Welcome to Service Dog Laws Wyoming
Welcome to our service dog laws in Wyoming guide and FAQ page, updated for 2023.
Service dog laws in Wyoming require that a specially trained service dog (sometimes called an assistance dog, in housing situations and in Europe) 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 Wyoming. This includes where they are allowed in public, housing information, what businesses need to know, plus much more.
Table of Contents
Just a few examples of what service dogs can do for a person are:
- Providing stability for someone who struggles with walking
- Picking up an item for someone in a wheelchair
- Preventing a child with autism from wandering
- Alerting someone who has hearing loss of someone approaching from behind
- Protecting someone who is having a seizure
- Guiding someone who is blind or living with limited vision
- Preventing certain behaviors from someone who is living with PTSD
- Alerting someone who has diabetes that their blood sugar is getting too low or too high
- Reminding someone with depression to take their medication
Read more: The Giant List of Service Dog Tasks (K9 Total Focus website)
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) governs the use of service dogs federally. So, the laws for each state are the same. However, each state may also have its own individual state laws regarding service dogs, including some states that have laws around fake service dogs.
People who use service dogs have the right to benefit from whichever law(s) they need (state, federal, or both). This article will completely summarize the federal as well as any Wyoming state-specific laws.
The ADA requires businesses and other public organizations to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, including people who are using service dogs.
It also requires reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures, to include people with disabilities. As service dogs are not pets, any “no pets” policy must be modified to allow service dogs into a facility or program.
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – What is a Service Animal?
There are three (3) main definitions of a service dog or service animal, so if you’re feeling confused, you’re not the only one. There are multiple different laws that govern the use of service dogs.
So the easiest way to think about it is to think about a situation in terms of:
- Whether it has to do with public access rights
- Whether it has to do with a housing situation
- Or whether it has to do with air travel
The ADA, the FHA, and the ACAA all have different definitions.
In other words and as an example, an emotional support dog (which we will get into) that is permitted into a residential tenancy situation as an assistance dog, may still not qualify as a service dog under ADA laws, and so may still be excluded from going to a restaurant or another public place.
Read more on our blog: Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog
ADA Definition of Service Animal
The ADA is most well-known for governing service animals and their users when it comes to public access situations.
The ADA definition of a service animal is:
- It must be a dog, and it can be any breed of dog
- The dog must be individually trained to perform tasks or do work for someone who is living with a disability
- The work or tasks that the dog does must relate directly to a specific person’s disability
It’s important to note that emotional support animals, companion animals, therapy animals, and comfort animals are not considered service dogs under the ADA definition, so they are not automatically permitted access to public places.
These types of animals tend to provide comfort and companionship for someone simply by their mere existence. So, since these animals have not been specifically trained to do work for someone’s particular disability, they are not defined as service dogs, even though they may be just as important in someone’s life.
Fair Housing Act Definition of Assistance Animal
The Fair Housing Act protects people who are living with disabilities. The FHA uses the term “assistance dog” and it is broader than the ADA definition of “service dog.”
The Fair Housing Act Definition of an Assistance Animal is:
- It’s an animal that works, performs tasks, or provides assistance for the benefit of someone living with a disability
- Or, it can be an animal that provides emotional support that helps to alleviate one or more identified characteristics of someone’s disability
- An assistance animal – just like a service animal – is not a pet
ACAA Definition of a Service Dog
The ACAA – or Air Carrier Access Act – is relevant when service dogs will be traveling by airplane.
A service dog is defined as:
- It must be a dog, and it can be any breed or type of dog as long as the dog has been individually trained to do work or tasks for someone living with a qualified disability
- Common disabilities include physical disabilities, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other kind of mental disabilities
- Animals other than dogs, as well as other kinds of dogs such as emotional support animals, comfort or companion animals, as well as service dogs in training, do not count for this definition of service dog
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – What About a Service Dog For Anxiety?
This can get confusing, but just know that there is a clear difference between:
- An emotional support animal
- A psychiatric service dog
If a dog has been trained to sense that someone’s anxiety attack is about to happen, and the dog takes a specific course of action that helps to either avoid the anxiety attack or if it lessens the impact for the person, then it counts as an official service dog under the ADA.
If the mere presence of the dog or animal provides comfort to someone living with anxiety, then this would count as an emotional support animal, not a service dog.
Read more on our blog: Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – Training of Service Dogs
Professional service dog training programs are available throughout the U.S., and abroad and can be amazing at helping someone to be matched with the right kind of dog. Many of them provide highly trained service dogs at no charge, even though the cost to train one dog is often upwards of $40,000.
However, it’s important to know that these are not required by the ADA. In other words, someone living with a disability has a right to train the service dog themselves. Or they can have someone to help train the dog.
Service Dogs In Training
According to the ADA, a service dog-in-training is not considered an official service dog until it has fully completed training. So service dogs in training are not automatically permitted to enter public places.
Having said that, some state or local laws may cover animals that are still in training, so it’s important to check with your local area for up-to-date information about this.
Public Access Rights – Service Dog Laws Wyoming
People with disabilities are allowed to go with their service dogs to any place where the public is normally allowed or invited to go.
This includes places like restaurants, movie theaters, law courts, hotels, grocery stores, salad bars, Airbnb, National Parks, self-serve food lines like the ones found in shelters and dormitories, libraries, and the list goes on. Read more details about this on our blog: Can Service Dogs Go Anywhere?
The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is a federal wide-ranging civil rights law. It prohibits discrimination based on disability.
Under the ADA, the following “covered entities” that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the business or facility where the public is normally invited or allowed to go.
- State governments
- Local governments
- Nonprofit organizations
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
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – Hotels
Someone with a disability who uses a service dog has as many rights as everyone else in terms of access to hotels. This means that “no pets” policies do not apply, as service dogs are definitely not pets.
People with disabilities and service dogs must be allowed to reserve any available room at a hotel; they must not be restricted to “pet-friendly” rooms.
Hotels are not permitted to charge guests who may have a disability, for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal.
If a guest’s service animal damages a guest’s room, a hotel is then permitted to charge the same fee for damages as they charge to other guests. Read more on our blog: Can Service Dogs Go To Hotels?
Service Dog Laws Wyoming Hospitals
Generally speaking, hospitals are required to allow a person with a disability to keep their service animal in a hospital in-patient room with them.
According to the ADA, service dogs must be allowed in patient rooms, as well as anywhere else in the hospital the general public, and patients, are allowed to go.
Service dogs cannot be excluded in this case on the basis that the hospital staff can provide the same services for the person with the disability.
The only time a service dog can be excluded in a hospital is if the room is a sterile environment, such as an operating room. Read more on our blog: Are Service Dogs Allowed in Hospitals?
Service Dogs Wyoming In Ambulances
Generally speaking, service dogs are permitted to ride in an ambulance with their handler. Sometimes, the dog may be excluded and alternative arrangements need to be made for the service dog to get to the hospital.
This may happen if the space inside the ambulance is crowded and if the dog’s presence would interfere with the emergency staff’s ability to treat a person. In that case, staff needs to make arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital.
Information For Businesses & Covered Entities
What can you ask of someone if you see them with a service dog attempting to access a public area, and it’s not obvious it’s a service dog?
There are only two specific questions that staff can ask.
1. “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?”
2. “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”
The following are not permitted under the ADA:
- Requesting documentation for the dog
- Requiring that the dog demonstrate its task or work
- Inquire about the nature of someone’s disability
Service Dog Vests, ID, Harnesses, Certification
Under ADA laws, service animals are not required to wear a harness, ID tag, or vest. You may have noticed that online it’s possible to purchase these types of items. Just know that these are not legitimate, and do not convey any legal rights.
Businesses are also not permitted to require documentation as a condition for entry, like proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Service dogs do not need to be certified. Check out our blog Which Service Dog Registry is Legitimate? to learn more about registrations, certifications, and why they are not required.
Care and Supervision
Service dog handlers – the person using the service dog, which is normally a person with a disability or a trainer – are responsible for caring for the dog as well as supervision.
This includes things like toileting, feeding, grooming, and veterinary care. Businesses, covered entities, and other places are not required to supervise or care for a service animal.
City-Specific Vaccinations, Registrations & Licenses
Even though the ADA does not require these things federally, service dogs are not exempt from local laws with regard to vaccinations, dog registrations, and/or licenses that are required for all dogs in that city or area.
Note the distinction: that service dogs are not exempt from a local law that requires all dogs to be registered or licensed. However, mandatory registration of service animals just because it’s a service animal, is not permitted under the ADA law.
Voluntary Registration at a College or University
Colleges, universities, local governments, and some other entities sometimes have a voluntary service dog registry available. The purpose of these is for the benefit of the service dog. For example, it can help in an emergency situation by ensuring emergency staff knows that there are service animals to look for during an evacuation.
Some other benefits might include things like reduced dog license fees when they are mandatory. These types of registries are allowed (but optional) under the ADA.
Just remember that if a business requires registration as a condition of being permitted into a public place or for public access, that would be a violation of the ADA because registration is simply not required.
A valid, authentic federal service dog registration does not exist. If you see these types of websites, they are not legitimate.
Service Dog Breeds
Service dogs may not be excluded based on stereotypes and/or assumptions about certain dog breeds.
If a service dog gives you a reason to exclude them, such as bad behavior, posing a threat to the health and safety of other people, or if the dog has a history of this behavior, or if the dog is not in control of its handler… then it may be excluded.
If a service dog is excluded for any of those reasons, staff at a business or entity must still offer their goods and/or services to the person without the animal there. Read more on our blog: The Best Service Dog Breeds & How to Choose One
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.
Service Animal Fees
Fees, extra charges, or pet deposits may not be charged for service animals. This is true whether we are talking about the ADA, ACAA, FHA, or Wyoming State service dog laws.
A service animal is not considered a pet. Someone using a service animal must not be turned away or denied access because of a “no pets” rule or policy.
In the case where a public entity usually charges people for damage caused by an animal or pet, a person with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by their service animal.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against disabled people in employment situations. In addition, it requires reasonable accommodation at the employee’s request.
Allowing someone with a disability to bring their service animal into the workplace environment is a form of reasonable accommodation.
As with any accommodation request, the employer must consider allowing the use of a service animal at work unless doing so poses an undue hardship, or could disrupt the workplace environment.
Note that an employee may also request that an employer allow a companion animal or emotional support animal in the workplace as an accommodation. Reasonable requests in this situation are not restricted to dogs only. Read more on our blog: Federal ADA Workplace Accommodation Guide
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
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. Check out our guide on Emotional Support Animal Laws in Wyoming to learn more about it.
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
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
How to Make Your Dog a Service Dog in Wyoming
Stop making that sound so easy! To make your dog a service dog in Wyoming, 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.
- You could train the dog yourself or with some help
- A dog trainer could help you
- You could find a professional service dog training program or organization
- Any combination of these can work
Even though service animals do not need to be professionally trained by an organization or school, they do need to be trained for their disability. This is not usually an easy task, and many people need at least some help.
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
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