Service Dog Laws California

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California law requires that a specially trained Assistance Dog be allowed to accompany a blind, deaf, physically or mentally disabled person or trainer on all public accommodations and on all common carriers. No extra charge can be levied because of the dog’s presence, but the dog user is liable for any damage the dog might cause.

Service Dogs at Zoo or Wild Animal Park

Any zoo or wild animal park that does not permit guide dogs to accompany blind persons shall maintain free of charge, adequate kennel facilities for the use of Assistance Dogs.

Injury to Service Dog

Misdemeanor; subject to penalties, restitution

Service Dog Trainers

Allowed in same places as disabled; must be licensed or authorized; dog must be leashed; must carry identification; liable for damage done by dog


Full and equal access  to accommodations, advantages, facilities, medical facilities and privileges of all common carriers  railroad trains, motorbuses, streetcars, boats,  telephone facilities, adoption agencies, private schools, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited

Register & Certify Your Service Dog in California

The truth is that you are not legally required to register or certify a service dog in California or any other state in the US. (*exception: New York City service dogs must be licensed by the city’s Department of Health). Service dogs are protected under the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act. Registration and certification is possible – but completely optional – and does not convey any legal rights under the ADA or the Department of Justice.  Read more here:

Service Dog Registration & Certification in the US – The Truth Opens in a new tab.

Sam Amy Nelson

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

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