New York Service Dog Laws 2021
Service Dog Laws and the people who use service dogs, are federally governed and protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
Each individual state may also have their own rules and laws around service dogs.
However, someone who uses a service dog can choose whichever laws (federal or state) offer them the most benefit(s). Keep reading to learn more about service dog laws specific to New York state, as well as New York City.
This article will discuss New York service dog laws, including:
- How to get a service dog in NYC
- New York service dog registration information
- How to get a service dog for anxiety in NYC
- Psychiatric service dogs in New York
- Training a service dog in New York
- Service dog-in-training laws in New York
- New York city service dog license
- New York State emotional support animal laws
- The fair housing act regarding emotional support animals in New York
Everyone in New York state is entitled to equal access services, as well as public accommodations, regardless of differing abilities.
Many people in New York depend on a service animal. Without the service animal, they wouldn’t be able to go out into public places and do things that people typically need and want to do.
New York Service Dog Laws – People Living With Disabilities In NY Have Rights
The law protects people who are living with disabilities so that they – together with their service animal – can fully participate in public life.
New York Service Dog Laws – Legal Snapshot
- Public facilities must allow service animals
- Housing providers must allow service animals, even if they have a “no pets” policy in place
- Service animals are not pets
Broad Definition Of A Service Animal In New York
The ADA defines a service animal as any dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks or work, to help a specific person who is living with a disability. The disability could be physical, mental, psychiatric, intellectual, sensory, or another kind of disability.
Service dogs are just one type of working animal, and are not considered pets from a legal – or any other – standpoint. Other types of working dogs include police dogs, military working dogs, detection dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, herding dogs that work with livestock, and there are many other types of working dogs.
Emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are not service dogs. This is a common source of confusion.
What Qualifies A Dog To Be A Service Dog?
Any dog that meets the definition from the ADA is considered a service animal under ADA rules; it doesn’t matter whether the dog has been licensed or certified by a state government, local government, another entity, or not at all. If a dog has been individually trained to perform tasks or work, to help a specific person who is living with a disability, then it’s a service dog.
Yes, that means that people are allowed to train the service dog themselves. And, unfortunately, yes it also means that it is pretty easy for some people to walk around with a ‘fake service dog.’
Some examples of tasks a service animal might perform in order to help a person:
- Helping a person with navigation
- Helping someone with stability and/or balance
- Alerting a person to specific sounds or allergens
- Pulling wheelchairs
- Carrying and retrieving items
- Turning lights on and off
- Seizure assistance or seizure warning
- Interrupting impulsive and/or destructive behaviors
- Diabetes assistance
- + much, much more
New York Service Dog Laws – Where Are Service Animals Allowed In New York?
Under the ADA as well as New York service dog laws, any business or facility that serves the public must not discriminate against people who are living with disabilities.
Examples of businesses that must allow service dogs when accompanied by a person living with a disability:
- Retail stores
- Sports facilities
- Transportation, including taxis and buses
- Basically anywhere the public is regularly invited
New York Service Dog Laws – Responsibilities Of NY Businesses
New York service dog laws indicate that businesses must allow service animals in all of the same areas that general customers and/or the general public is invited into.
For example, in a hospital, a service animal might be allowed in a patient or examination room, because normally people are allowed into those rooms.
However, the service dog can be excluded from sterile environments where the general public is not invited to enter, such as operating rooms.
New York Service Dog Laws – Extra Fees & Deposits For Service Animals
A business in New York must not charge extra fees, deposits, or surcharges for service animals. However, if the service animal causes damage, a fee can be charged as long as it’s also regularly charged to non-disabled people’s pets for similar damages.
New York Service Dog Laws – Care And Supervision Of Service Dogs In NY
A business – or any other public accommodation provider – is not responsible for taking care of a service animal. They are not required to supervise the animal, provide food, nor provide a special location for the service dog.
Anyone who violates these laws can be assessed damages and penalties by the State Division of Human Rights. Or, alternatively by a court of competent jurisdiction.
New York Service Dog Laws – Documentation Is Not Required
A business can not ask personal questions to a person using a service dog.
Public accommodation providers must not:
- Ask about the nature or extent of someone’s disability
- Demand proof or evidence that an animal is certified
If it is not readily apparent that a dog is a service animal, businesses can ask:
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What work has the animal been trained to perform?
Businesses and places of public accommodation must allow service animals, even if they have a “no pets” policy: a service animal is not a pet; it’s a medical assistance device that happens to have paws and be walking and breathing.
Fake Service Dog Certifications – New York Service Dog Laws
There are many online businesses that seem to sell fake service dog certifications. This can include certificates, tags, dog harnesses, and licenses. These things are supposedly to help identify a service dog in exchange for a fee. Be careful and make sure to do your research when considering dealing with these places.
And remember that certification is not required. So perhaps, if somebody is going around showing off their dog tags and certifications, trying to take a dog everywhere with them, it’s possible that that person is a fraud. People living their life with disabilities probably know that certification is optional.
Unfortunately, some fully capable people try to take their dog places with them and say their dog is a service dog.
New York Service Dog Laws – Registration
New York service dog laws do not require registration. Registration and certification of service dogs is simply not required by law. Be aware of online organizations who are selling these items. They hold no legal weight whatsoever.
When Can A Service Dog Be Excluded?
New York service dog laws indicate when a service dog may be refused from a public establishment.
The only time a business can exclude (refuse) a service animal is:
- If the animal is out of control
- If the animal is not housebroken (if it ‘goes to the bathroom’ inappropriately)
- If the animal’s handler does not control it
Allergies to dogs, as well as a fear of dogs, or fearing a certain kind of dog (Pit bull, German Shepherd) are not acceptable reasons for denying access to a service dog and their handler.
New York Service Dog Laws For Dog-In-Training
Under the ADA rules, a service-dog-in-training must already be fully trained before it can go into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.
New York Service Dog Laws – Housing
People living with disabilities are protected under The Fair Housing Act. This Act prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing based on a person’s disability.
The Fair Housing Act requires that a housing provider make “reasonable accommodations” for a person living with a disability so that person can fully use and enjoy the housing.
Part of “reasonable accommodations” means that a housing provider must allow a service dog to live with a person with a disability. It does not matter if there is a “no pets” policy in place, as service dogs are not pets.
New York Service Dog Laws – ADA And Fair Housing Differences
Both the ADA and the Fair Housing Act protect people who are living with physical and mental disabilities. The Fair Housing Act requires that service animals be allowed in housing.
There are some differences between the ADA and the Fair Housing Act in regards to service animal rules.
The differences are:
1. Definition of Service Animal For ADA And Fair Housing Act
The definition of service animals is different. The Fair Housing Act has a broader definition. In other words, animals that provide comfort, or emotional support, qualify as a service animal under the Fair Housing Act. And, any animal may qualify; it’s not limited to dogs.
Under the ADA, animals that provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service dogs, and can therefore be excluded from places where the general public is normally invited to go. The service animal must be a dog.
2. Training Of The Service Dog/Service Animal
Under the ADA, a service dog must be specially trained to do a certain task for a specific person.
For the Fair Housing Act, the animal doesn’t necessarily need to be specially trained as a service animal. It only must:
- Provide physical or emotional support
- Lessen the effects of the person’s disability
- And is necessary for the person to be able to fully enjoy the housing
3. Documentation For Housing
Under the ADA for public accommodations, businesses can not ask to see documentation as it’s not required for service dogs and their handlers.
A housing provider – on the other hand – can require a person to provide documentation of their disability. In addition, the documentation must explain their need for the animal.
For most cases, a letter from a doctor or therapist explaining how the animal helps the individual, would suffice.
New York Service Dog Laws – Local Laws vs Federal ADA
Sometimes, local laws have different – and sometimes more limited – definitions of dogs that work with people. For example, “seeing eye” or “guide dog.” In this limited definition, other types of service dogs may be excluded.
However, businesses must not refuse to admit any of the other types of service dogs due to these local laws. The ADA is enforced on a federal level, and excluding a certain type of service animal may be in violation of the law. This includes local health department regulations.
For example: if a local establishment sells or prepares food, it must allow service dogs into public areas, regardless of a local health code prohibiting animals.
Emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are not service dogs, so these can legally be excluded. A service dog must be individually trained to perform a task(s) for a specific person who is living with a disability.
New York Service Dog Laws – Service Animal Discrimination
If you’ve been discriminated against because of your service animal, you can contact:
- NYS Office of Attorney General
- Civil Rights Bureau
- 28 Liberty Street New York, NY 10005
- (212) 416-8250 (voice)
- (800) 788-9898 (TDD/TTY)
Or, If you have been a victim of discrimination, please call the Commission’s Info line at 212-416-0197 to report it.
How Do I Get A Service Dog In NYC?
There are a few different avenues you could take to getting a service dog in NYC. The following are several organizations that could potentially be a good match for finding or being placed with a service dog, if you’re going that route.
There are more organizations listed near the end of this article.
Getting your service dog is not always easy. Organizations often have long waiting lists (several years). However, it’s much easier when someone else trains the dog for you. But you could also train the dog yourself, or get someone like a dog trainer to help.
Canine Companions For Independence
Canine Companions For Independence was founded in 1975. Their dogs and all follow-up services are provided at no cost to clients.
This organization is best suited for:
- Adults with physical or auditory disabilities
- Children with physical or cognitive disabilities aged 5+
- Adults with physical or cognitive disabilities who require the assistance of a facilitator such as a parent, caregiver or spouse
- Veterans with a physical or auditory disability or post-traumatic stress disorder* (PTSD)
- Professionals working professional in a health care, visitation, criminal justice or education setting
Phone (800) 572-BARK (2275) Toll-free
Freedom Guide Dogs For The Blind
Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Upstate New York, which breeds, raises, trains and places guide dogs with the blind and visually impaired through a distinctive program called hometown training.Hometown training
While the total cost to prepare and train one service dog from puppy to being able to work costs around $25,000, Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind provides guide dogs at no cost.
Freedom Guide Dogs
1210 Hardscrabble Road
Cassville, NY 13318
Guiding Eyes For The Blind
Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides guide dogs to people with vision loss. They are passionate about connecting exceptional dogs with individuals for greater independence. All services are free of charge.
Apply for a guide dog: Contact the Admissions Department at 1-800-942-0149, ext. 2222 or email@example.com
Guide Dog Foundation For The Blind, Inc.
Guide Dog Foundation For The Blind’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs.
In order to apply for a guide dog, applicants must be legally blind and can demonstrate the need for a guide dog to help them remain safe and effective in their everyday travel. We also look for clients that can independently travel practical and purposeful routes with their current mobility device.Get a guide dog
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787-2976
Toll-free:1-800-548-4337 (within the US)
The Seeing Eye, Inc.
The Seeing Eye’s mission is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye® dogs.
Students pay $150 for their first dog and $50 for each successor dog. Veterans of the military pay $1. Payments can be made in installments after students leave the school. A fraction of the total cost to create a match between person and dog, this fee reflects the student’s commitment to enhanced independence.
The Seeing Eye
PO Box 375
Morristown, NJ 07963-0375
Putnam Service Dogs
Putnam Service dogs trains service dogs for people with physical disabilities other than blindness. Check out their website and apply for a dog.
P.O. Box 573
Brewster, NY 10509
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed In NYC Restaurants?
Restaurants have the right to refuse emotional support dogs and therapy dogs, since these are not service dogs. Emotional support dogs are only allowed in NYC restaurants that are willing to allow them on an individual basis, or if their premises is already “pet/animal friendly.”
Emotional support dogs are not considered service dogs, since they haven’t been specially trained to help a person with their specific disability. Read more about the difference between service dogs, emotional support dogs, and therapy dogs.
New York service dog laws, along with the ADA, protect people who use service dogs.
Please note the difference between an emotional support dog and a psychiatric service dog.
- Psychiatric service dogs are service dogs
- Emotional support animals are not service dogs
- Therapy dogs are not service dogs
New York State Emotional Support Animal Registration
Emotional support animal registration is not necessary in New York, or any other state. Emotional support animals are not service dogs, and can be excluded from any public place. What is an emotional support dog?
You may encounter – especially online – organizations claiming to offer emotional support animal registration. Don’t fall for the fake news. These places are only trying to make a quick buck. New York service dog laws do not require any of this.
In order to qualify to bring your ESA (emotional support animal) into a housing situation, you need to follow the steps here:
- Qualify for an emotional support animal by obtaining a letter; this could be your family doctor, therapist, or another professional who knows you
- Let your housing provider know that you have an emotional support animal. This gives them some time to make any special preparations for you and your animal
- Submit your letter to your landlord, HOA or co-op
- Talk with your landlord to address any concerns they may have. Remember that you do have a right to privacy about your health condition(s).
Can A Landlord Deny An Emotional Support Animal In New York?
Fair Housing Act Emotional Support Animal New York
Housing providers must permit residents to keep emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. This includes shelters and other forms of temporary or supportive housing. The only exception is if it would cause an undue hardship to the housing provider.
Housing providers are not required to allow any kind of animal. Certain categories of animals are prohibited under the Public Health Code. Emotional support animals may be excluded if they cause damage or disruption that creates an undue hardship for the housing provider.
If a resident’s disability or need for an emotional support animal is not readily obvious to a housing provider, the housing provider can request confirmation from a treatment provider. This is to confirm that
(1) The person has a disability and
(2) The animal would help treat the disability
Housing providers can not require disclosure of the specific underlying disability, or reject accommodation requests based on rigid requirements, like requiring a specific form or type of documentation. Nor, that the documentation be dated within a certain time of the request for accommodation.
For more information, contact NYC Commission on Human Rights Bill de Blasio, Mayor | Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner/Chair NYC.gov/HumanRights | @NYCCHR
If you have been a victim of discrimination, please call the Commission’s Info-line at212-416-0197to report it.
New York Service Dog Laws – New York City Service Dog License
All dogs in New York City must have licenses, including service dogs. Service dogs are subject to local dog licensing and registration requirements.
The licenses must be attached to their collars while in public. Dog owners can be fined for violating these requirements.
People who have service animals are not exempt from local animal control or public health requirements, either, such as a requirement to be vaccinated. However, mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA.
You can purchase a license that is good for one year or up to five years. The cost of the license will depend on its length and whether the dog is spayed/neutered.
A dog license can help to:
- Find lost dogs
- Let dogs go off-leash With proof of current dog license and rabies vaccination, dogs can run off-leash at New York City park dog runs
- Simplify medical follow-ups. This is especially important if your dog bites someone
- Support animal shelters. Licensing fees help fund shelters and pay for free and low-cost spay and neuter programs
Dog license application can be found here.
Service Dog Licenses
- The Health Department no longer issues tags for service dogs
- This is because the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that service dogs don’t need a service tag to enter any publicly accessible place
- All government buildings, businesses and nonprofit groups are required to allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities wherever the public is normally allowed to go
- Service dogs in New York City still need to be licensed, just like any other dog
Guard Dog Licenses
The Health Department requires trained guard dogs to be licensed and registered.
- These dogs must wear their license tag, and guard dog tag, all the time
- The fee for registering a trained guard dog is $10
- Guard dogs must also have a microchip implanted as a permanent form of identification
- Owners must supply the ID number to the Health Department
- Guard dog owners and other people in control of the premises where a trained guard dog is kept, are required to post clear signs to warn the public of the dog’s presence
- The sign must include the owner’s name and contact information
- People who train, sell or rent guard dogs must post a clear sign or notice notifying clients about their compliance with licensing, tagging, micro-chipping and signage requirements.
To apply for a guard dog license or get more information about guard dog requirements, call 311.
How Do I Get A Service Dog For Anxiety In NYC?
The first step is to figure out if you need an emotional support dog (ESA) or a service dog. Psychiatric service dogs are a specific type of service dog. They can help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, as a few examples.
Emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship, but aren’t specially trained. You can turn your own dog into an emotional support dog.
Or, if you need a psychiatric dog, you can work with an organization that will help you get one.
Remember that a service dog, by definition, is specially trained to perform a specific task or job for someone living with a disability. There are a few options for people living with anxiety.
Psychiatric Service Dog New York
As one example, a psychiatric service dog might be trained to turn on lights or do room searches. It may help someone out of a dissociative episode by keeping the person safe and not allowing the person to wander into danger.
Or, a dog could wake someone up when they’re having a nightmare. Many people living with PTSD suffer from nightmares and bad dreams.
Emotional Support Dogs New York
If the only “tasks” your dog needs to do in order to calm your anxiety are to be there for you, provide companionship, calm you down and/or provide a sense of safety merely with its presence, then that is considered an emotional support dog (ESA).
ESA’s do not have the same public access rights as service dogs. ESA’s can be exuded from restaurants and other public places. ESA’s, however, do have rights in terms of housing as well as for air travel. Simply obtain a doctor’s letter to give to your housing provider that states the dog is necessary.
If you don’t know whether to get an ESA or a PSD, think about your needs
- Is this animal going to help you with tasks you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do? Then you’ll probably need a psychiatric service dog
- Is the animal primarily going to provide companionship, affection, non-judgmental positive regard? That sounds more like an ESA, which is much easier to obtain.
Once you know which type of dog sounds like the right kind, then you can narrow down where to get one. Or, if you already have a dog you would like to use, read about how to make your dog an emotional support animal in the U.S.
If you’re in the market for a new dog, check out the best service dog breeds and how to choose one.
Keep reading to see the organizations where you can get a service dog for anxiety in New York.
Assistance Dogs International Accredited Organizations Serving New York
The following are a list of organizations that serve New York. Look for one that suits your needs.
Accreditation is a pillar of Assistance Dogs International. ADI accredits not-for-profit programs that place assistance dogs to ensure that they adhere to the highest standards in all aspects of their operations, including ethical treatment and training of dogs, ethical treatment of clients, solid service dog training and follow-up care. Only the not-for-profit programs that have been accredited can be a member of ADI. ADI does not provide membership to individuals or for-profit programs.Assistance Dogs International
The service dog programs of America’s VetDogs were created to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to:
- United States veterans
- Active-duty service members,
- First responders with disabilities
VetDogs trains and places service dogs for those with:
- Physical disabilities
- Guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision
- Service dogs to help mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals
Puppies Behind Bars
Puppies Behind Bars is a unique organization where prison inmates raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders. They also raise dogs as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement.
- Service dogs for veterans
- Service dogs for first responders
- Explosive-detection canine program
Little Angels Service Dogs
Little Angels Service Dogs specialize in:
- Autism Assistance Dogs
- Hearing Assistance Dogs
- Mobility Assistance Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs
- Seizure alert dogs
- Diabetic alert dogs
Paws With A Cause
PAWS Service Dogs are custom-trained to assist people with physical disabilities affecting one or more limbs.
PAWS has trained Service Dogs to help people with
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Rheumatoidal Degeneration
- Cerebral Palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Many other conditions affecting a person’s mobility or strength
- Seizure disorders
- Hearing loss
- Service dogs for children with autism
Canine Partners For Life
Canine Partners For Life train a wide variety of different types of dogs.
- Seizure alert dogs
- Cardiac alert dogs
- Diabetes alert dogs
- Home companion dogs
- Courthouse companion dogs
- Residential companion dogs
Paws 4 People
Paws 4 People specializes in training customized Assistance Dogs for two general groups:
- Children and adolescents with physical, neurological, psychiatric, and/or emotional disabilities
- Veterans and Service Members with Chronic/Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma, and Moral Injury
Organizations Located In New York
- America’s VetDogs – the Veteran’s K-9 Corps, Inc.
- Canine Companions
- Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
- Puppies Behind Bars
Organizations Serving New York But Located Elsewhere
- Assistance Canine Training Services (ACTS)
- Assistance Dogs of the West
- Bergin University of Canine Studies
- Canine Partners For Life
- Canines for Service, Inc.
- Dogs for Better Lives
- Duo Dogs, Inc. (formerly Support Dogs, Inc.)
- ECAD, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities
- Freedom Service Dogs of America
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines
- Guide Dogs of Texas
- K9’s 4 Mobility, Inc
- K9’s For Warriors
- KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc.
- Leader Dogs for the Blind
- Little Angels Service Dogs
- Mutts with a Mission
- NEADS World Class Service Dogs
- For a full list, head to Assistance Dogs International
Service dogs aren’t just a nice looking furry animal you see walking around with someone. They are literally a lifeline for people who live with disabilities. Service dogs are not pets, and do not have to abide by “no pets” policies. New York service dog laws along with the ADA laws protect people and their service dogs.
Service dogs are medical devices that happen to be alive. Therapy dogs and emotional support dogs are not considered service dogs, and do not have the same rights in the U.S.
There’s a lot of information here regarding service dogs. And no matter if you are a person with a service dog or wondering how to get one, a business owner wondering about the rules, or a landlord wondering what your rights are, the laws are clearly written. Hopefully this has eased some of the confusion.
New York Service Dog Laws – Reference: