Service Dog Laws Georgia – Huge Guide, FAQ + More [2023]

Service dog laws Georgia State

Welcome to Service Dog Laws Georgia

Hello and welcome to our updated 2023 article for service dog laws Georgia state in the beautiful U.S. In this article, we’ll go through the various federal service dog laws as they pertain to Georgia state specifically, as well as any Georgia state service dog laws. We’ll also go through some common FAQs.

Do not worry if you’re confused because we are going to sort it all out. Let’s jump right into it. Service dogs are specially trained animals that help people who are living with disabilities to better participate in life. For a related article check out our guide to Emotional Support Animal Laws in Georgia.

service dog laws Georgia
Blood Sugar Alert Service Dog @cricket_n_saraphenaOpens in a new tab.

In brief, service animals may go with their (legally disabled) handler wherever the public can go. There are a few exceptions, like sterile hospital environments and religious organizations.

Service dogs of any breed may go to malls, restaurants, grocery stores, movie theatres, community centres, schools, buses, taxis, hotels, Airbnb, amusement parks, doctor’s offices, hospitals, trains, and National Parks, just as a few examples.

Service dog laws Georgia State U.S.
“Kylie’s Where I Go, You Go” (Hugo) Service Dog In Training (SDiT)  @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.

Service Dog Laws Georgia – A Deep Dive

What Are The Service Dog Laws in Georgia?

Service dogs are specially trained animals who work with people who are living with disabilities. As per the federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), folks with disabilities in the state of Georgia have a right to take their service dog into public places (anywhere the public can go, including Airbnb, with a few exceptions).

There are additional federal laws for air travel and for housing rights, as well as state laws. Some people attempt to take pets into public places with a service dog vest on them… These fake service dogs unfortunately are a problem.

What Service Dogs Can Do
As long as a person has a disability, they are eligible for a service animal. Service animals are specially trained animals that help people with a wide variety of visible and invisible disabilities.

Part of the reason why service dogs can be so confusing is that there are multiple laws around them. Here is a summary of the different laws relevant to Georgia and their main purpose in general.

service dog laws Georgia
Multipurpose Service Dog “Eri” @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab.

In summary:

  • The ADA – Americans with Disabilities ActOpens in a new tab. – is a federal law. It governs the use of service animals when public access rights are concerned. This law is also referred to for housing situations and employment situations with service animals.
  • The FHA – Fair Housing Act – is another federal law that governs the use of service animals – or what is known in this context as “assistance animal” when housing situations are concerned.
  • The ACAA – Air Carrier Access ActOpens in a new tab. – is what is used when service animals will be taking to the skies with their handler. Fully trained service animals are allowed in the cabin of air planes with their handler as long as the meet the ACAA requirements, and fill out any required paperwork or documents prior to their flight.
  • State-specific service animal laws. Even though we have the federal ADA laws, each individual state may or may not have additional or “state-specific” service dog laws for their own area. Check with individual states for anything that may be different from the ADA laws.
    • A common example is that under the ADA, service dogs in training are not allowed public access rights. However, certain states extend the same rights to service dogs in training, as fully trained animals have
  • Georgia State Laws
  • Section 504Opens in a new tab. – is similar to the ADA, and protects the rights of students with disabilities in educational settings.
Working K9 Service Dog Border Collie Blue and Brown Eyes
Working K9 “Remmi” @working.collie.remmiOpens in a new tab.

Service Dog Definitions

The confusing thing about service animals is there are different federal definitions – all valid – depending on the context. Each particular U.S. state may have its own definition, too.

There are (at least) three very different, but important, definitions of ‘service dog’ or ‘assistance animal.’  “Assistance animal” is the term used by the FHA (Fair Housing Act) and for service animals in Europe.

1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Opens in a new tab. – governs the use of service animals when it comes to public access rights, rights in schools, and rights in employment situations. Under the ADA, service dogs can be any size, type, or breed.

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Americans with Disabilities Act
ADA Service Dog Definition Georgia State
Blue Heeler “Snow Leopard” @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab.

2. Fair Housing Act (FHA)Opens in a new tab. – Along with the ADA, the Fair Housing Act governs the use of what they call “assistance animals” for housing situations. This definition is written more broadly and it includes emotional support animals, unlike the ADA definition.

An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Opens in a new tab.
Fair Housing Act definition of service dog or assistance animal
Blue Heeler “Snow Leopard” @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab.

3. Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA)Opens in a new tab. – is referred to whenever people will be taking to the air with their service animal. Fully trained service animals can ride in the cabin of airplanes with their handler as long as they meet the criteria and complete the necessary paperwork before their flight.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) a service animal means a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Animal species other than dogs, emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not service animals.

U.S. Department of TransportationOpens in a new tab.
Air Carrier Access Act definition for service dogs
Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” in a new tab.

4. State-specific laws – Almost all U.S. states seem to have some kind of their own service dog laws and legislation. These are most commonly in addition, to supplement the federal laws. Read more: Service Animal Laws by U.S. State or Service Animal in Training Laws by State

Service dog laws Georgia state U.S. definitions
Service Dog “Kodiak” @dog.human.duoOpens in a new tab.

What Do Service Dogs Do?

Service animals are utilized by people who live with a variety of different disabilities. Service dogs can help people in many different ways. There are many different disabilities, and many different service dog tasks or work.

Here are just a few examples of service dog tasks or work:

  • Lead blind people, or people living with low vision
  • Serve as the ears of a deaf or hard of hearing person, alerting them to important sounds, such as their name, a knock at the door, a smoke alarm, etc.
  • They can carry and pick up items such as grocery bags
  • They can help people with stability and balance issues
  • Provide warnings of impending seizures or low blood sugar
  • Service animals may allow people with anxiety disorders, PTSDOpens in a new tab. or other emotional conditions to function in society by alerting their handlers to avoid anxiety triggers, by recognizing and blocking behaviors, or by stimulating the person to “snap back” to a conscious state
  • Provide deep pressure therapy
  • They can wake someone up from a nightmare, or interrupt repetitive behaviour
  • Service dogs can remind people that it is time to take their medication
  • Service dogs can summon help in the case of fainting or a seizureOpens in a new tab.
  • The ways in which people with disabilities use service animals are growing and evolving
  • SSigDOG are Sensory Signal Dogs or Social Signal Dogs. These are a service dog that has been trained to assist someone with autism. The service dog typically alerts their human handler to distracting repetitive movements which are common with people living with autism. This allows the person to stop the movement.
  • Psychiatric Service Dogs are a type of service dog that has been trained to perform “work” or “tasks” that help people with psychiatric disabilities to detect the onset of certain, specific episodes and lessen their effects.
  • Seizure Response Dogs are a type of service dogs that are trained to help somebody who has a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person will depend on individual needs. The seizure response service dog might do a variety of tasks, such as stand guard over their human during a seizure to keep the person safe, or the dog might go and get help.
  • A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance to sit down or move to a safe place, but it seems like this can’t reliably be trained in just any dog.

Read more: The Giant List of Service Dog TasksOpens in a new tab. (K9 Total Focus)

Medical alert service dog in the state of Georgia U.S.
Medical Alert Service Dog “Koda” @thatlilbearkodaOpens in a new tab.

What Questions Can Be Asked About a Service Dog?

Under the ADA laws, public establishments may only ask two things to a person with a disability using  a service dog, and those are:

  1. Is the animal required because of a disability?”
  2. What type of work is the dog trained to perform?
service animals are not pets
Service Dogs are not pets, even though they may look similar. This sun and this orange look similar, too. Neither is better than the other; they are just different.

Establishments May Not:

  • Ask about the person’s disability
  • Require medical documentation
  • Require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog
  • Ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task
  • Restrict or deny certain sizes or breeds, including PitbullsOpens in a new tab.
Multipurpose service dog in Georgia State German Shepherd
Multipurpose Service Dog “Eri” @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab.

Registration and Certification of Service Animals in Georgia

The truth is that you are not legally required to register or certify a service dog in Georgia or any other state in the U.S. Service dogs are protected under the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act. There are websites online that seem to be selling service dog registrations, paperwork, and other paraphernalia.

These are not recognized by the ADAOpens in a new tab. or the Department of JusticeOpens in a new tab. and do not convey any legal rights. Buying a piece of paper from the internet does not turn a dog into a service dog. Even emotional support animals do not need these papers for any reason.  Check out our blog “Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate?” to learn more about registrations and why they are not required. 

Registration and certification of service animals in Georgia
Kylie’s “Lucy On Duty” Service Dog @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.
Service Animal Registration and Certification Not Necessary
Service animal registration and certification are not required for any reason in the U.S. A legitimate state and/or federal system does not exist.

Is it Illegal to Ask for Service Dog Papers in Georgia?

Requiring any documentation from a person with a disability for their service dog as a condition of entry is prohibited under the federal ADA for public access rights. Paperwork can be required for housing and employment situations. A doctor’s note may be required to indicate the animal is needed, not to disclose disability details. This is true in Georgia and other states.

Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.

Americans with Disabilities Act
Psychiatric Service Dog in Georgia State U.S.
Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” in a new tab.

Can You Train Your Own Service Dog in Georgia?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs the use of service dogs federally in the United States. Under this Act, people with disabilities have the right to train their dogs themselves. This is true in Georgia as well as all other states. Professional service dog training is optional. Proof of service dog training, or documentation of any kind, is not required for public access.

(Some documentation stating that the service animal is necessary may be required for housing and/or employment situations. But personal details about a disability are not required.) Read more on our blog: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws Summary & FAQ or read more about how to start training a service dog.

Can you train your own service dog in Georgia?
Border Collie Service Dog @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.

Service Dogs In Training (SDiT) In Georgia

Many people train their dogs by themselves or with some help, as many service animal programs have limited resources and long waiting lists. Under the federal ADA laws, service animals in training do not get the same public access rights as fully trained service animals. (Service dogs must be fully trained to get public access rights under the ADA).

But, most states have some kind of state laws that allow service animals in training some kind of public access rights. Read more on our blog: Service Animal In Training – U.S. State Guide

Service Dog in Training Georgia
“Kylie’s Where I Go, You Go” (Hugo) Service Dog In Training (SDiT)@lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.

At this time, only four states do not cover service animals in training under their public accommodation laws.

Service Dog in Training Georgia
Service Dog in Training (SDiT) “Bishop”

Service Dog Laws in Georgia State Cover Service Animals-In-Training

The following is a quote from Georgia State laws.

  • Georgia State Law includes coverage for service animals in training. Service dogs and service animals in training have the same rights as fully trained animals in Georgia.
  •  The service animal trainer must be identified as being an agent or employee of a school for service dogs: seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, service dogs, or guide dogs

(2) Every person engaged in the training of a guide dog or service dog for the purpose of accompanying a person as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall have the same right to be accompanied by such dog being trained as the totally or partially blind person, deaf person, or physically disabled person has under paragraph (1) of this subsection, so long as such trainer is identified as an agent or employee of a school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs.

Georgia CodeOpens in a new tab.
Service dog laws in Georgia for service animals in training
Border Collie @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.

Do Service Dogs Have to Wear a Vest in Georgia?

Under the federal ADA laws, service dogs aren’t required to wear a vest, patch, ID, cape or special harness for public access rights. Many people do use a vest to help the public identify their dog as a working animal. A vest might not be appropriate for various reasons, one of them being heat during warm weather.

If you are in the market for a quality hand-made service dog vest, check out Patience and Love on Etsy.Opens in a new tab. Also, read about where to buy service dog vests Opens in a new tab.and other gear.

Do Service dogs have to wear a vest in Georgia? Autism Service Dog.
Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piperOpens in a new tab.

Are Service Dogs Allowed Everywhere?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs with their handlers are permitted to go anywhere the public can go. A few exceptions include religious organizations, sterile hospital rooms, and certain zoo areas where animals may behave aggressively, and the ADA does not override public health orders, such as a swimming pool. Service dogs must be allowed in malls, restaurants, taxis, and anywhere the public can go, unless there is a valid safety concern. Read more on our blog: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?

Can service dogs go anywhere?
Service Dog “Kodiak” @dog.human.duoOpens in a new tab.

What Is The ADA?

The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a federal wide-ranging civil rights law. It prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Under the ADA, the following “covered entities” that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the business or facility where the public is normally invited or allowed to go.

  • Businesses
  • State governments
  • Local governments
  • Nonprofit organizations
Psychiatric service dog Georiga
Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” in a new tab.

Where Does The ADA Apply?

  • Places of public accommodation which include…
  • Places of lodging
  • Places serving food or drink
  • Places of entertainment
  • Places of public gathering
  • Sales or rental establishments
  • Service establishments
  • Stations used for specified public transportation
  • Places of public display or collection
  • Places of recreation
  • Places of education
  • Social service center establishments
  • Places of exercise or recreation
  • Public services, programs, and activities, which include: schools, and state and local government offices
  • Public transportation
  • Private transportation, like Greyhound bus service
  • The Workplace
  • Airport terminals
Border Collie Service Dog Georgia
Border Collie Service Dog @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.


The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against disabled people in employment situations. In addition, it requires reasonable accommodation at the employee’s request. Allowing someone with a disability to bring their service animal into the workplace environment is a form of reasonable accommodation.

As with any accommodation request, the employer must consider allowing the use of a service animal at work unless doing so poses an undue hardship, or could disrupt the workplace environment.

Note that an employee may also request that an employer allow a companion animal or emotional support animal in the workplace as an accommodation. Reasonable requests in this situation are not restricted to dogs only. Read more: Federal ADA Workplace Accommodation Guide

Husky Service Dog Georgia
“Kylie’s Lucy On Duty” (Lucy) Service Dog @lucytheservicesibeOpens in a new tab.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs are a type of service dog that perform work or tasks related to psychiatric disabilities.

A few examples of these types of disabilities include:

  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression

Here are a few examples of some psychiatric service dog tasks:

  • Providing reminders to take medication at a certain time
  • Service dogs can lay across their handler and apply pressure (Deep Pressure Therapy) during a panic attack, for example
  • Provide tactile stimulation or grounding
  • Interrupting dissociative episodes or other repetitive or problematic behaviors
  • Alerting the handler to rage or other types of strong emotions
  • Interrupting self-harming behaviors
  • Retrieve an item, such as a water bottle and medication for a panic attack
  • Wake someone up from a nightmare
  • Interrupting flashbacks
  • Searching the house or home to ensure it’s clear and safe before the handler enters
  • Providing a “reality check” to help with hallucinations
  • Stabilizing a routine for someone
  • Read more: Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks – 17 Examples

The difference between psychiatric service dogs and emotional support animals is simple: Psychiatric service dogs are trained to do at least one task for a specific person’s disability, and the task is related to the disability.

Emotional support animals are not task-trained like this and provide comfort and other benefits by their presence alone. Emotional support animals are not service dogs, but they do have some rights when it comes to housing and employment situations. Read more: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog (sounds like a boxing match or something, but it isn’t!)

service dog vs emotional support dog
“Trained” Here refers to task-training for a specific disability, which goes well above and beyond the basic socialization and obedience training.
psychiatric Service Dog
Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” in a new tab.

Miniature Horses

Technically speaking, only dogs are service animals under the federal ADA definition for public access rights. Other species of animal, whether that be wild animals or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of the ADA.

Service animals may or may not be other types of animals in terms of housing and employment situations. But for now, let’s talk about public access rights. Even though dogs are the only service animal defined by the ADA, there is a separate provision in the ADA that does cover miniature horses.

Mini Service Horse Georgia
“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse in a new tab.

What this means is that a miniature horse that has been trained to do work or tasks for a specific disability shall have the same rights as service dogs wherever possible.

Businesses and other covered entities need to provide access to miniature horses whenever possible. Reasonable modifications need to be made in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by a person with a disability.

Mini Service Horse
“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse in a new tab.

There are additional assessment factors for miniature horses

To determine whether to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, the business will need to consider the following:

  • The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features safely
  • Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse
  • Whether the miniature horse is housebroken
  • Whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation
service mini horse
“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse in a new tab.


As we’ve already mentioned, service animals perform various work or tasks to help someone with a disability to live safely and independently. U.S. Department of TransportationOpens in a new tab. Americans with Disabilities Act regulations define a service animal as “any guide dog, signal dog, or another animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to:

  • Guiding individuals with impaired vision
  • Alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds
  • Providing minimal protection or rescue work
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Fetching dropped items
psychiatric service dog Georgia
Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” in a new tab.

When riding transit, customers with disabilities who use service animals are responsible for maintaining control over their animals (and caring for them) at all times.

Riders are also responsible for knowing the best way to board and position their service animal on the vehicle, especially if the service animal may be required to provide assistance (“tasking”) during the transit trip. Service animals may not block aisles or exits.

Service dog laws in Georgia
Blue Heeler “Snow Leopard” @snow_leopard_81Opens in a new tab.

According to ADA regulations, every transportation employee or operator who serves people with disabilities needs to be trained so that they know how to provide non-discriminatory service in an appropriate and respectful way.

When serving passengers who are blind, operators should:

  • Identify themselves
  • Speak directly to the customer instead of through a companion
  • Use specifics such as “there are five boarding steps and a 10-inch drop to the curb” when giving directions

Transit agencies should be aware of the following rules under ADA:

  • Operators must allow all service animals on board
  • Operators may not ask for proof of service animal, certification or of the customer’s disability
  • Operators may not require a person traveling with a service animal to sit in a particular seat on the vehicle or charge a cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals onto the vehicle unless the animal causes damage
Autism service dog in Georgia
Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piperOpens in a new tab.

How To Make Your Dog a Service Dog in Georgia?

Stop making that sound so easy! To make your dog a service dog in Georgia, you must have a disability and a disability-related need for the animal. Start your service dog training journey, and work on having your dog learn how to act properly in public, with basic socialization and obedience training, and performing specific tasks that mitigate the effect(s) of your disability. There are different avenues for getting a service animal.

  • Train the dog yourself
  • Get some help from a dog trainer
  • Use a professional service dog training program or organization
  • Any combination of the above

Even though service animals do not need to be professionally trained by an organization or school, they do need to be trained for your disability. This is not usually an easy task, and many people need at least some help.

It’s also important to note that not just any dog can become a service dog. Dogs are like people and have individual personalities. Some personalities do great with working; others just don’t. Some dogs truly just can’t focus, don’t listen, or want to only play (or relax) all day. Read more on our blog: Service Dog Training Basics & FAQ

Autism Service Dog Georgia
Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piperOpens in a new tab.


Fees, extra charges, or pet deposits may not be charged for service animals. This is true whether we are talking about the ADA, ACAA, FHA, or Georgia State service dog laws. A service animal is not considered a pet. Someone using a service animal must not be turned away or denied access because of a “no pets” rule or policy.

In the case where a public entity usually charges people for damage caused by an animal or pet, a person with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by their service animal.

Service Dog
Service Dog “Kodiak” @dog.human.duoOpens in a new tab.

Control of Service Animals

  • Service animals must be under control at all times & should not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others
  • Service animals must comply with state and local animal control laws

Service animals should be kept at a person’s side quietly unless they are performing a specific task.

Service animals must be leashed, harnessed, or tethered unless this may interfere with the service animals’ work. Or, if a disability prevents using them. In those cases, service animals still need to be controlled through voice, hand signals, or another effective way.

Labrador Retriever service animal Georgia
Canadian Multipurpose Service Dog “Everest” @katelynburelleOpens 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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