Service Dog Laws In Maine – Complete Guide & FAQ (2022)

service dog laws Maine

There are multiple laws that govern the use of service dogs; specially trained dogs that are used by people with disabilities. One of these is the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act.Opens in a new tab. The ADA is a federal law, so the basic laws for service dogs are the same for all states.

What Service Dogs Can Do

However, to make things more confusing, each state may or may not also have additional – or their own – service dog laws. People with disabilities who use service dogs have a right to use whichever law – state, federal, or a combination – that would benefit them the most.

This article will thoroughly discuss service dog laws in Maine, from the federal ADA Opens in a new tab.perspective, as well as Maine-specific laws, and much, much much more.

Jump to a section:

  1. What is a Service Animal?
  2. Maine Service Animal Definition
  3. ADA Service Dog Definition (Public Access)
  4. Fair Housing Act Definition (Housing)
  5. Air Carrier Access Act Definition (Air Travel)
  6. General Service Dog Laws in Maine
  7. What is a PA in Maine?
  8. Information For Businesses
  9. Where Service Animals Are Allowed
  10. Fees & Charges
  11. Excluding Service Animals
  12. Service Animal Control
  13. Allergies & Fear of Dogs
  14. Service Animals in the Workplace
  15. Prerequisites for Service Animals in the Workplace
  16. Standards For Service Animals in the Workplace
  17. Coworker Considerations
  18. Removal of Service Animals in the Workplace
  19. Service Animals in Housing
  20. Service or Assistance Animal Definition For Housing
Service dog laws in Maine
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What is a Service Animal?

It’s important to know that there are multiple, different definitions of service dog and service animal. It depends on the context.

  • The ADAOpens in a new tab. governs the use of service dogs at the federal level where mostly public access rights are concerned
  • The FHAOpens in a new tab. or Fair Housing Act governs the use of what they call assistance animals when a housing situation is concerned
  • And the ACAAOpens in a new tab., Air Carrier Access Act, governs the use of service dogs when air travel is concerned.

Each individual state may also have its own service dog laws. Where there are multiple laws, or sometimes even conflicting laws, people with disabilities may use whichever law or combination of laws that benefits them.

Read more: Service Animal Laws by State

Service Dog Laws In Maine – State Service Animal Definition

Service Animal Laws in Maine State Service Animal Definition
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The definition of a Service Animal in the state of Maine is as follows:

A Service Animal is a dog that has been deemed necessary by a doctor, psychologist,Opens in a new tab. physician’s assistant, nurse, or licensed social worker for someone living with a disability. The animal helps to mitigate the effects of a person’s physical or mental disability.

service animal vs emotional support animal

OR

A service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to benefit a person who lives with a physical or mental disability, by doing work or performing certain tasks.

Just a few examples of the kinds of work or tasks that these special dogs may perform for a person living with a disability include:

  • Guiding someone who is blind or can’t see well
  • Alerting someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to sounds or intruders
  • Providing reasonable protection
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Grabbing dropped items
  • Assisting someone during a seizure
  • Providing physical support and/or balance and stability
  • Reminding someone with an intellectual disability to take a medication
  • Helping someone with a psychiatric or neurological condition by interrupting problem behaviour (As one example, read about how DPT Service Dogs help people with PTSDOpens in a new tab. and other conditions)

Think of a service dog as an aid that helps someone with a disability to better access services, much like a wheelchair or cane.

Service animals are not pets.

ADA Definition of Service Dog

ADA Definition of Service Dog Maine
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So under the ADAOpens in a new tab., which governs the use of service dogs federally for anytime when public access rights and details are concerned, the definition of service dog is as follows:

A Service Animal must be a dog that has been individually trained for a person living with a disability, to do work or perform tasks. The work or task(s) that the dog performs must directly relate to the person’s disability.

Read more: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws Easy Guide & FAQ

Fair Housing Act Definition of Assistance Animal

Fair Housing Act Definition of Assistance Animal
Service Dog: “BALU”

When housing situations are concerned, the Fair Housing ActOpens in a new tab. takes over as the source for service animal laws and guidance. They have a slightly different and more broad definition of what they call an assistance animal.

For this definition, an assistance animal is an animal that works and/or provides assistance and/or performs tasks for the benefit of someone who is living with a disability.

An assistance animal may also be an animal that provides emotional support. This emotional support alleviates one or more characteristics of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.

Air Carrier Access Act Definition of Service Animal

Air Carrier Access Act Definition of Service Animal
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Look to the ACAA or Air Carrier Access ActOpens in a new tab. when you’re wondering about service dogs being allowed on air planes and in the cabin.

The ACAAOpens in a new tab. definition of service animal is:

A service animal is any type or breed of dog, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks to help and benefit qualified person with a disability.

This includes physical, sensoryOpens in a new tab., psychiatric, intellectual, or another mental disability.

Animals other than dogs, emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals-in-training are not considered service animals for this definition.

Read more: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog

Emotional Support Animals

General Service Dog Laws in Maine

General Service Dog Laws in Maine
Photo @service.doodle.piperOpens in a new tab.

Places of public accommodation in Maine are known as PAs. The Maine Human Rights ActOpens in a new tab. (MHRA) requires that PAs or public places of accommodation allow the use of service animals by people who are living with disabilities.

There are a few exceptions. But generally speaking, the law is one of inclusion, and requires that PA’s allow the use of service animals at their premises, facilities, or place of business.

Service Dog Laws in Maine – What is a PA in Maine?

Service Dog Laws Maine PA
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Service dog laws in Maine include language about PA’s, which are places of public accommodations. Places of public accommodations in Maine are defined as any establishment that is open to the general public. This includes offering their goods, facilities, services to the public.

Some examples are:

  • State or town buildings
  • State or town agencies
  • Professional offices
  • Movie theatres
  • Grocery stores
  • Other stores
  • Public and private schools
  • Trains and other types of transportation
  • Airplanes
  • Hotels and motels and other places of lodging
  • Hospitals
  • Restaurants

Read more: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?

service dogs in training
Service Dog in Training – Bishop

Information For Businesses

Service dog laws in Maine include a section on what businesses, other entities, or PA’s (public places of accommodations) may ask people who are using service animals.

Sometimes it’s obvious that someone is using a service dog because of a disability, like when you can see a person being guided across a busy street by their service animal.

However, many disabilities are invisible. Opens in a new tab.

When this is the case, it’s not going to be obvious why a person is using a service dog. In these instances, a PA (place of public accommodation) in Maine may only ask two questions to determine if the animal is a service animal:

Mini Service Animal Horse
Photo @flirty.the.mini.service.horseOpens in a new tab.

1. Is the animal required because of a disability?

2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?


Under the service dog laws in Maine, these are the only two questions that can be asked to someone.

A business, entity, or other PA (place of public accommodation) may not:

  • Ask about a disability, including the nature or extent of a person’s disability
  • Ask about the service dog if the purpose of the dog is obvious, such as witnessing a dog pulling a wheelchair
  • Ask for any kind of documentation that shows that dog has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. People who use service animals have the right to train the animal themselves
  • Ask that the dog show a special collar, or identification tag

It is a violation of the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) to request or require documentation proving that an animal is a service animal.

Read more: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws Easy Guide & FAQ

Service Dog Laws in Maine – Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Service Dog Laws in Maine - Where Service Animals Are Allowed
Photo @eri_servicedogOpens in a new tab.

The service dog laws in Main indicate that people who are living with disabilities must be allowed to be accompanied by their service animal in all areas of businesses and other public accommodations where the public (including customers, patrons, and invitees) are able to go.

  • People with disabilities who use service animals must not be separated or designated to certain areas of a facility or business
  • For example, a restaurant may not restrict people with service dogs to one particular area
  • People with service dogs must be allowed to go where anyone else can go

Read more: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?

Service Dog Laws in Maine Fees & Charges

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A business, another entity, or another place of public accommodation must not require people with service dogs to pay a fee because of their animal.

In addition, people with disabilities who use service animals must not be given special rules because of their animal.

Service dogs are not pets. Therefore, they must not be treated as such. This includes fees for pets.

If a business, another entity, or a place of public accommodation normally requires a fee due to damages caused by pets, then someone with a service dog may also be charged the same fee if their service dog causes damages to the property or facilities.

Service Dog Laws in Maine – Excluding Service Animals

service dog border collie
Photo: @celestialbordercolliesOpens in a new tab.

There are certain times when a business, entity, or another PA (place of public accommodation) may ask a service dog to leave.

These are:

  • If the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective means to control it
  • If the service animal is not housebroken (i.e. it “goes to the bathroom” inappropriately)
  • If the service animal is a direct threat to the health and safety of others
  • If the service animal being there would result in substantial physical damage the property of others
  • If the service animal would be interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of the PA (public accommodation) by others

In cases where a service dog has been excluded, the business, entity, or another place of public accommodation (PA) must offer the person with the disability a chance to use the facility or receive the goods, services, or other benefits without the dog being there.

In other words, excluding the dog does not automatically exclude the person.

Service Dog Laws in Maine – Service Animal Control

Service Animals Under Control Maine
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Service animals must generally be on a halter, tether or leash as means of control, unless, due to the nature of the disability, or the nature of the work that the dog needs to do, prevents this.

It a halter, tether, or leash is not possible, then the service animal must still be under control of the handler via voice, signals, or another method.

Service Dog Laws in Maine – Allergies & Fear of Dogs

service dog poodle
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Allergies and fear of dogs, or fear or judgements of certain dog breeds are not valid reasons under service dog laws Maine to exclude a service dog.

Service dogs under the service dog laws Maine, as well as federal ADA laws, indicate that service dogs may be any breed, any size, and any type of dog.

Similarly, someone having an allergy to dogs or dog dander is not a valid reason to exclude a service dog.

In the case where a business or another entity is in a situation where they encounter someone with a service dog and someone with an allergy, both people must be accommodated.

Businesses might have to get creative with this. The parties could be placed in different locations within one room, or perhaps in different locations within the same facility.

Service Animals In the Workplace In Maine

Service Dogs in the Workplace in Maine
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The office of the Attorney General in Maine supports the use of trained service animal in the workplace for people who live with disabilities and require the use of their service animal while at work.

For this purpose, the definition of a service animal is as follows:

  • A service animal is an animal that has been determined necessary by a physician, psychologist, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or licensed social worker, to help mitigate the effects, or some of the effects, of a physical or mental disability
  • Or, a service animal is an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of someone who lives with a physical or mental disability. This can include, but is not limited to, guiding people with impaired vision, alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing to important sounds, providing reasonable protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or picking up dropped items.

Prerequisites for Service Animals in the Workplace

Service Animals in the workplace in Maine
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Service animals are not allowed in the workplace in Maine until the following conditions are met:

  • The service animal must be licensed by an appropriate municipal clerk, or, alternatively by a veterinary licensing agent
  • The service dog must be up to date on all recommended vaccinations – these include state and local (city, county) requirements
  • The service dog must have completed training from an established service dog or service animal training organization, OR
  • The service animal must have been evaluated by a certified animal trainer and found to have a good temperament that is suitable for a workplace setting.
  • If the animal is evaluated by a certified animal trainer, the service animal’s behavior must be tested indoors around unknown people. This includes unexpected distractions, noises, and children.

Standards For Service Animals in the Workplace

standards for service animals in the workplace
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All Service Animals in Maine are expected to meet certain standards. Failure to meet the following standards may result in temporary or permanent removal of the service animal from the workplace.

  • The care and health of the service animal is not the employer’s responsibility. It is the sole responsibility of the employee
  • The service animal must be within the employee’s control at all times. This can be done by either a leash, containment (such as a crate) or voice command
  • The service animal must be well behaved at all times. This includes non-aggressive behaviours such as no jumping, no growling, no snarling, no biting, no snapping, etc.
  • The service animal must not be disruptive in the workplace. This means no barking, no whining, and not destructive of state or personal property
  • The service animal should, if practicable, wear a vest or backpack so that people know it as being identifiable as a service animal

Coworker Considerations

Service Dog Coworker Considerations Maine
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Some considerations that are relative to co-workers with regard to service animals in the workplace in Maine are:

  • The office needs to notify co-workers of the pending placement of a service animal in the workplace, and offer an opportunity for co-workers to express any concerns they may have in advance
  • The office will need to develop a plan to address any concerns of coworkers who may be allergic to dogs or dog danger, or fearful of a potential service animal, if and when appropriate
  • The employee should post prominent notices at their workstation with some relative information for coworkers. This should include information about interactions with the service animal. For example, “please ask me before petting or speaking to my service animal.”

Removal of Service Animals in the Workplace

Removal of Service Animals in the Workplace in Maine
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A service animal may be removed from the premises if:

  • It is a direct threat to the health or safety of others
  • If it would result in substantial physical damage to the property of other people
  • If the service animal substantially interferes with the work of the office or coworkers

Service Animals in Housing

Service Animals in Housing Maine
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Under service dog laws in Maine, people with assistance animals (as they are called in housing situations) have the right to the same housing experiences at those tenants without assistance or service animals.

Here are some general rules and guidelines on service dog laws in Maine as they relate to housing situations:

  • People with disabilities must not be isolated or removed from the normal areas of housing
  • It is illegal for property owners to assign certain apartments to people with disabilities who use assistance animals
  • It is illegal for property owners to charge a fee for the use of a service animal or assistance animal. Assistance animals are not pets, and are not prone to pet deposits
  • Housing providers may charge a person if their assistance animal causes damage only when it is normal practice to charge other people who have pets for the damages that the pet may cause
  • Generally speaking, assistance animals must be on a leash, tether, or halter when they’re outside the residence of the tenant, unless the nature of the disability or nature of the dog’s work doesn’t allow for this
  • When the leash, tether, or halter is not possible, the service animal or assistance animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or another method
  • Service animals or assistance animals may be removed from housing situations if they are a direct threat to the health and safety or others, or, if keeping it would result in direct, physical damage to the property of others, or, if it in some way substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the housing by others
  • For example, a service animal or assistance animal that barks all night long, keeping other people awake, may be removed
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons to exclude a service animal or assistance animal from a housing situation. In the case where someone with allergies or fear of dogs and someone with an assistance animal are both present, the housing provider needs to find creative ways to accommodate them both.
  • Landlords can not impose breed or size restrictions for assistance animals, unless complying directly with Maine law, such as certain zoning ordinances, or restrictions on exotic animals.
  • Landlords can not require that people with assistance animals or service animals obtain insurance for their animal, unless it requires this of all tenants
Service Animal Registration Not Necessary

Service or Assistance Animal for Housing Definition

Assistance Animals in Housing Maine Definition
Photo @katelynburelleOpens in a new tab.

The Maine Human Rights Act has a slightly different definition – slightly broader – than the other definition of service animal under the ADA service dog laws in Maine.

For housing situations, an assistance animal is an animal (this could be a dog, a cat, a bird, or another type of animal) that is either determined necessary for someone with a physical or mental disability, to help lessen or mitigate some of the effects of a disability.

This needs to be in the opinion of a doctor, psychologist, doctor’s assistant, nurse practitioner, licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor, or another licensed health professional with knowledge of the disability-related need for this animal.

OR…

An assistance animal for housing is an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform certain tasks for the benefit of someone who is living with a disability.

This can include obvious service animal roles, such as a guide dog for someone who is blind or lives with low vision. But it can also include other types of animal that can provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship related to invisible disabilities.

There are many invisible disabilities. Some examples are depression, anxiety, certain phobias, PTSD, certain types of autism… These dogs or animals may or may not have special training to perform task or work that help people with disabilities.

  • Assistance animals are not required to have a special ID card, or to be certified, or to be registered, or to have a special harness or collar that identifies them as a service animal or assistance animal
  • Assistance animals with someone who has a disability are allowed to visit a tenant in a housing situation, even when “no pets” policies are in place. Assistance animals are not pets. People with disabilities must not be discriminated against in Maine
  • When disabilities are not obvious, a housing provider in Maine may ask about the disability, and for some evidence that the assistance animal has been trained, or prescribed
  • Evidence of assistance animal training may be shown by a demonstration, if applicable
  • Housing providers may not demand medical records from a person with a disability or to speak with the person’s medical professional
Service Animal Main Laws
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Sam Nelson

Sam Nelson 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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