Service Dog Laws Alaska – Super Guide, FAQ’s & More (2021)


The service dog laws Alaska are here! Service dogs are a special type of working dog that are utilized by people who live with disabilities. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act,Opens in a new tab. is a federal act that governs the use of service dogs and their handlers when public access rights are concerned.

There are different laws for air travel and for housing situations, and each State may have their own supplementary or additional service dog laws on top of the federal ADA service dog laws. Keep reading because we are going to unpack this as it pertains to beautiful Alaska.

Jump to a section:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a Service Dog?
  3. Public Access Rights
  4. More Than One Service Dog
  5. Service Dog Harness & Control
  6. Questions Businesses Can Ask
  7. Allergies and Fear of Dogs
  8. Removal or Exclusion of Service Dogs
  9. Service Animals in Training
  10. Alaska State ADA Coordinator’s Office
  11. Service Dog Certification & Documentation
  12. Does Alaska Airlines Accept Service Animals?

Service Dog Laws Alaska Introduction

service dog laws alaska

Some people who live with disabilities use service dogs to help with every day life activities, or to help enable them to more fully participate in society.

Alaska has a policy that states that people with disabilities must be included and accommodated in services, programs, and activities.

Service Dog Laws Alaska – What is a Service Dog?

what is a service dog Alaska

There are at least three definitions of a service dog or service animal, depending on whether we’re discussing public access rights, air travel, or housing situations. For now, let’s talk about the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)Opens in a new tab. definition of a service animal, concerning public access rights. Read more about the ADA laws.

The ADA definition of a service animal is: it’s a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person who is living with a disability. It can be any breed and any size of dog.

The work or tasks that the dog does must be directly related to the person’s disability and must help to mitigate some of the affects or characteristics of the disability.

Some of the most well known disabilities have to do with vision or hearing loss, and service dogs can positively help people who are hard of hearing, deaf, or blind or who have limited vision.

Service dogs can help with navigation, or alerting someone to an important sound such as a smoke alarm, or a knock at the door.

But there are countless disabilities in which service dogs can help to lessen the impact and provide a better life experience for many people. People who live with autism, epilepsy, diabetes, PTSD, and many more types of disabilities – some visible and many invisible – are all benefiting from these amazing animals.

Emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, comfort dogs, and companion dogs are fantastic, but are not considered service dogs under this definition because they are not trained to help a specific person with their disability. So these animal do not have the same public access rights, although they may have different rights when it comes to housing and air travel.

Service Dog Laws Alaska – Public Access Rights With a Service Dog

service dog laws Alaska public access rights

People with disabilities who have a service dog may go with their service dog to anywhere the general public is normally invited – or allowed – to go.

This includes, but is not limited to all State Facilities, restaurants, hotels, motels, movie theaters, malls, hospitals (with a few exceptions like the operating room), and many other places.

More Than One Service Dog

more than one service dog

Some people who have a disability may have more than one service dog, and this is okay. Someone might have two different disabilities, or they may need two different dogs for the same disability.

Examples would be someone who needs a dog for navigation and another dog that will alert of a dangerous blood sugar level for a diabetic. Or, someone who needs two dogs for a stability and/or balance issue.

Service Dog Laws Alaska – Service Dog Harness and Control

service dog leash, harness, control

Service animals do need to be harnessed, leashed, or tethered. The only exception is if those things would interfere with the dog’s task or work, or if the person’s disability prevents using them.

In that case, the service dog handler must maintain control of the animal at all times through voice, signal, or another effective way.

Questions Businesses Can Ask of Service Dog Handlers in Alaska

questions you can ask a person with a service dog

Sometimes it’s obvious that someone who is using a service dog has a disability. This would be the case for a service dog pulling a wheelchair, or guiding someone who is blind across a busy street.

However, many other disabilities are invisible, and it’s not always obvious what the service dog will do for any certain person.

In the case it’s not obvious, a person working at a business or other entity is limited in the questions they may ask of someone with a disability.

questions for a service dog handler

Staff may only ask these two questions…

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff must not…

  • Ask about someones disability
  • Require medical documentation
  • Require a special identification card
  • Require a training documentation for the dog
  • Ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task

Service Dog Laws Alaska – Allergies & Fear of Dogs

allergies and fear of dogs

Service dogs may not be excluded on the basis of an allergy to dog dander, a fear of dogs, or the fear of a certain breed of dog.

In the case where there may be someone who is allergic to dogs, and someone who uses a service animal, spending time in the same room or area such as in a restaurant, business, entity, or another facility, they both need to be accommodated. Sometimes you may need to get creative.

It might be possible to do this by assigning each person, whenever possible, to separate locations within the room or area, or different rooms in the facility.

Removal or Exclusion of Service Dogs

exclude a service dog

There are only a few situations in which staff can ask someone with a disability to remove their service animal from a business or another place.

A service animal can be asked to leave if:

  • The service dog is barking, or out of control and the handler fails to take appropriate and effective action to control it
  • The dog is not housebroken (i.e. it “goes to the bathroom” inappropriately)
  • The dog is posing a direct threat to the health and safety of other people
  • If that particular dog has a history of these types of bad behaviors

When a service dog is excluded for any of these reasons, a business or other entity must offer an opportunity for the person with the disability to their access their product, services, or facilities without the service dog being present.

Service Animals in Training in Alaska

service animals in training alaska

Alaska has a state law which gives service animals in training the same rights as fully qualified service animals. Service animals in training are allowed in State buildings and many other places that the general public is normally allowed and/or invited to go.

Alaska State ADA Coordinator’s Office

Did you know Alaska State has an ADA Coordinator’s Office?

The ADA Compliance Program coordinates implementation of disability rights for all of Alaska state. This is to ensure that people with disabilities can have access to programs, facilities, and services.

The State Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator’s Office (SADACO) was established in April 1992 by Governor Walter Hickel.

The enforcement efforts by this office promote awareness and accountability for state programs and services, which helps to reduce the number of complaints and legal actions.

Contact:

David Newman
State ADA Coordinator
Alaska Department of Administration
550 W 7th Avenue, Suite 1960
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone (voice): (907) 375-7716
Phone (TTY): 711 for Alaska Relay
Fax: (907) 375-7719
Email: david.newman@alaska.gov

Alaska Service Dog Certification & Documentation

service dog certificate alaska

As per the federal ADA service dog laws, service dogs do not need to be certified. People who use service dogs have the right to train the dog themselves.

Requiring documentation of any kind, or certification, as a condition for entry to a business or another place is prohibited.

In addition, service dogs are not required to carry a special tag, vest, or any kind of documentation that identifies them as a service animal.

You may have seen that online there are places where you can pay for a certificate and other service dog paraphernalia. These are not legitimate and convey no legal rights whatsoever.

Does Alaska Airlines Allow Service Dogs?

alaska airlines service animal policy

Yes, Alaska Airlines will accept service dogs, but only official service dogs as defined by the ADAOpens in a new tab. (Americans with Disabilities Act), which is: Dogs that are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified person with a disability.

Due to changes in policy effective January 2021, emotional support animals are no longer accepted as service animals. Those animals may travel under Alaska Airlines’ Pet Policy.

Check out Alaska Airline’s free mobile app called Fly For All, which was designed for people living with cognitive and developmental disabilities, as well as for first-time flyers, and unaccompanied minors (young people).

Reference:

Sam Amy Nelson

Sam Amy Nelson (she/her) is an advocate for people with disabilities and mental health.

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