Service Dog Laws District of Columbia

District of Columbia Service Dog Laws


District of Columbia law requires that a specially trained Assistance Dog be allowed to accompany a blind or deaf person to all public accommodations and common carriers. Extra charges cannot be made due to the presence of the dog, but if the dog causes damage to the premises, the dog user is liable.


Every blind or deaf person who has a dog guide, or who obtains a dog guide, shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations referred to in this section, without being denied access because of the dog guide and required to pay an extra charge for the dog guide; but such blind or deaf person shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by such dog


Full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats, or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation in the District of Columbia, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited in the District of Columbia, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law or in accordance with law applicable alike to all persons

Register & Certify Your Service Dog in DC

The truth is that you are not legally required to register or certify a service dog in DC 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 Nelson

Sam is an experienced writer, advocate for people with disabilities and mental health, dog lover, artist, philosopher, and generally complicated human being.

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