Service Dog Laws New Hampshire & FAQs
If you’re slightly confused about the service dog laws New Hampshire, you aren’t alone. Service animals are becoming more common, and so is the confusion surrounding them. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into service dog laws New Hampshire.
Also, we’ll go through the federal ADA laws, and answer some of the most common frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this subject. There are multiple laws that govern the use of these special animals, and we’ll get into all the details right now.
Or skip to: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws – Easy Guide & FAQs
Jump to a section:
- Multiple Service Animal Laws
- Service Animal Definitions
- ADA Definition
- FHA Definition – Housing
- ACAA Definition – Air Travel
- What is a Therapy Animal?
- What is a Disability Under the ADA?
- Where are Service Dogs Allowed?
- Emotional Support Animals
- Psychiatric Service Dog
- Disability-Related Tasks
- Service Animal Trainers
- Permanent Municipal Registration and Licensing for a Service Dog
- Service Dog Registration
- Fake Registration & Certification
- Who Qualifies for a Service Animal?
Multiple Service Animal Laws
It’s good to be aware that there are multiple laws that govern the use of service animals and the people who use them. This is part of the confusion around these animals.
- 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.
- 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.
Read more: Federal ADA Service Dog Laws – Summary & FAQ
Service Animal Definitions
The ADA Service Animal Definition for Public Access Rights
The 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. And, the work must help to mitigate at least some of the effects of that disability.
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.
What is a Therapy Animal?
A Therapy Dog is sometimes confused with a service dog. But, therapy dogs are not service dogs. A therapy dog is someone’s pet. It has been:
- Trained, tested, registered, and insured to go with its owner to visit patients and residents of hospitals, nursing homes, and sometimes other places, to ease stress, and bring joy to the people there.
- Therapy dogs are not been trained to perform a specific disability mitigating task. Therefore, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA laws.
- A therapy dog is legally a pet. It can’t go anywhere that pets aren’t allowed without permission from the facility owner.
Read more: Training a Therapy Dog – the Ultimate Guide
What is a Disability Under the ADA?
In order to be protected by the ADA laws, someone must have a disability. Or, have a relationship or association with someone who has a disability. But what is a disability according to the ADA laws?
According to the ADA, a person with a disability:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- Has a history or record of such impairment
- Or who is perceived by others as having such impairment
- The ADA doesn’t specifically name all impairments that are covered
Where Are Service Dogs Allowed?
- Under the ADA laws, service dogs are allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere that an individual with disability is allowed to enter
- In other words, nearly anywhere that the general public is allowed or invited to go (there are a few exceptions)
- This includes grocery stores, malls, movie theatres, restaurants, buses, taxis, community centres, government buildings, etc.
In other words, businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service dogs into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go.
This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including:
- Grocery stores
- Department stores
- Medical offices
- Health clubs
- + more
Read more: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?
Emotional Support Animals
You may have heard about Emotional Support Animals, or ESAs. What’s an ESA?
- An Emotional Support Animal belongs to someone living with a disability
- A mental health professional determines that the animal is necessary for mental health reasons, and has written a prescription which states the ESA is necessary in someones home
- Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, because they are not trained to perform a certain task or “work” or job for someone
Read more: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog
Psychiatric Service Dog
Psychiatric Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals aren’t the same.
- If a dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal (psychiatric service dog).
- However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, and the dog is not trained to do a task for a specific person’s disability, then that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA (emotional support animal).
Read more: Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks – 17 Examples
- Disability-Related Tasks are tasks that a service dog has been trained to do and that mitigate the effects of a person’s disabling condition (disability)
- These tasks are the legal basis for granting access rights to service dog handlers with disabilities under the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
Service Animal Trainers in New Hampshire
What is a service animal trainer in New Hampshire? A service animal trainer is:
- Any person who is employed to train dogs to be service animals
- Someone who is volunteering to raise dogs for a provider of service animals for people with disabilities
- An individual trainer who helps a person with disabilities to train his or her own service animal
- An individual trainer who tests an animal to verify its eligibility for the New Hampshire service animal tag
Read more: Service Dog Training Basics & FAQ
Permanent Municipal Registration and Licensing for a Service Dog
While the ADA does not require service dog registration, service dogs are not exempt from local dog licensing requirements that apply to all dogs. Dog owners in local cities and towns must register their dog with their City Hall.
For service dogs in New Hampshire, a Permanent Service Dog Tag Registration is a way for an owner to permanently register their Service Animal with their city or town.
Service dog owners must pay a onetime fee, not the recurring yearly registration fee for all pets.
Owners of a certified Service Animal are required to provide an ID card or diploma from an accredited dog training facility such as (but not limited to):
- Guide Dog Foundation
- The Seeing Eye, Inc.
- Paws with a Cause
- NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans
- Canine Companions for Independence
For owner-trained service dogs, a letter on letterhead from a certified dog trainer is required, stating that the dog has passed the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Test (ADI PAT).
In addition, a letter from a healthcare professional is requires. This letter must state that you require the use of a service dog, in order to perform tasks directly related to your disability.
You do not need to disclose the disability. This is in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPA).
- Reference: NH Governors Commission on Disability
Service Dog Registration
Contrary to popular belief, there are no standards or procedures in place for certifying or registering Service Animals under U.S. federal law. The ADA does not require service animals to be registered or certified as a condition of entry.
However, someone who uses a service dog must meet the legal definition of “disability.”
In addition, the service dog dog must be individually trained to perform tasks or “work” that mitigates the owner’s disability.
Service Dogs must also behave properly in public. This means no unwelcome sounds, unwanted contact with others, or disrupting of a business.
Service Animals that pose a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others, by growling or lunging can be banned from public access. Service animals can also be banned if they are not housebroken, and if they are not under control of their handler.
Read more about the ADA federal service dog laws.
It is important to note that it is the owner who has access rights and not the service dog itself. A Service Dog without its handler has no particular access rights of its own.
Fake Service Dog Registration & Certification
You may have noticed that there are several “resources” online that frankly offer fake service dog certifications or registrations in order to make a profit.
Real service dogs do not require certification. Buying one of these pieces of papers online does not turn a dog into a service dog.
You can spot these fake certification or registration places, many of them online, because they will sell their products to anyone. This is without ever actually training or evaluating the dog themselves. They are making a quick buck off unsuspecting people.
It seems that they are being used by pet owners that want an easy way to get their non-service animal pet into public places and gain access to public facilities where their pet would otherwise not be allowed.
Unfortunately, these businesses do a disservice to real service animals.
In addition to taking money from people with disabilities, false service dog registrations or certifications can diminish the reputation of real service dogs by behaving like a regular pet, rather than providing the highly trained services that helps with a person’s disability.
Who Qualifies for a Service Animal?
The ADA defines an individual with a disability as:
- A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- A person who has a history or record of such impairment
- Or a person who is perceived by others as having such impairment
The ADA does not limit the type of disabilities for which service dogs can
be used. There is great flexibility with regard to the nature and severity of someone’s physical or mental “disability.”
The basic idea behind the ADA law is that if you have any condition that makes it hard to perform, or limits an important life activity, you will qualify.
The life activity might only be a problem during certain times. One example is dizziness. This can lead to balance problems, low blood sugar or seizures.
The Governor’s Commission on Disability
- email Disability@gcd.nh.gov