Service Dog Laws Minnesota – Basic Guide, FAQ + more (2022)

minnesota service dog laws

Service dog laws and information can be so confusing, and service dog laws Minnesota are not really an exception. In this article, we will go through the federal service dog laws, any laws specific to Minnesota, as well as some commonly asked questions and answers.

service dog laws Minnesota
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What is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are defined in different ways for different purposes. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities ActOpens in a new tab. governs the use of service animals for public access rights.

For air travel situations, the ACAA or Air Carrier Access ActOpens in a new tab. governs the use of service animals, and has a separate definition from the ADA.Opens in a new tab.

The FHA or Fair Housing Act Opens in a new tab.has yet another definition of what they call assistance animal for housing purposes. This definition is more broad, and includes emotional support animals.

Under the ADA, Opens in a new tab.which is the most commonly needed definition, a service dog is any dog that has been individually trained to do work or tasks for someone living with a disability.

The work or tasks must be directly related to the disability. The work or tasks must help to mitigate at least some of the effects of the disability. Service dogs can be any kind, type, size, and breed of dog.

If you have a disability, you are eligible to have a service dog in Minnesota and other states. Service dogs help people to more fully participate in everyday life activities. Some of the tasks the dogs can do are seemingly minor, while others are literally lifesaving.

Read more: ADA Service Dog Laws Federal Summary Opens in a new tab.

service dog laws Minnesota
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How Do I Make My Dog a Service Dog in Minnesota?

To make your dog a service dog in Minnesota, you must have a disability, and a disability-related need for the animal. Begin your service dog training journey, and when your dog is fully trained to act properly in public, and perform specific tasks that mitigate the effect(s) of your disability, then your dog is a service dog, with public access rights.

*Note that Minnesota specifically gives rights to service dogs in training. Under the ADA, service dogs in training are not covered, but certain states may cover them. Be sure to check with each state before assuming.

Buying one of them pieces of paper off the internet from illegitimate “service dog registration” websites does not turn a dog into a service dog! A service dog by definition is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or tasks for someone living with a disability.

Service dogs don’t need to be certified, registered, or professionally trained, but they do need to be trained (perhaps by you). People who use service dogs have the right to train the dog themselves. So, if your dog is fully trained to perform specific work or tasks for your particular disability, then your dog is indeed a service dog.

service dog laws Minnesota
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What Are Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are often dogs, but may be another type of animal, that provide comfort and companionship by their mere presence.

ESAs are not considered service dogs under the ADA definition, simply because they are not trained to do work or tasks for a specific person’s disability.

Emotional support animals are often not trained at all, I mean above and beyond the basic dog training. Nevertheless, these animals help a lot of people to better manage living with different conditions and disabilities.

The main thing to know about emotional support animals is that they do not have public access rights, as service dogs do. Nor do they have rights under the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) for air travel.

However, under the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals are included in their definition of assistance animal. This basically means that people who have emotional support animals can make a request for a reasonable accommodation to their housing provider.

This is commonly in the form of waiving a pet deposit, or making an exception to a “no pets” policy, or perhaps a policy that may restrict a certain size, weight, or type of animal.

Read more: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog

What are service dogs Minnesota
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Can a Landlord Deny an Emotional Support Animal in Minnesota?

The short answer is: No. Not unless there’s a really good reason. Housing providers, under the Fair Housing Act, may not refuse to make a reasonable accommodation to their pet or animal policies when these are necessary for equal access opportunities, for people with disabilities.

Under the Fair Housing Act, people with a disability can request to keep an assistance animal (service dog, emotional support dog, emotional support animal) as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet or animal restrictions.

Housing providers may not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices, or services when the accommodations requested are necessary to allow a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a suite or dwelling.

The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet all the following conditions:

  • A reasonable accommodation request was made to the housing provider
  • The request was supported by reliable disability-related information
  • The housing provider has not demonstrated that:
    • Granting the request would impose an undue financial and/or administrative burden on them
    • The request would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the operations
    • The specific animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others
    • The request would not result in significant physical damage to the property of others
Can a landlord deny an emotional support animal in MN?
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Service Animals in Training

Under the ADA laws, service animals in training are not covered. In other words, service dogs are not allowed to go into public places until they are fully trained.

However, individual states may vary with their laws.

Minnesota statute 256C.02Opens in a new tab. states that, in Minnesota, service animals in training have the same rights as service animals and are allowed in places of public accommodation. This is a Minnesota state law, it is not in the ADA.

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Where Are Service Dogs Allowed, Anyway?

Technically speaking, it is actually the person using the service dog who has the rights. But anyway, service dog teams, let’s call them, are allowed basically anywhere the public can go. There are a few exceptions.

Read more:

Where are service dogs allowed in Minnesota?
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How Do I Get a Service Dog for Anxiety in MN?

Well, the first thing to ask yourself is, “Do I need a service dog, or do I need an emotional support dog?” This can get tricky. If the dog would comfort you just by being there, then it’s an emotional support dog. If the dog is task-trained to do something after a specific event (like a panic attack), such as bring you medication and a water bottle, then that would be considered a service dog.

Since emotional support dogs don’t need to be trained, you may be able to go about finding one at your local animal shelter or perhaps local listings. If it’s a service dog you need, it’s not so simple to figure out how to get the perfect dog, or even where to start. Check out our Service Dog Training FAQ page to learn a bit more.

But basically, there are a few options for how to get a service dog like an anxiety service dog in MN.

  • Get a dog or use a dog you already have and train the dog yourself
  • Get some help training your dog by a dog trainer from your area
  • You may be able to get a service dog through an organization. These organizations are simply amazing, but there are often long wait lists
  • These days, you may be able to find a dog trainer that you can meet over Zoom (or online somewhere)

Many people are choosing to train their dog themselves. But of course, this isn’t an easy thing to do. Some people are of course not able to do this.

Minnesota service dog 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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