Service Dog Laws Utah – Grand Epic Summary & FAQ (2021)


Service Dog Laws Utah – 2021 Summary

Jump to a section:

  1. What is a Service Dog?
  2. What Are These Work or Tasks?
  3. Emotional Support, Comfort, Companion, Therapy Animals
  4. Dogs for Anxiety
  5. Professional Training of Service Animals
  6. Service Animals In Training
  7. Information for Businesses
  8. Service Dog Vest, Harness, Certification, Documentation
  9. Care & Supervision of Service Dogs
  10. Service Dogs & Hotels
  11. More Than One Service Dog
  12. Service Dogs in Hospitals
  13. Local Dog Vaccinations & Other Requirements
  14. Exclusion of Service Dogs

1. Service Dog Laws Utah – What is a Service Dog?

service dog laws utah

The service dog laws Utah can be confusing. But we will break it all down right here, right now.

The confusing thing is that there are multiple definitions of service dogs, and they are all legitimate. It just depends on whether we are talking about public access rights, rights for air travel, or rights for housing situations.

For some reason, each of these situations tends to use a different definition of a service dog, and sometimes they are referred to as other names such as assistance animal, etc.

However, let’s just begin with the most common definition of a service dog which we can get from the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act. Opens in a new tab.

This law is a federal law, and so it covers all states. I should mention that each individual state may have their own laws, too, and that is why each state has a different page on this website. Keep reading for more service dog laws Utah.

The ADA lawOpens in a new tab. is concerned with public access rights, and so it is the most common needed definition. Under the ADA, a service animal must be a dog.

It can be any kind, any size, and any breed of dog, but it needs to be a dog. In addition, the dog must be individually trained to do “work” or “perform tasks” for someone who lives with a qualified disability under the ADA.

One more thing is that the work or tasks that the dog does needs to be directly related to the person’s disability.

This is the main thing that separates service dogs from other types of dogs, such as emotional support dogs, who are not individually trained, even though they are awesome as well.

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2. What Are These Work or Tasks?

service dog work or tasks Utah

If you’re not sure what service dogs do, don’t worry. We will explain a bit here. But it’s good to know that there are so many things that service dogs can do, and lots of disabilities are invisible.

Here are just a few examples of what service dogs can do to mitigate the effects of someone’s disability. This is not a complete list, just some common examples.

Service dog laws Utah cover different service dogs who perform various tasks, and here are some:

  • Picking up items that have been dropped
  • Opening and closing doors for people who are unable, and holding doors open for someone
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Carrying mail, picking up garbage and placing it in the trash
  • Protecting someone who is having a seizure
  • Putting laundry into a laundry basket
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Calling 911
  • Paying for items in a store, and giving the receipt to the handler
  • Mobility assistance
  • Find an elevator, and press the button
  • Hearing alert dogs can alert someone to various sounds, such as phone calls and door bells
  • PTSD dogs can wake up someone who is having a nightmare, or stop destructive behaviour
  • Alert someone if their blood sugar is too high or too low (diabetic alert dog)
  • Keep a child who has autism from wandering off and getting lost, and keep them safe
  • So much more…

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3. Emotional Support, Comfort, Companion, Therapy Animals

emotional support animal Utah

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, companion animals, and therapy animals are not considered service dogs under the ADAOpens in a new tab. definition.

These animals are not individually trained. They provide comfort and support just with their mere presence.

What this means is that these animals don’t have the same public access rights under the ADAOpens in a new tab..

In other words, a service dog is allowed into a restaurant, but an emotional support animal isn’t necessarily, although some restaurant owners may use their discretion to allow certain animals.

However, emotional support animals and other types of companion animals may be permitted in some other situations, such as in housing, or in air travel.

Different air lines have different rules. For housing situations, the definition of an assistance animal is more broad (less strict). Keep reading to find more about housing situations and air travel for certain working dogs and more about service dog laws Utah.

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4. Service Dog Laws Utah for Anxiety

service dog for anxiety

Sometimes people wonder about anxiety dogs, and whether they are considered an official service dog, or are they emotional support dogs? Are these covered under official service dog laws Utah? It’s a great question.

Just refer to the ADAOpens in a new tab. definition of service animal, and it is actually quite simple.

If a dog has been individually trained for a certain individual, to do a certain, specific task, such as to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen… and the dog then takes a specific action to lessen the impact or consequences of this anxiety attack, then the dog is a service dog.

For example, a dog that goes and gets water and medication, and brings it to someone during an anxiety attack, would be considered a service dog.

It performs work or tasks for a specific person’s disability, and the work or tasks the dog does helps to directly mitigate the effects of the disability. That is what service dogs are all about.

However, if the dog does not perform a specific task, and helps the person recover from the anxiety attack just by its mere presence, then it is not considered a service dog under the ADAOpens in a new tab. definition. However, it may be included as a reasonable accommodation in a housing situation, or for air travel.

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5. Professional Training of Service Animals

professional service dog training Utah

Do service dog laws Utah require that dogs need to be professionally trained? The answer is simply no.

Not according to the ADA lawsOpens in a new tab., not according to the FHA (Fair Housing Act) laws, and not according to the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) laws for air travel.

People who use service animals have the right to train the dog themselves. They are not required to use a professional service dog training program.

There are many wonderful and amazing service dog training programs through the U.S. and around the world. But these are simply optional.

No one may ask for proof of service dog training, for public access rights or any other rights, since it is not required.

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6. Service Animals In Training

service dogs in training Utah

Service dogs that are in training are not considered official service dogs under the ADA rulesOpens in a new tab.. However, some states include service animals in training, and offer them the same rights as service dogs.

So it’s best not to jump to conclusions, until you read the laws for each individual state (I know, it’s a little confusing for sure.)

Utah is one state in particular Opens in a new tab.that has gone ahead and included service dogs in training to have the same rights as other service dogs, as part of the service dog laws Utah.

Maybe this is because it’s just easier – and possibly very appropriate – to train a dog in the environment that the dog will actually be working in.

It just seems to make sense. Anyone who has done on-the-job training must know that there’s nothing quite like it.

So what is a service dog in training, then? We need a definition if we are going to understand this completely.

A service-dog-in-training is a dog who is accompanied by its trainer. Sorry if that sounds super obvious. The dog is undergoing individual training to provide specific disability-related work, for a specific person, with specific needs.

Another way to think of it is a dog that is being trained to provide service(s) for someone who is living with a disability.

This doesn’t include:

  • Obedience training
  • Socialization of puppies who may later become service dogs (usually this happens at around 12-18 months)

So, fully grown adult service-dogs-to-be are indeed recognized in the service dog laws Utah as being “in training” to provide disability-specific help and/or assistance only after they have completed an earlier period of socialization.

This tends to include obedience training, being house broken (knowing how to “go to the bathroom” appropriately, getting used to public places and every day, normal activities as pets).

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7. Service Dog Laws Utah Information for Businesses

service dog information for businesses

Service dog laws Utah contain some information for businesses. Quite often it is obvious that a person with a disability is using a service dog, such as when a dog is pulling a wheelchair, or when a dog is guiding someone who is blind across a busy street.

But many other times, disabilities are invisible, and people working at various businesses are unable to tell what the purpose of the service dog is.

While it is not okay to ask for personal information, especially about a disability, there are a few things you can ask under the ADA laws.

When it’s not obvious that a dog is a working service animal, staff can only ask two question to someone who is using the dog, and this is according to the service dog Utah official ADA laws.

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

2. What work, or tasks, has the dog been trained to perform?

That’s it.

Under the ADA service dog laws Utah, staff may not:

  • Ask personal questions
  • Request any kind of documentation for the dog
  • Ask that the dog demonstrate its task or work
  • Ask about the nature of someones disability

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8. Service Dog Vests, Harness, Certification, Documentation

service dog documentation utah

Under the ADA service dog laws Utah for public access rights, service dogs are not required to wear a certain vest, harness, to have or show certification, or any kind of documentation.

Requiring someone to provide any of these as a condition of entry is prohibited under the ADA, and would be considered discrimination.

You may have noticed that it’s possible to purchase some of these types of documents online, from websites that claim to be a service dog registration service. Unfortunately, these are not legitimate.

Buying any of this stuff does not turn a dog into a service dog. And they are not recognized, nor convey any rights, by either the ADA or the Department of Justice. It’s just good to know.

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9. Care & Supervision of Service Dogs

care and supervision of service dogs Utah

In terms of providing care and/ or supervision for service animals, this is completely the responsibility of whoever is using the service dog; the service dog handler, which would be either the person with the disability or a service dog trainer.

Businesses and other “covered entities” under the ADA service dog laws Utah are not responsible for any of this type of thing.

Just to be really clear, this includes things like toileting, feeding, grooming, and veterinary care. All those good things that every dog needs.

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10. Service Dogs & Hotels

service dogs in hotels Utah

Service dog laws Utah indicate that people with disabilities who use service dogs must not be treated differently by hotels.

This means that a guest with a disability who uses a service animal needs to be provided with the same opportunity to reserve any available room at the hotel, as other guests without disabilities.

People with service dogs may not be restricted to pet-friendly rooms only.

Service dogs are certainly not pets, they are a working medical assistance device that happens to have four legs and a tail and some fur and some eyes and a nose and probably a name.

Additionally, hotels aren’t permitted to charge guests with service animals for cleaning the hair or dander that might have been shed by the dog.

However, if a guest’s service dog does cause damage to a guest hotel room, then the hotel may charge the same fees for the damage as they charge for other guests.

One thing to note is that people with service dogs are not permitted to leave their service animal in the hotel room alone, by itself, and go out. The service dog must be under the control of the handler at all times under the ADA rules, and this extends to hotels.

It would be mighty strange for someone to leave their service dog in a hotel room by itself, anyways, since most people who use service dogs do need them most moments of every day.

That’s the whole thing about service dogs. So, someone leaving a service dog in a hotel room alone would be pretty suspicious.

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11. More Than One Service Dog

more than one service dog Utah

Do you ever wonder if under the ADA service dog laws Utah someone can have more than one service animal? Or if there are any rules around that?

As it turns out, people with more than one service animal are quite a real thing. Humans are like snowflakes… Individual, with individual needs.

Some people have more than one disability. Some people have one disability, but require two different animals for assistance.

Someone who has both a visual disability as well as a seizure disorder might very well need one animal to help them find their way around the world, and another dog that has been trained as a seizure alert dog, to sense oncoming seizures and to keep them safe during the event.

Another example is simply someone who uses service dogs for balance and stability. Some people may require two different animals to help with this.

Whenever someone has two service dogs, you can still ask the permitted questions as above in the Information for Businesses section, and, if both dogs can be accommodated reasonably, then both should be allowed.

Sometimes, it might not be possible to accommodate more than one service dog because of circumstances. For example, in a very small, crowded restaurant, it just may not work to accommodate two large dogs that perhaps are used for stability.

They may not both fit under the table, and if the only other place for the second dog is in an aisle where it would be blocking people, then staff can ask one of the dogs to be left outside.

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12. Service Dogs in Hospitals

service dog laws utah hospitals

What do the service dog laws Utah say about service dogs in hospitals?Generally, service dogs are allowed in hospital areas, just as they are permitted other places where members of the public are usually invited or allowed to go.

Service animals must be allowed into patient rooms. Service dogs cannot be excluded based on the idea that staff can provide the same services for a person.

If a patient is not able to care for their service dog after they’ve been admitted into the hospital, they may be able to make arrangements for a friend or family member to come to the hospital to provide these services and help take care of “man’s best friend.”

It is always preferable that the service dog and its handler not be separated. If at all possible, they should be kept together during the hospitalization.

If someone is unable to care for their service dog and is also unable to arrange for someone else to care for the dog, then the hospital has some options.

The hospital may place the service dog in a boarding facility if need be, until the patient is released. Or, the hospital can make some other kind of appropriate arrangements.

However, the hospital needs to give the patient a chance to make arrangements for the dog’s care before they take any of these kinds of actions.

Generally, service dogs can also ride in ambulances with their human. 

However, if it’s crowded inside the ambulance environment, and if the presence of the dog would interfere with the emergency staff’s ability to do their job, then staff should make some kind of other arrangements to have the service dog transported to the hospital, where it can be reunited with the person.

Service dogs can be excluded from certain hospital environments… environments where he dog’s presence might compromise safety. Examples of these are burn units, and operating rooms.

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13. Local Dog Vaccinations & Other Requirements

dog vaccinations service dog laws Utah

 If your city, area, or county requires that all dogs be vaccinated, service dogs are not are not exempt from these local animal control or public health requirements.

In addition, if your local area requires that all dogs be licensed or registered, then service dogs are also not exempt from this, and must follow the rules just as other dogs.

However, mandatory registration of service animals is not allowed under the ADA service dog laws Utah. 

In other words, people who use service dogs must not be singled out and forced to register their dog simply because it’s a service dog, but they are still prone to all of the rules and health orders that apply to all dogs, if that made any sense.

Utah Counties Dog Registrations and Licenses

Select a county to find out more.

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14. Exclusion of Service Dogs

You might be wondering about excluding service dogs and if there are any service dog laws Utah about that.

It’s a great question, because it’s important to not discriminate against people who are living with disabilities. But, this doesn’t mean that service dogs can behave badly and still get away with it.

Service dogs, in general, do not tend to behave badly because they tend to be highly trained and professional. However, sometimes, these things obviously do happen.

Let’s talk about when service dogs can be excluded from a business or another entity. In other words, when a business or another place can ask a service dog to leave.

Service dogs must not be excluded based on stereotypes, fears, allergies to dogs, or assumptions about how a certain breed of dog may behave. Service dogs can be any size, and any breed, and any type of dog.

Having said that, if a particular service dog behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other people, it can be excluded. It can also be excluded if that particular animal has a history of bad behaviour.

In addition, if the dog is not under the control of its handler, that animal can be excluded. 

If an animal is excluded for these types of reasons, staff at a business or another entity must still offer their goods or services to the person who had been with the service dog, without the animal being present.

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Sam Amy Nelson

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

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