Service Dog Laws Oregon – 2021 Comprehensive Guide & FAQ


Jump to a section:

  1. Overview
  2. Overview of Service Dog Laws
  3. Fees for Service Animals
  4. Maintaining Control over a Service Animal
  5. Certification, Registration, Documentation, Vests
  6. ADA Summary
  7. What Businesses Need to Know
  8. Public Access & Accommodation
  9. Service Dogs in Hospitals
  10. Filing a Discrimination Complaint
  11. Transportation with Service Dogs
  12. Air Travel
  13. Employment
  14. Requesting Reasonable Accommodation from an Employer
  15. Housing
  16. Where the FHA Applies
  17. What a Landlord Can & Can’t Ask

Service Dog Laws Oregon – Service Dogs Are Not Pets

The service dog laws 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.

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 definition of service animal.

However, emotional support animals and companion animals may be approved as a reasonable accommodation in housing situations.

As per the ADA definition, a service animal is a dog that has been individually trained for a person with a disability, and the job or tasks the dog does relates directly to the person’s disability.

Some people use a miniature horse instead of a dog, and these need to be accommodated whenever possible.

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.

service dog laws oregon

Several Service Dog Laws Oregon to Protect People With Disabilities

service dog laws oregon people with disabilities


There are several different service dog laws Oregon that protect people 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 ADAOpens in a new tab. laws cover public access rights. The FHAOpens in a new tab. cover housing situations. And the ACAAOpens in a new tab. cover air travel with service dogs. Each law has a different definition of service dogs or companion animals.

Service Dog Laws Oregon – Fees For Service Animals

fees for service animals Oregon

A service animal is not a pet. Fees 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.

Service Dog Laws Oregon – Maintaining Control of a Service Animal

control service animal oregon

People who use service animals must maintain control over their animal 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

service dog certification Oregon

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.

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

service dog laws oregon ADA summary

The ADAOpens in a new tab. (Americans with Disabilities Act) protects people with service dogs.

Discrimination against people with disabilities is prohibited

The ADAOpens in a new tab. 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

what businesses can ask of service dog

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 the nature or extent of someone’s disability
  • Require documentation proving that an animal is a service dog, assistance animal or trainee
  • Charge a fee for a service dog or an assistance animal

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.

Businesses can ask:

  • Is your animal a service animal?
  • What work or tasks has it been trained to perform?

Public Access & Accommodations – Service Dog Laws Oregon

service dogs in public places

Both the federal ADAOpens in a new tab., 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 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.

service dog in school oregon

Some examples include:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Stores
  • Theaters
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Recreation facilities
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Hospitals
  • Lawyers officers
  • Museums
  • Auditoriums

Service Dog Laws Oregon Hospitals

service dog laws oregon hospital

Service animals are allowed in hospitals, too. This includes the emergency department, inpatient and outpatient rooms, clinics, and most other hospital facilities.

However, 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.

Service Dog Laws Oregon – Filing a Discrimination Complaint

service dog discrimination oregon 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). Opens in a new tab.

You could also file a lawsuit in state or federal court.Opens in a new tab. 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

service dog laws oregon transportation

According to the ADAOpens in a new tab. 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 bus, rail, and dispatched vehicles such as vans and taxi cabs. Fees may not be charged due to the presence of a service dog.

Reasonable accommodations must be made to allow people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use these services.

Air travel and public school transportation are separately regulated.

Air Travel With a Service Animal – Service Dog Laws Oregon

As per the ACAAOpens in a new tab. (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.

Service animals include dogs and other animals that clearly perform tasks or work for a person living with a disability.

Air carriers need to also accept emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals in the aircraft cabins. Individual airlines vary with their rules, so be sure to check it out ahead of any air travel.

The ACAAOpens in a new tab. is in effect whenever someone is boarding a plane, deplaning, and/or making connecting flights.

Service Animals & Employment

service animals and employment

The ADAOpens in a new tab. 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.

An employer may request certain documentation that indicates several things:

  • That a service animal is indeed fully trained
  • That someone with a disability requires the service animal to help with functional limitations while at work that result from a disability
  • That a service animal is fully capable and trained 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.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodation From an Employer

requesting reasonable accommodation from an employer for a service dog

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.

Service Dog Laws Oregon – Housing

service dog laws housing oregon

The Fair Housing Act Opens in a new tab.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.

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.

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 ActOpens in a new tab. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Service dogs are not pets, and 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.

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.

Sam Amy Nelson

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

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