Service Dog Laws Oklahoma: Comprehensive 2021 Resource Guide


Jump to a section:

  1. Definition of Service Dog
  2. Emotional Support Animals & Therapy Animals
  3. Info For Businesses
  4. Certifications, Registration & Documents
  5. Asking Questions to People With Service Dogs
  6. When a Service Dog Can Be Excluded
  7. Responsibilities of Service Dog Handlers
  8. Fear of Dogs & Allergies
  9. Service Dog Handler’s Rights
  10. Public Accommodations & Facilities
  11. Service Dogs & Employment
  12. Service Dogs & Housing
  13. Schools & Educational Settings
  14. Transportation
  15. Service Dogs-In-Training
  16. Cost of Service Dogs

The world of service dogs can be confusing. Even though people who use service dogs are protected and governed by the ADAOpens in a new tab. (Americans with Disabilities Act) in the United States, each state may also have particular laws and regulations.

In the case where there are federal as well as state laws around service dogs, a person can choose to follow whichever laws provide them with what they need.

These laws regard service dogs and the people who use them. Service dog laws Oklahoma: the complete guide for 2021 is here. We have gathered all of the necessary and relevant information and compiled it here into a convenient but formidable guide.

service dog laws oklahoma

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – Service Dog Definition

service dog definition oklahoma

The definition of a service animal is the same for all states. It is governed by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

A service animal is any dog that has been individually trained to do tasks or work for the benefit of a person living with a disability. The tasks and/or work the dog performs must be directly related to a specific person’s disability.

Technically, service animals must be dogs. However, some people use a miniature horse. Businesses need to assess any situation where a miniature horse is present and make reasonable accommodations for those folks whenever possible.

oklahoma service dog laws

Some examples of types of disabilities include:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Sensory
  • Mental
  • Psychiatric

Just a few examples of the types of tasks or work that service dogs perform are:

  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Picking up dropped items, turning on/off lights
  • Keeping a disoriented person from danger
  • Providing a distraction from repetitive movements
  • Predicting or responding to a seizure
  • Alerting someone to a certain sound
  • Reminding someone to take medication
  • Doing safety checks
  • Pressing a button such as an elevator button
  • Guide dogs for those who are blind or have limited vision

Emotional Support Animals & Therapy Animals Oklahoma

oklahoma emotional support dogs

When discussing service dog laws Oklahoma, it’s good to note the many different kinds of working animals and to realize that it can be confusing to distinguish the different types.

A doctor’s letter does not turn an animal into a service dog. What makes a service dog a service dog is the ability to do work or tasks for a person’s specific disability.

Therefore, emotional support animals, comfort animals, therapy dogs, or any other dog that simply provides comfort to someone by it’s mere presence is not a service dog under the ADA.

Having said that, it’s important to note that emotional support animals are important, and have rights when it comes to housing situations. For public access, a business can say “no” to an emotional support animal, but not to a service dog.

Emotional support animals are not service dogs

In housing situations, the permission to use an emotional support animal can be requested as a reasonable accommodation. It must be presented as a doctor’s letter that indicates the need, regardless of “no pets” policies. Emotional support animals and service dogs are not pets.

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma Info For Businesses

service dog laws info for businesses

Certifications, Registration & Documents

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is responsible for governing those who are living with disabilities and service dogs. According to ADA regulations, service dogs do not need to be certifiedOpens in a new tab., registered, officially trained, or provide documentation.

Businesses may not ask a person with a disability who is with a service dog to provide any kind of proof or documentation. This includes documents for certification, training, or a license. People with disabilities have a right to train their dog(s) themselves.

There are places online that people can obtain these documents. These documents are not legitimate, and they aren’t necessary. They are not endorsed by the ADA. The only thing that happens when people buy them is someone else makes money.

Asking Questions To People With Service Dogs

Businesses may only ask two questions of someone who is wanting their service dog to be included in a public facility, program, or service:

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

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

If the answer is yes, and the person describes the work that the dog has been trained to do, then the service dog must be allowed.

If not, it is discrimination.

Businesses and entities are not permitted to ask personal questions, such as about the nature or extent of a disability.

Other Information For Businesses

oklahoma service dog fees

Businesses may not require a special fee because of a service dog, even when there is normally a surcharge for people with pets.

People with service dogs must be treated the same as other folks who do not have service dogs.

In cases where damages are charged to people without service dogs, people with service dogs may be charged if their service dog caused damage. That’s fair enough.

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – When a Service Dog Can Be Excluded

when service dogs can be excluded in oklahoma

Service dogs must be permitted to any public facility or public service where members of the public are normally allowed and invited to go.

However, there are a few instances when a service dog can be excluded. In other words, kicked out.

Service dogs may be excluded when:

  • The dog is not in the handler’s control
  • The dog is not house broken (i.e. it “goes to the bathroom” at an inappropriate place)
  • Uncontrolled barking
  • If the dog jumps on people
  • If the dog runs away from its handler
  • If the dog is disruptive
  • If the dog’s behavior is a direct threat to the heath and safety of others
  • If the dog is growling at people

Businesses and other entities are not required to supervise, take care of, or clean up after a service dog.

Service dogs may not be excluded based on breed, even if state or local laws prohibit a certain breed.

Fear of Dogs & Allergies

fear of service dogs and allergies

Service dogs may not be excluded based on a fear of dogs or an allergy to dogs. Most allergic reactions to animal happen with direct contact with the animal, so creating space can often be the solution here.

If there is a greater risk of a more serious allergic reaction, it’s up to the business or other entity to come up with a creative solution. This is so that all patrons (both the person with the service dog and the person with the allergy) are as comfortable as possible.

Responsibilities of Service Dog Handlers

Service dog handlers (people who use service dogs) need to keep their dog under control. The dog could be controlled by a leash, tether, harness, or simply, voice control.

Service dogs are required to receive all required vaccinations as per local and state laws.

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – Service Dog Handler’s Rights

oklahoma service dog handlers rights

Public Accommodations & Facilities

Service dogs in Oklahoma must be allowed to go with their handler anywhere the public is normally allowed to go.

Businesses that have “no pets” policies must still allow service dogs because service dogs are not pets.

Service Dogs & Employment

service dogs and employment oklahoma

Discrimination because of a disability is illegal. Employers in Oklahoma and all states are required to provide reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable accommodation could mean allowing a person with a service dog or an emotional support animal to bring the animal to work.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Opens in a new tab.enforces the employment division of the ADA.

If a disability isn’t obvious and/or the reason why the animal is needed isn’t clear, an employer may ask for documentation. This documentation can establish that the disability indeed exists.

Many disabilities are invisible. In addition, it can briefly outline how the dog would be able to assist the person with their job.

Sometimes, the employee may suggest that they be allowed to bring their service dog to work on a trial basis.

Service dogs and emotional support dogs may be excluded from the workplace if they pose a direct threat in the workplace or if they pose undue hardship.

Service Dogs & Housing

service dog housing oklahoma

People with disabilities are protected against discrimination in housing situations by the Fair Housing ActOpens in a new tab. (FHA). Landlords and housing associations must provide reasonable accommodation and equal opportunity to people with disabilities to enjoy and use a dwelling.

Emotional support animals that do not qualify as a service dog under the ADA rules, may still be able to qualify as reasonable accommodation under the FHA, as they are defined differently.

Reasonable accommodations may include waiving a pet fee or pet deposit, as service dogs and emotional support dogs are not pets. They are not subject to “no pets” policies.

While landlords and housing associations aren’t permitted to ask personal information about a disability, they can request documentation. This can be a basic doctor’s note, or a written statement by the tenant.

It must indicate the following:

  • That the person seeking tenancy, or perhaps it is a member of their family, is indeed a person who is living with a disability
  • That the need for the dog is to help the person with their specific disability
  • That the dog actually does assist the person with their disability in their day-to-day life

The ADA rules still apply to student housing, and people with disabilities who need student housing are not required to provide this documentation.

Service Dogs In Schools & Education Settings

service dog oklahoma education

Post-Secondary Educational Institutions

According to the ADA rules, colleges and universities and other post-secondary institutions must not discriminate against people with disabilities. They must allow people with disabilities to bring along their service dog anywhere that is open to the public or open to students.

  • Students may be required to register as a student with a disability with their school’s Disability Services Coordinator
  • Educational institutions must not require documentation, certification, or proof of service dog training
  • Educational institutions may require proof of vaccinations, when they are required by all animals as per local and state laws

Service Animals In K-12 Public Schools In Oklahoma

Students with disabilities are permitted to have their dog at school as per the ADA. If the dog does not meet the ADA requirements, students may still be able to use their animal at school as per the Individuals with Disabilities Education ActOpens in a new tab. (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Opens in a new tab.

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – Transportation

service dog laws oklahoma transportation

People with disabilities who travel with a service dog must not be denied access to transportation.

  • “No pets” policies do not apply; service dogs are not pets
  • People with disabilities must not be directed to sit in a particular location
  • Additional fees must not be charged to a person because of the presence of their service dog
  • Advanced notice that a person will be traveling with a service dog is not required

These laws are in effect for both private and public transportation services and providers and includes:

  • Taxicabs
  • Fixed-route buses
  • Para-transit
  • Rail
  • Light-rail
  • Shuttles
  • Limousines

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – Dogs-In-Training

service dog in training

Service dog laws Oklahoma includes some different rules and requirements whether we are talking about air travel, employment, or public access rights.

Service Dogs-In-Training & Air Travel

According to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)Opens in a new tab., service dogs-in-training don’t meet the legal definition of a service animal. Therefore, these service animals in-training are not generally allowed in the cabin of an aircraft.

However, airline policies vary, so check with a particular airline to see if a service dog-in-training may qualify. Sometimes, service dogs-in-training, along with their trainers, are allowed in the cabin for training purposes.

Service Dogs-In-Training & Employment

service dogs in training and employment

Employers may be obligated to allow employees to bring their service dog-in-training to work, as a reasonable accommodation. This is especially true if the dog is being trained to help the employee with tasks related to the employees’ job or work.

However, the service dog-in-training may be excluded if it becomes a workplace distraction. Or, if it causes undue hardship in the workplace.

Service Dog Laws Oklahoma – The Cost of Service Dogs

cost of service dog oklahoma

It can cost more than $50,000 to train a service dog from the time they are a puppy to the time they are to begin working, which is normally around two years old.

However, organizations often provide service dogs to people with disabilities free of charge, or for a small fee.

There are several options for how to get a service dog; getting one from a service dog organization is just one method.

Having said that, it’s good to realize that a dog – whether it is a service dog or not – will continually cost a certain amount for the duration of their life. Dogs need food, veterinary visits, possibly insurance, possibly some grooming, and perhaps some other things that cost money.

Sam Amy Nelson

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

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