Welcome To Service Dog Laws Oregon – A Deep Dive
Welcome to our service dog laws in Oregon guide and FAQ page, updated for 2023.
Service dog laws in Oregon require that a specially trained service dog (sometimes called an assistance 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 Oregon. This includes where they are allowed in public, housing information, what businesses need to know, plus much more.
This can be complicated stuff, but hopefully, we’ve made it easier to understand each topic around service animals, even though the laws on them are often many and intertwined.
Table of Contents
The service dog laws in Oregon state that animals and pets are not allowed in Oregon’s grocery stores, restaurants, and other food establishments. However, since service dogs are not pets, they’re the only exception to the law. Fake service dogs are not allowed. Service dogs are allowed in Airbnb.
Where can service dogs go?
In brief, service animals may go with their (legally disabled) handler wherever the public can go. There are a few exceptions, like sterile hospital environments and religious organizations.
Service dogs of any breed may go to malls, restaurants, grocery stores, movie theatres, community centers, schools, buses, taxis, hotels, Airbnb, amusement parks, doctor’s offices, hospitals, trains, and National Parks, just as a few examples.
Emotional support & comfort animals
Emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, comfort dogs, and companion dogs are not allowed in restaurants or other public places, since they don’t fit the ADA’s (which manages public access rights) definition of a service animal.
However, emotional support animals and companion animals may be approved as reasonable accommodations in housing situations.
ADA definition of a service animal
As per the ADA definition, a service animal is a dog of any breed that has been individually trained for a person with a disability, and the job or tasks the dog does relate directly to the person’s disability.
Some people use a miniature horse instead of a dog, and these need to be accommodated whenever possible.
Examples of work or tasks
Some examples of work or tasks that a service dog can do for a person with a disability are pulling a wheelchair, guiding someone who is blind, protecting someone who lives with a seizure disorder, reminding someone to take medication, and many other tasks.
Where Do Oregon State Service Dog Laws Apply?
- Places of public accommodation
- Public services, programs, and activities
- State government services, programs, and activities
- Public transportation
- Private transportation
Several Service Dog Laws Oregon to Protect People With Disabilities
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA
- Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA
- Fair Housing Act (FHA
- Oregon state law
There are several different service dog laws in Oregon that protect people with disabilities who are using service dogs. This can get confusing. However, think about it like this: each law governs different places or services.
- For example, the ADA laws cover public access rights, employment, and housing
- The FHA cover housing situations
- And the ACAA covers air travel with service dogs
Each law seems to have its own definition of a service animal (known as an “assistance animal” for housing under the Fair Housing Act).
Sometimes these definitions are the same, sometimes different.
- Individual State laws may or may not be different from the ADA definition
- The FHA definition is different from the ACAA’s
- The ADA definition is different from the FHA’s
- Apologies if I just gave you a headache
Multiple service dog laws
Part of the reason why service dogs and the laws that go with them can be so confusing is that there are multiple laws around them. Let’s go through this summary of the different laws relevant to Oregon and their main purpose in general. We will be referring to these throughout the article.
- The ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – is a U.S. 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. Fully trained 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, most states extend some type of rights to these dogs; some states offer 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 in place for students with disabilities in the United States.
Service Dog Laws Oregon – Fees For Service Animals
A service animal is not a pet. Fees/charges and/or pet deposits can not be charged for service animals or companion animals. A person using a service animal can not be turned away from an establishment or service or housing situation because of “no pets” policies.
Fees may not be charged for service animals, period, no matter which law you look at, Oregon laws, federal ADA laws, or any other federal or state laws.
Service Dog Laws Oregon – Maintaining Control of a Service Animal
People who use service animals must maintain control over their animals at all times.
This might mean control by:
- A leash or harness
- Or simply voice control if a leash or harness isn’t possible because of a disability
Service animals must not threaten, or pose a threat, to the health and safety of people. All service animals need to comply with local state and county animal control laws.
Service Dog Laws Oregon Certification, Registration, Documentation, Vests
Contrary to popular belief, there is no formal certification process, registration, documentation, or paperwork that is federally or state-recognized that is needed for public access rights with a service dog.
However, some documentation may be required for air carriers, employment situations, and housing situations.
Service dog vests, service dog tags, harnesses, and other accessories are not legally recognized. But they may help other people to recognize a service dog. So, they’re optional but hold no legal weight.
If you’re wondering where to get these items, check out our article on where to buy service dog vests and other gear.
Some counties may allow you to register your animal as a service animal. This would reduce or eliminate the dog licensing fees. Someone can always show documentation for a service animal if they wish.
ADA Summary – Service Dog Laws Oregon
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) protects people with service dogs. Discrimination against people with disabilities is prohibited
The ADA has protections in place for people with disabilities in different situations, including in employment, places of public accommodation, public transportation, private transportation, communications, public services, programs, activities, and government activities.
Service Dog Laws Oregon State Laws – What Businesses Can & Can’t Ask
When businesses, establishments, and service providers encounter a person using a service dog, there are only certain things they may ask of the person.
Business must not:
- Ask about a disability
- Require medical documentation
- Require 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
- It is unlawful under Oregon state law as well as the ADA to ask these personal questions, require documentation, and/or charge a fee
- People with disabilities who use service dogs have a right to train the dog themselves
- Legitimate registration and/or certification on a state and/or federal level does not exist
Businesses can ask only these two questions:
- Is your animal a service animal?
- What work or tasks has it been trained to perform?
Public Access & Accommodations
Where are service animals allowed?
Both the federal ADA, as well as Oregon state law, require reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities and their service dogs.
This means that any places of public accommodation need to modify their policies to accommodate people with disabilities, including accommodating service dogs.
The only exception
The only exception is if the altering of a policy by a public accommodation would result in a “fundamental alteration.”
People who are living with disabilities and service dogs must be welcomed and accommodated anywhere the public is normally invited or allowed to go. Think of a service dog, for a moment, as a wheelchair or cane, rather than something that resembles a pet… Service dogs can go anywhere that wheelchairs and canes can go. It may help to think of it like that 🙂
What is an ADA Fundamental Alteration?
A “fundamental alteration” is a change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered. For example:
If a bookstore places special orders for customers, it should do so for all of its customers. A bookstore that does not place special orders for customers is not required to place special orders for customers with disabilities. This would be a “fundamental alteration” in the nature of the bookstore’s services.Americans with Disabilities Act
A restaurant is not required to prepare special dishes for customers who have disabilities. This would be a “fundamental alteration” in the nature of the restaurant’s services. However, if it is easy to omit a sauce or ingredient from a dish that is listed on the menu, a customer can request that the item be omitted. This would not be considered a fundamental alteration.
Some common examples of places service animals are allowed include:
- Recreation facilities
- Doctor’s offices
- Lawyers officers
- Read more on our blog: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?
Service Dog Laws Oregon Hospitals
Service animals are allowed in hospitals, too. This includes the emergency department, inpatient and outpatient rooms, clinics, and most other hospital facilities. However…
Exceptions in hospitals
Service dogs may be excluded from certain sensitive areas that require a protected environment. Examples of these would be operating rooms, intensive care units, holding and recovery areas, and other sterile environments. Read more about this on our blog: Are Service Dogs Allowed in Hospitals?
Service animals must be allowed in all areas where members of the public areDisability Rights Oregon
allowed to go, such as restaurants. At a hospital, this includes the emergency
room, in and outpatient rooms, clinics, and all other facilities except those that
require a protected environment, such as operating rooms, holding and recovery
areas, intensive care, and other sterile environments
Service Dog Laws Oregon – Filing a Discrimination Complaint
There are a few options for filing a discrimination complaint in Oregon
You could file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). The Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries protects employment rights, advances employment opportunities, and ensures access to housing and public accommodations that are free from discrimination.
They can help with:
- Discrimination and harassment at work
- Housing discrimination
- Your rights to public places
- Racial discrimination
- Disability rights
- Gender/gender identity
- Equal pay laws
- Filing a complaint
Bureau of Labor & Industries
800 NE Oregon St., Suite 1045
Portland, OR 97232
Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Lawsuit in federal court
You could also file a lawsuit in state or federal court. It’s possible that a court may order the public accommodation to allow you access to their services. Damages aren’t available under federal law but may be available under Oregon’s public accommodation law.
Service Dog Laws Oregon – Transportation
According to the ADA as well as Oregon state law, people with disabilities must be included while using public and private transportation. This includes the right to travel with their service animal.
Public and private transportation examples may include:
- Or by any other conveyance, like
- Dispatched vehicles such as vans and taxi cabs
Reasonable accommodations must be made to allow people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use these services. Fees may not be charged due to the presence of a service dog.
Transportation must be readily accessible to and useable by people with disabilities. Air travel and public school transportation are separately regulated.
Transportation With Service Animals
Definition of a service animal for transportation purposes
As we’ve already talked about, service animals perform various work or tasks to help someone with a disability to live safely and independently. U.S. Department of Transportation Americans with Disabilities Act regulations define a service animal as “any guide dog, signal dog, or another animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to:
- Guiding individuals with impaired vision
- Alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds
- Providing minimal protection or rescue work
- Pulling a wheelchair
- Fetching dropped items
When riding transit, customers with disabilities who use service animals are responsible for maintaining control over their animals (and caring for them) at all times.
Riders are also responsible for knowing the best way to board and position their service animal on the vehicle, especially if the service animal may be required to provide assistance (“tasking”) during the transit trip. Service animals may not block aisles or exits.
According to ADA regulations, every transportation employee or operator who serves people with disabilities needs to be trained so that they know how to provide non-discriminatory service in an appropriate and respectful way.
When serving passengers who are blind, operators should:
- Identify themselves
- Speak directly to the customer instead of through a companion
- Use specifics such as “there are five boarding steps and a 10-inch drop to the curb” when giving directions
Transit agencies should be aware of the following rules under ADA:
- Operators must allow all service animals on board
- Operators may not ask for proof of service animal, certification or of the customer’s disability
- Operators may not require a person traveling with a service animal to sit in a particular seat on the vehicle or charge a cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals onto the vehicle unless the animal causes damage
Discrimination in Transportation
If you experience discrimination in transportation:
- You can file a grievance or complaint directly with the transportation agency
- Alternatively, you can also file an administrative complaint within 180 days with the Federal Transit Administration or the Department of Justice.
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Transit Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
You may also file a private lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and/or damages.
Private Transportation with Service Animals in Oregon
Discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities that are in the business of transporting people is prohibited by Oregon State law as well as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Title III.
This includes private companies such as taxicab companies. The regulations require that these carriers allow disabled people to the full enjoyment of their services, and include the obligation to make reasonable accommodations to rules and policies. (49 C.F.R. Section
In other words, people with disabilities must be permitted to bring a service animal with them when using private forms of transportation in Oregon State. Injunctive relief is available in federal court to remedy violations of this law.
“Injunctive relief” is a legal term that describes a court-issued order requiring a company (defendant) to take some kind of action or to cease doing something to avoid further harm to the plaintiff (the person with a disability) in a lawsuit.
If you have been discriminated against, you can find information about a private attorney through the Oregon State Bar.
Air Travel With a Service Animal In Oregon
As per the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act), discrimination based on a physical or mental disability is prohibited. Air carriers must permit service dogs that are being used by people with disabilities to accompany them on a flight in the cabin of the airplane.
Definition of a service animal for air travel purposes
Service animals include dogs that clearly perform tasks or work for a person living with a disability. Service animals in training are not accepted to travel in the cabin, but they can still travel as pets.
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.U.S. Department of Transportation
Emotional support animals and air travel
Air carriers accept psychiatric service animals in aircraft cabins. Individual airlines vary with their rules, so be sure to check it out ahead of any air travel.
Emotional support animals are no longer included in the ACAA definition of a service animal. So, ESAs may not travel in the cabin with their human. However, they are still allowed to travel as a pet. The ACAA is in effect whenever someone is boarding a plane, deplaning, and/or making connecting flights.
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA, 49 U.S.C. 41705) prohibits discrimination by U.S. and foreign air carriers on the basis of physical or mental disability. Its implementing regulations make it clear that carriers shall permit service animals used by people with disabilities to accompany them on a flight. (14 C.F.R. Section 382.55).Disability Rights Oregon
What airlines can ask
It’s reasonable for airline employees to:
- Request appropriate documentation of your disability
- Understand the medical or therapeutic necessity of traveling with your animal
Air carriers may not charge a fee as a condition of permitting the animal to accompany a person with a disability on a flight.
Service Animals & Employment
The ADA is clear about people with disabilities and their service dogs being allowed to go into a work environment. This is a reasonable accommodation.
As part of this reasonable accommodation request, an employer must consider allowing a service animal in the working environment, unless it would cause undue hardship, or if it would be disruptive to the workplace.
Companion animals may also be considered as part of a reasonable accommodation request.
What is an undue hardship?
Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but to reasonable accommodations that are unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.EEOC – U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
What is disruptive behavior?
Disruptive behavior may be displayed as ongoing uncooperative, defiant, and hostile actions toward authority figures or others that seriously impacts a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Disruptive behavior in the workplace can interfere with the operation and flow of the workplace.JAN – Job Accommodation Network
An employer may request certain documentation that indicates several things:
- That someone with a disability requires the service animal to help with functional limitations while at work that results from a disability
- That a service animal is fully capable to function and be a supportive part of the work environment
This documentation could be from a medical doctor, another medical professional, or somewhere else; it does not need to be from a medical doctor.
Allowing someone to bring a service animal dog or service animal into a workplace is a form of reasonable accommodation.
As with any accommodation request, the employer must consider allowing the of service animal at work, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship or could disrupt the workplace.
Recent developments indicate that allowing someone to be accompanied by a companion animal may also be a form of reasonable accommodation.
There is at least one case involving a restaurant employee (at McDonald’s) where the question arose as to whether the animal would pose a health hazard. The EEOC has taken the position that the standard is very high to prove such a direct threat.Oregon Disability Rights
What is the EEOC?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws (such as the ADA Americans with Disabilities Act) that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Requesting Reasonable Accommodation From an Employer
If you need to request reasonable accommodation from an employer, it’s recommended to do so in writing. Simply write a letter that explains that a disability exists, and how it impacts your ability to do your job.
Then, explain your reasonable accommodation request (your service dog) and how it would help you to perform the essential functions of your job duties.
It helps to also attach a letter from your medical doctor or another health professional. This can help to confirm your disability is legitimate, and explain why the service animal would be able to assist you with your everyday job duties. Read more on our blog: Federal ADA Workplace Accommodation Laws
Your employer may require documentation that your service animal is fully trained, that you need your service animal to address your functional limitations resulting from your disability, and that your service animal is capable of functioning in the work environment. This documentation does not need to be from a medical professional.Disability Rights Oregon
Employment Discrimination Complaints in Oregon
In order to bring a charge of discrimination against an employer in Oregon, an employee first needs to make a request for reasonable accommodation.
This is why it’s always good to make that request in writing, so you have a copy and evidence of the paper trail. The employee also needs to provide documentation regarding the need for the animal (see above), if it’s been requested.
If the request for reasonable accommodation is denied…
If the request is denied, the employee has the right to file a lawsuit under Oregon State law.
In order to get the protection of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), an employee needs to file an administrative complaint within 300 days of the discriminatory conduct.
It needs to be filed with either of the following before filing a federal lawsuit.
Service Dog Laws Oregon – Housing
The Fair Housing Act is a federal act that prohibits discrimination in housing situations. This includes discrimination on the basis of many things such as religion, sex, color, race, national origin, and disabilities, too.
People with disabilities using service dogs do not need their service animal to meet certain criteria, to provide certification, to be using special equipment, or to be using special identification tags.
Publicly funded programs in Oregon must make their services, programs, and facilities accessible to people with disabilities.
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.U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
People with disabilities may need more than one service dog
There is no limit to how many assistance animals one person with a disability can have.
Housing providers have a right to impose limitations around the request for multiple service animals, but it must be based on what is necessary for someone to fully use and enjoy their rental or housing unit.
Housing providers must consider each request for reasonable accommodation for a service animal individually on a case-by-case basis.
Can people bring more than one service animal into a public place?
Generally, yes. Some people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks. For example, a person who has a visual disability and a seizure disorder may use one service animal to assist with way-finding and another that is trained as a seizure alert dog.
Other people may need two service animals for the same task, such as a person who needs two dogs to assist him or her with stability when walking. Staff may ask the two permissible questions (See Question 7) about each of the dogs. If both dogs can be accommodated, both should be allowed in.
In some circumstances, however, it may not be possible to accommodate more than one service animal. For example, in a crowded small restaurant, only one dog may be able to fit under the table. The only other place for the second dog would be in the aisle, which would block the space between tables. In this case, staff may request that one of the dogs be left outside.Americans with Disabilities Act FAQ
Where Does The FHA Apply?
The Fair Housing Act covers virtually any and every type of residential dwelling. Some examples are:
- Rental units that are privately owned
- Dwellings governed by homeowners
- Dwellings governed by condominium associations
- Temporary housing arrangements, like shelters
- Public housing
- Retirement homes and nursing facilities
- Group homes
- Trailer parks and mobile homes
The Fair Housing Act allows for service dogs, but also for companion animals, emotional support animals, psychiatric service dogs, and even cats as a reasonable accommodation for someone living with a disability.
More about reasonable accommodations
- In order for an animal to be considered as a reasonable accommodation in housing, it must be shown that the animal serves a function directly related to a person’s disability
- In addition, the animal must be necessary to allow someone with a disability to use and enjoy the housing or dwelling
Emotional support & companion animals
In the case of emotional support animals and companion animals, the relationship between the animal and the companionship must be demonstrated.
Companion animals often provide emotional support to people who are living with mental disabilities and conditions. Some examples include alleviating a person’s anxiety, depression, stress, and other symptoms that can interfere with an ability to live independently. Read more on our blog: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog
Service Dog Laws Oregon – What a Landlord Can & Can’t Ask
Landlords may ask for certain information from someone seeking reasonable accommodation with a service or companion animal.
Landlords are permitted to ask if your animal (service animal, companion animal, or emotional support animal) is necessary for you to use and enjoy the housing unit.
Housing providers can request documentation from a doctor or another professional. This can simply state that you have a disability that results in functional limitation(s).
Landlords are not permitted to ask about the nature or extent of a disability or require medical records.
No pets policies
Service dogs are not pets, so pet policies don’t apply. This includes “no pets” policies, as well as fees for animals, as well as restrictions on the size or weight of an animal. Some service dogs are needed for balance and stability, and these dogs are often on the larger side.
Service animals causing damages
If a service dog causes damages above what’s considered normal wear and tear, the person using the animal will be responsible to pay for the damages.
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
Psychiatric Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog
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) Oregon
Service dogs in Oregon and other states 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 dogs by themselves (owner-training) 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
At this time, only four states do not cover service animals in training under their public accommodation laws.
Oregon Service Dog In Training Laws
Service Dog Laws in Oregon Cover Service Animals-In-Training
- According to Portland’s official government website, service animals in training in Oregon, are also protected, just the same as fully trained service animals.
- “Dogs, and in some cases miniature horses, are the only animals that can be recognized as service animals under the ADA. Under Oregon State Law, service-animals-in-training are also protected.” – Portland.Gov
(6)(a) Except as provided in this subsection, a place of public accommodation or of access to state government services, programs or activities may not deny a person with a disability or an assistance animal trainer the right to be accompanied by an assistance animal or assistance animal trainee in any area of the place that is open to the public or to business invitees.Oregon Code
How Do I Make My Dog a Service Dog in Oregon?
Stop making that sound so easy! To make your dog a service dog in Oregon, you must have a disability, and a disability-related need for the animal.
Start your service dog training journey, and work on having your dog learn how to act properly in public, with basic socialization and obedience training, and performing specific tasks that mitigate the effect(s) of your disability. There are different avenues for getting a service animal. It’s usually a long process.
- Train the dog by yourself
- Get some help from a dog trainer
- Use a professional service dog training program or organization
- Any combination of the above
More on service dog training
Even though service animals do not need to be professionally trained by an organization or school, they do need to be trained for your disability. This is not usually an easy task, and many people need at least some help.
Not just any dog
It’s also important to note that not just any dog can become a service dog. Dogs are like people and have individual personalities. Some personalities do great with working; others just don’t. Some dogs truly just can’t focus, don’t listen, or want to only play (or relax) all day. Read more on our blog: Service Dog Training Basics & FAQ
Does Oregon Recognize Emotional Support Animals?
No, Oregon does not recognize emotional support animals (ESAs) for public access rights as it does service animals. Emotional support animals can be denied access to public places.
However, it’s good to note that ESAs may have rights when it comes to a reasonable request in a housing or employment situation, under the federal FHA (Fair Housing Act) and/or ADA laws.
The ADA Is Similar
The following is a quote from the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.
“Even though some states have laws defining therapy animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals. Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.” – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) National Network
Read more on our blog: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog
Oregon Emotional Support Animal Laws
In Oregon, emotional support animals are governed by various laws. Here are some facts about OR emotional support animal laws in different contexts.
- Emotional support animals (ESAs) are not automatically exempt from a housing provider’s no-pet policies
- Someone with a disability can request a “reasonable accommodation” for an ESA in a housing situation, and housing providers need to be accommodating unless they can show that allowing an ESA would be an undue burden on its operations
- ESA’s do not need to be specially trained in order to qualify for reasonable accommodation for a housing situation
- Animals other than dogs may also function as emotional support, therapy, or assistance animals in housing situations under the Fair Housing Act (I think that is why ESAs are called “ assistance animals,” not “service dogs” under this Act)
- Payment may be required for any specific damage done to the premises by an ESA
- It is illegal to charge someone with a disability an extra fee to keep a guide or service dog or an emotional support, therapy, or assistance animal (ESA)
- Emotional support animals are no longer included in the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) definition of service animal, therefore…
- ESAs may not travel in the cabin of a plane with their human under the ACAA; although, individual airlines may vary. ESAs may still travel through the air as a pet
- Emotional support animals are not covered by the ADA for public access rights, so they can be denied access to public places, although individual businesses may vary
- ESAs can still visit “pet-friendly” public accommodations with their handler
- ESAs can be requested as a reasonable accommodation in an employment situation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Emotional support animals do not need to be registered for any reason. No legitimate ESA registration system exists. Websites selling ESA papers online are not recognized by the Department of Justice nor the ADA, and purchasing one of those pieces of paper from the internet does not give someone any special rights. What is needed for housing and/or employment is a letter from a doctor or other medical professional merely stating the animal is required
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 to miniature horses whenever possible. Reasonable modifications need to be made in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by a 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
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.
Read more on our blog:
- Federal ADA Workplace Accommodation Laws
- Service Animal In Training Laws by U.S. State
- Are Service Dogs Allowed in Hotels?
- Disability Rights Oregon
- Disability Rights Oregon – File a Complaint
- Disability Rights Oregon – Assistance Animals Handbook
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
- Air Carrier Access Act – Service Animals (ACAA)
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (For filing a workplace discrimination complaint)