Legal_Memo_-_2016_ADA_Service_Animals_Revised.doc -...

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Informational Legal Memo TO: Indiana Public Libraries FROM: Bei-Er Cheok (Legal Extern, Maurer School of Law) RE: ADA & Service Animals DATE: May 20, 2016 On September 15, 2010, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published the revised final regulations for both Title II (public entities, i.e. State and local government services) and Title III (public accommodations) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the new 2010 ADA rules, the DOJ has strictly limited the definition of service animal to “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.” 28 C.F.R. § 35.104 (2016). The DOJ additionally insists that the tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability, which includes assisting blind or vision-impaired individuals with navigation, notifying deaf or hard of hearing of people around them, or assisting in pulling a wheelchair. Id. The DOJ has specifically stated that “[t]he provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do[es] not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” Id . To preserve individual privacy, however, the DOJ has also placed strict limitations on any ADA-covered entity’s staff when determining whether the animal is a service animal or not. Under the new policies, there are only two questions that staff may be allowed to ask when it is not obvious what service the animal provides: (1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a Page 1 of 4
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Informational Legal Memo disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. 28 C.F.R. § 35.136(f) (2016). If it is “readily apparent” that the animal is trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities ( e.g.
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  • Spring '15
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, DOJ, service animal

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