generally allowed to go into state and local government offices, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public.
Arizona Revised Statute § 11-1024, cover animals and public accommodation. http://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=http://www.azleg.gov/ars/11/01024.htm
However, the Arizona law is generally the same as the ADA.
Arizona law does allow a trainer or individual with a disability to take an animal being trained as a service animal to a public place for purposes of training.
What Animals are Service Animals
Dogs and miniature horses individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities are service animals. Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.
No other animals are recognized as service animals. This means members of the public are not allowed to bring other animals on public property under these laws.
What Services Must the Animal be able to Perform
A service animal must provide services that are directly related to the individual's disability. Arizona law gives examples of services directly related to the individual’s disability such as alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, and calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack.
Animals that only provide comfort or emotional support are not service animals.
The Individual’s Responsibility
Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
The service animal must be housebroken.
A service animal's handler is responsible for any damage done to a public place by the service animal or service animal in training.
When can Service Animal Access be Denied
Public places can deny access to service animals if:
1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
2. The animal fundamentally alters the nature of the public place or the goods, services or activities provided.
3. The animal poses an undue burden.
4. The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control the animal.
5. The animal is not housebroken.
A general no pets policy cannot be used to deny a working service animal access to a public place.
What can the Public Place Ask
People responsible for managing the public place may ask if the animal is a service animal being used because of a disability and what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform.
The people running the public place cannot ask other questions about the individual’s disability or the service animal.
The person with the service animal does not have to carry any certification papers showing that the animal is a service animal.
Special Rules for Zoos and Wild Animal Parks
The Arizona Service Animal Law explains when a zoo or animal park does not have to allow access to service animals. A zoo or wild animal park can deny access to service animals, including a dog guide or service dog, from any area of the zoo or wild animal park where the service animal may come into direct contact with the animals in the zoo or wild animal park.
The zoo or animal park cannot deny access to service animals from public walkways or sidewalks or from any area that allows for physical barriers between the service animals, dog guides or service dogs and the animals in the zoo or wild animal park. A zoo or wild animal park that excludes dog guides and service dogs must have facilities for the dog guides and service dogs while its handler visits the zoo or animal park. The facilities have to be in an area not accessible to the general public. The zoo or animal park must provide water to the service animal while in the temporary facilities.
The zoo or wild animal park on request by a legally blind person who is required to leave that person's dog guide or service dog must provide a sighted escort if the legally blind person is unaccompanied by a sighted person.
What to do if Your Rights have been Violated
If you believe you are being denied access to a public place ask to speak to a manager of the public place that is currently working. Explain to the manger your animal is a service animal and that you have a right to bring the service animal onto the public place. In most cases, the manger will do the right thing and allow you access to the premises with your service animal.
It is possible that after speaking with the manager of the public place, the manager will not let you bring your service animal onto the premises. If this occurs, you should seek advice from a private attorney that has expertise in disability law.