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

Indiana Service Dog Laws
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Service Dog Laws Indiana – A Deep Dive

Welcome to our service dog laws Indiana guide and FAQ page , updated for 2023. Service dog laws in Indiana require that a specially trained service dog (sometimes called an assistance dog, in housing situations and in Europe) be allowed to accompany a person with a disability to all public accommodations and public carriers, with a few exceptions. There are multiple laws that govern the use of these special animals. For a related article, check out our guide to Emotional Support Animal Laws Indiana.

Service dogs can help people with different types of disabilities
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Service animals can help people with many different types of visible and invisible disabilities.

In this detailed guide, we’ll go through some of the most common questions about service dogs in the state of Indiana. This includes where they are allowed in public, housing information, what businesses need to know, plus much more.

border collie service dog Indiana
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Border Collies @celestialbordercollies

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 centers, schools, buses, taxis, hotels, Airbnb, amusement parks, doctor’s offices, hospitals, trains, and National Parks, just as a few examples.

service dog laws Indiana
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Service Dog in Training “Bishop”

Summary of Service Dog Laws Indiana

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

service dog laws Indiana
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Multipurpose Service Dog “Eri” @eri_servicedog

In summary:

  • The ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – 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 Act – is what is used when service animals will be taken to the skies with their handler. Fully trained service animals are allowed in the cabin of airplanes with their handler as long as they 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
  • Section 504 – is similar to the ADA, and protects the rights of students with disabilities in educational settings.

Read more on our blog: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws – Summary & FAQ

Working K9 Service Dog Border Collie Blue and Brown Eyes
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Working K9 “Remmi” @working.collie.remmi

Registration & Certification


The truth is that you are not legally required to register or certify a service dog in Indiana or any other state in the U.S. Service dogs are protected under the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, and other laws. In addition, there is no state registration system in place for Indiana.

Registration and certification done online from non-government websites do not convey any legal rights under the ADA or the Department of Justice. Buying a piece of paper from the internet does not turn a dog into a service dog.

Check out our blog Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate? to learn more about registrations, certifications, and why they are not required.

Service Animal Registration Not Necessary
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Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Service Animal registration and/or certification are simply not required for public access rights. A legitimate federal or state system does not exist.

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 Indiana
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Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” @sarge.in.service

Service Animal Definitions

Since there are different service animal definitions depending on context (public access rights, air travel, housing) we’ll go through the different ones right now. As you’ll see, they are similar, but the differences are important to understand.

The ADA Service Animal Definition for Public Access Rights

The federal ADA law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in:

  • Employment
  • State and local government
  • Public accommodations
  • Commercial facilities
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • United States Congress

Under the ADA Americans with Disabilities Act federal laws, “Service animal means any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for purposes of this definition.”

The work or tasks that the dog does must be directly related to a specific person’s disability. In addition, the work or tasks must help to mitigate at least some of the effects of that disability.

It’s important to note that while dogs are the only animal defined here, there is a separate ADA provision for the use of a miniature horse as a service animal .

Siberian Husky Service Dog
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Syncope Alert Service Dog “Kylie’s Lucy On Duty” @lucytheservicesibe

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) Definition of Assistance Animal

Under the FHA, “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.”

service animals are not pets
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Service animals are not pets – they are working animals – even though they might look like pets, kind of like this flaming sun and juicy orange.
Service dog laws Connecticut
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Blue Heeler “Snow Leopard” @snow_leopard_81

The Air Carrier Access Act Definition of Service Animal

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.“

Psychiatric Service Dog Air Plane
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Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” @sarge.in.service

Indiana State Definition

16-32-3-1.5 “Service animal” defined

Sec. 1.5. As used in this chapter, “service animal” refers to an animal trained as:

(1) a hearing animal

(2) a guide animal

(3) an assistance animal

(4) a seizure alert animal

(5) a mobility animal

(6) a psychiatric service animal, or

(7) an autism service animal

Service Dog in Training Indiana
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“Kylie’s Where I Go, You Go” (Hugo) Service Dog in Training (SDiT) @lucytheservicesibe

Service Animal Work or Tasks

The work or tasks done by the animal must be directly related to the person’s disability. The training must be specific to the person using the animal. A service animal is not a pet.

The disability could be:

  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Psychiatric
  • Intellectual
  • Or another mental disability

The tasks or work done by the animal may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Helping to guide someone who is visually impaired or blind
  • Alerting a person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Helping someone with mobility or balance
  • Alerting others and protecting someone having a seizure
  • Retrieving objects
  • Bringing attention to the presence of allergens
  • Providing physical support and help with balance and stability to someone with a mobility disability
  • Helping someone with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors and/or patterns
  • Reminding someone living with a mental illness to take their prescribed medications
  • Calming someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack
  • Doing other specific work or performing other special tasks
  • SSigDOGs are Sensory Signal Dogs or Social Signal Dogs. These are 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.
  • 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 Tasks (K9 Total Focus)

Siberian Husky service dog in training Indiana
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Siberian Husky Service Dog in Training (SDiT) @the.borealis.pack

Documentation

  • There is no formal service animal certification process or paperwork that is recognized by Indiana or the federal government
  • Having said that, air carriers (airlines), employers, and housing providers such as landlords may require certain and specific documentation
  • Documentation may not be required for public access as a condition of entry (prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act).
Medical Alert Service Dog Indiana
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Medical Alert Service Dog @cricket_n_saraphena

The following items are not required for an animal to qualify as a service dog no matter which service dog laws Idaho we are talking about:

  • Service dog vest
  • Service dog markings of any kind
  • Documentation

Vests, service dog markings, and service dog documentation can not be used as a reliable indication of whether an animal is legally a service dog.

A therapy dog/animal, emotional support animal, or another animal wearing a vest or having a special marking, does not make these types of dogs a service animal.

Miniature Horses

Technically speaking, only dogs are service animals under the federal ADA definition of 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
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“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse @flirty.the.mini.service.horse

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
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“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse @flirty.the.mini.service.horse

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
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“Flirty” The Mini Service Horse @flirty.the.mini.service.horse

Therapy Dogs

Let’s just briefly discuss what therapy dogs are and aren’t, since many people aren’t sure and it can be confusing as there are so many amazing types of dogs in the world! Lucky humans, we are indeed.

A therapy dog is not a service dog, and that’s because therapy dogs aren’t trained to do “work or tasks” for an individual’s disability. Plain and simple.

What is a therapy dog
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Therapy dogs are not considered service dogs.

A therapy dog is usually someone’s pet that enjoys meeting a large number of different people in different settings. The people who are fortunate enough to spend time with a therapy dog receive great benefits, such as reduced anxiety and added joy. They often visit places such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other settings where the stress in people may likely be high.

Therapy Dogs Indiana
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Therapy Dog “Eddie” with “Boomer” @eddieandboomer

Service Animal Fees

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 Indiana 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
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Service Dog “Kodiak” @dog.human.duo

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 service animal
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Canadian Multipurpose Service Dog “Everest” @katelynburelle

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 Indiana USA
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Border Collie Service Dog @celestialbordercollies

Info For Businesses

It’s obviously important for businesses and other “covered entities” to be aware of service dog laws in Indiana as well as federal laws. If not, they could be accused of discrimination.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the following:

  • Asking about a disability
  • Requiring medical documentation
  • Requiring a special identification card or training documentation for the dog (or mini horse)
  • Ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task
  • Charge an extra fee because of the animal
  • Segregate the customer with a disability from other customers

Permitted Questions to Ask

If the reason for the service dog is obvious, then businesses and other covered entities may not inquire about the use of the animal. When it’s not obvious – and many disabilities are invisible – businesses may only ask two questions to someone using a service dog. That’s it.

The questions are:

(1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability ?

(2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Medical Alert Service Dog Indiana
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Medical Alert Service Dog @cricket_n_saraphena

Employment

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against disabled people in employment situations in Indiana and federally. 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 on our blog: Federal ADA Workplace Accommodation Guide

Husky Service Dog Indiana
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“Kylie’s Lucy On Duty” (Lucy) Service Dog @lucytheservicesibe

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 on our blog: 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.

psychiatric Service Dog
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Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” @sarge.in.service

Training & Service Animals in Training (SDiT) in Indiana

Service dogs in Indiana and other states do not need to be trained by a professional service dog training program, or professional trainer (under the ADA laws). But, they do need to be trained by somebody.

service dog in training Indiana
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Service Dog in Training (SDiT) “Bishop”

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.

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 Indiana
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“Kylie’s Where I Go, You Go” (Hugo) Service Dog In Training (SDiT)@lucytheservicesibe

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

Indiana Service Dog In Training Laws
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(d) A service animal trainer, while engaged in the training process of a service animal, is entitled to access to any public accommodation granted by this section.

Indiana Code

How Do I Make My Dog a Service Dog in Indiana?

Stop making that sound so easy! To make your dog a service dog in Indiana, 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 .

Even though service animals do not need to be professionally trained by an organization or school, they do need to be trained for their 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
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Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piper

Transportation

As we’ve already talked about, service animals perform various work or tasks to help someone with a disability to live safely and independently. U.S. Department of Transportation 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 Indiana
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Psychiatric Service Dog “Sarge” @sarge.in.service

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.

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 three boarding steps and a 12-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 Indiana
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Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piper

Questions & Help

The Great Lakes ADA Center serves Indiana as part of its region. They offer FREE ADA help if you have a question about your rights or obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA-INDIANA

2810 East Discovery Parkway
Bloomington, IN 47408
Phone: 812-855-6508
Email: adainfo@iu.edu

Autism Service Dog Indiana
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Goldendoodle Autism Service Dog “Piper” @bri.and.piper

File a Complaint with Indiana Civil Rights Commission

Everyone in Indiana is protected against acts of unlawful discrimination by federal, state, and local laws. Anyone can file an official complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC).

There is no fee for this service.

Steps for Filing a Complaint of Discrimination
You can submit a claim in one of the following ways:

Telephone: 
317-232-2600

800-628-6580 (Toll free)

By Mail: 
Indiana Civil Rights Commission
100 North Senate Avenue, Room N300
Indianapolis, IN 46204

In Person:
100 North Senate Avenue, Room N300
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Online Complaint Form:
Click Here

ICRC will screen your claim to determine if it meets guidelines

If your claim meets guidelines, ICRC will assist you in drafting a Complaint of Discrimination form

If you return the signed form within the statute of limitations (180 days for employment, public accommodations, credit, and education or 1 year for housing cases), an ICRC intake officer will review all documents to determine eligibility. If eligibility is approved, you will be assigned an investigator for merit determination and recommendation.

When a finding is established, a copy of the finding will be submitted to you and to the respondent. In cases of employment discrimination, ICRC will send a copy of the determination to the EEOC. In cases of housing discrimination, ICRC will send a copy of the determination to HUD.

Remedies are available for employment discrimination may include back pay, promotion, front pay, reinstatement and reasonable accommodations.

Indiana Civil Rights Commission
Goldendoodle medical alert service dog
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Goldendoodle Medical Alert Service Dog “Koda” @thatlilbearkoda
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