Service Dog Laws Nevada – Introduction
Service dog laws Nevada require that a specially trained service dog 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.
In this detailed guide, we’ll go through some of the most common questions about service dogs in the state of Nevada. This includes where they are allowed in public, housing information, what businesses need to know, plus much more. For a related article, check out my guide to Emotional Support Animal Laws in Nevada.
Table of Contents
Summary of Service Dog Laws Nevada
Part of the reason why service dogs can be so confusing is that there are multiple laws around them. Things can seem confusing fast, especially when there are sometimes fake service dogs. Here is a summary of the different laws relevant to Nevada and their main purpose in general.
- 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 taking to the skies with their handler. 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
- Nevada State Statutes (NRS) – These are passed by state legislature and signed into law by the Nevada governor
- Section 504 – is similar to the ADA, and protects the rights of students with disabilities in educational settings.
- IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – is yet another law that in place for students with disabilities in the United States.
Service Animal Definitions
Since there are different service animal definitions depending on the context, 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:
- State and local government
- Public accommodations
- Commercial facilities
- 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.
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.”
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.”Read more on our blog: American Airlines Service Dog Info – The Easy Guide
Nevada State Definition
“A service animal is a dog, and/or a miniature horse, that is individually trained to do work, or perform tasks for a person with a disability.” (NRS 426.097)
Register & Certify Your Service Dog in Nevada
The truth is that you are not legally required to register or certify a service dog in Nevada or any other state in the U.S. Registration and certification done online from non-government websites does not convey any legal rights under the ADA or the Department of Justice.
Buying a piece of paper and other paraphernalia 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 “Work” or “Tasks”
No matter what definition you look at, almost all of them include a stipulation that a service animal do “work” or “tasks” for a particular person’s disability. (Except the FHA Fair Housing Act definition includes emotional support animals, who usually don’t do “tasks”).
So let’s talk a bit more about what these tasks are, exactly. It’s important to know that the tasks are varied and wide-ranging. There are a large number of different tasks that service animals can do.
Here are some common examples of service animal work or tasks. Not an exhaustive list by any means.
- Guiding a person who is blind or can’t see well
- Alerting someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to sounds (like their name, a knock at the door, a smoke alarm, or even intruders)
- Providing reasonable protection
- Pulling a wheelchair
- Grabbing dropped items
- Carrying grocery bags
- Paying for items with a bank/credit card
- Opening and closing doors
- Assisting someone during a seizure
- Providing physical support and/or balance and stability
- Reminding someone with an intellectual disability to take a medication
- Keeping a child with a disability safe and from wandering off and getting lost
- Autism assistance
- Helping someone with a psychiatric or neurological condition by interrupting problem behaviour (As one example, read about how DPT Service Dogs help people with PTSD and other conditions)
- Read more: The Giant List of Service Dog Tasks
Think of a service dog as an aid that helps someone with a disability to better access services (or to be able to better access and enjoy life in general), much like a wheelchair or cane. Service animals are not pets, even though they may appear like pets.
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.
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.
Companion animals do not qualify as service animals under Titles II (public services) or Title III (public accommodations) of the ADA, but they may be approved as a reasonable accommodation under Title I (employment). Check out our full federal ADA workplace accommodations guide for more info.
In Nevada, companion animals are defined as any animal that provides comfort, companionship, or emotional support. In other words, animals that are not task-trained.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are not considered service animals in terms of the ADA (public access section) or the ACAA (air travel). However, emotional support animals (ESAs) are included in the FHA (Fair Housing Act’s) definition of assistance animals. Check out my article on Nevada Emotional Support Animal Laws to learn more.
Fees for Service Animals
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, and NRS.
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.
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.
- There is no formal service animal certification process or paperwork that is recognized by Nevada State 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
Identification & Service Dog Vests
Service animal vests, dog tags, identification tags and other “working animal” accessories are not legally required or recognized. Many people still use these types of things to make it easier for other people in public to identify a service animal.
A dog license and/or rabies tag are necessary if those are required by Nevada State or local laws.
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
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.
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 for miniature horses whenever possible. Reasonable modifications need to be made in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by person with a disability.
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
Where do Nevada Statues apply?
- Places of public accommodation (NRS 651.050)
- Public services, programs, and activities (NRS 651.050)
- State government services, programs, and activities (NRS 651.050)
- Public transportation (NRS 704.145)
- Private transportation (NRS 704.145)
Info For Businesses
It’s obviously important for businesses and other “covered entities” to be aware of service dog laws Nevada as well as the 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?
Where Are Service Animals Allowed?
The Nevada State Statutes (NRS 651.075) and Title III of the ADA require a reasonable accommodation in places of public accommodation. (42 U.S.C. 12182)
What does this mean? Public businesses and other “covered entities” need to modify their policies and practices in order to allow the use of service animals by people with disabilities. This will be true unless a place of business or another entity can demonstrate that it would result in a fundamental alteration to their program and/or services.
A “fundamental alteration” is a change that is significant; so significant that it alters the essential nature of the business. In other words, the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and/or accommodations offered.
Service animals can go generally wherever the public may go. A few exceptions include sterile environments in hospitals (operating room, for example) and religious organizations.
- Recreational facilities
- Doctors’ or lawyers’ offices
- Most other places the public can access
- Read more on our blog: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?
If you or someone you know feel you have been discriminated against by a business or another covered entity in Nevada, you have several options.
Option 1 – You may send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, and include the following information:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your telephone number
- The name of the party discriminated against
- The name of the business, organization, or institution you believe has discriminated
- A description of the act or acts of discrimination
- The date or dates of the discriminatory acts
- The name or names of the individuals who you believe discriminated
- Any other information you think may be relevant to your claim
- You can send copies of relevant documents (keep original documents)
Sign and send the letter to:
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section – 1425 NYAVE
Washington, D.C. 20530
Option 2 – You may also file a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC).
The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) is committed to investigating complaints of discrimination in public spaces, including (but not limited to):
- Private schools
- Other places of education
- Other facilities where food or spirits are sold
- Places of recreation
- Transportation terminals
Any person who believes they have been denied full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation because of discrimination or segregation based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity or expression, may file a complaint to that effect with the NERC. (NRS 651.110)
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against disabled people in employment situations. In addition, it requires reasonable accommodation at the employee’s request. (42 U.S.C. 12111)
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
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
- Anxiety disorders
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 dogs 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.
Service Dogs in Training (SDiT)
Service dogs 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.
Many people train their dog 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
Nevada State SDiT Laws
In Nevada State, service animals in training are given the same public access rights as fully trained service dogs. If a service dog in training causes damage, the handler will be responsible for the charges.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5 and NRS 644.472, (cosmetology establishments) it is unlawful for a place of public accommodation to:
(a) Refuse admittance or service to a person with a disability because the person is accompanied by a service animal.
(b) Refuse admittance or service to a person who is training a service animal because the person is accompanied by a service animal in training.
(c) Refuse to permit an employee of the place of public accommodation who is training a service animal to bring the service animal in training into:Nevada Code
Here are a few additional resources for Nevada State specifically.
Service Dog Training Options / Trainers / Programs
Dog Training by PJ
5303 Louie Lane #19
Reno, NV 89511
4161 N. Rancho Drive #120
Las Vegas, NV 89130
4544 W Russell Road
Las Vegas, NV 89118
Canine Companions for Independence®
NW Regional Campus (covers – Northern
Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska
2965 Dutton Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Canine Companions for Independence®
SW Regional Campus (covers – Southern
Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Arkansas, Southern California and Hawaii)
124 Rancho del Oro Drive
Oceanside, CA 92057
- Service Animals – Nevada Disability and Law Centre
- Nevada Revised Statutes
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- U.S. Department of Justice
- Assistance Animals – U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
- Service Animals – U.S. Department of Transportation