Service Dog Laws In Maine

There are multiple laws that govern the use of service 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.

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)
service  dog laws in maine

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.

Maine State Service Animal Definition

maine state service animal definition

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

A Service Animal is an animal that has been deemed necessary by a doctor, psychologist, 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.


A service animal is an animal 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

ADA Definition of Service Dog

ADA definition of service dog

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.

Fair Housing Act Definition of Assistance Animal

fair housing act definition of assistance animal

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

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, sensory, 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.

Sam Amy Nelson

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

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