Service Dog Laws Florida


Service Dog Laws Florida – Disability Rights Florida

Disability Rights FloridaOpens in a new tab. 1-800-342-0823 

What Is A Person With A Disability In Florida?

Under the ADA, a person with a disability is:

  • a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • a record of this impairment

What Qualifies As A Service Animal In Florida?

Service animals are federally governed by the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act.

A service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person living with a disability.  The task/tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Service dogs can help people with the many types of disabilities, including:

  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Psychiatric
  • Intellectual
  • Other mental disabilities

Just a few examples of the types of things service dogs can help people with:

  • Guiding people who live with low vision or who are blind
  • Helping to alert people who are hard of hearing, or deaf
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Helping someone during a seizure
  • Warning someone about the presence of allergens
  • Retrieving items for someone
  • For people living with mobility issues, a dog can provide support, balance assistance, and stability
  • Helping someone with a psychiatric or neurological disability
  • Preventing or interrupting destructive behaviors
  • Reminding a person to take their prescribed medication on time
  • Assisting and calming a person who is living with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) during an anxiety attack

Service Animals Must Be Dogs

Other species of animals whether they may be wild or domestic, or trained or not trained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

If they meet the above definition, dogs are considered service animals under the ADA. It does not matter whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Miniature Horses & The ADA

While miniature horses used to be included as Service Animals, the ADA now has separate provisions about miniature horses.

Some miniature horses have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These miniature horses generally range in height from 24 – 34 inches and usually weigh between 70 – 100 lbs.

Service Dog Apartment Laws Florida

The Fair Housing ActOpens in a new tab. protects people who are living with disabilities. It also prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of a disability when someone is renting or buying property. 

In other words, even if a building has a “no pets” policy, it would be a human rights violation for the owner or manager to refuse a person because of their service dog.

“No pets” policies do not apply to service animals because service animals are not pets.

How To Get A Service Dog Florida

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Sam Amy Nelson

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

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