Jump to a section:
- Introduction to Service Dog Laws Wyoming
- What is a Service Animal?
- ADA Definition of Service Animal
- FHA Definition of Assistance Animal
- ACAA Definition of Service Animal
- What about a Service Dog for Anxiety?
- Training of Service Dogs
- Public Access Rights
- Service Dogs-In-Training
- Information For Businesses & Covered Entities
- Service Dog Vests, ID, Harnesses, Certification
- Care & Supervision of Service Animals
- City-Specific Registration, Vaccinations, Licenses
- Voluntary Registration at Colleges & Other Places
- Service Dog Breeds – Exclusions
Introduction to Service Dog Laws Wyoming
Service animals are used by people who are living with disabilities. These special dogs are trained specifically to help someone to be able to fully participate in everyday life.
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
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 their own individual state laws regarding 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. Keep reading for all the details.
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – What is a Service Animal?
There are three (3) main definitions of service dog or service animal, so if you’re feeling confused, you’re not the only one. There are multiple different laws which 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
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.
ADA Definition of Service Animal
The ADA governs 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 a service dog, 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 a 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 a 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 air plane.
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 another kind of mental disability
- 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.
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 – Service Dog Laws Wyoming
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 dog to any place where the public is normally allowed or invited to go.
This includes places like restaurants, movie theaters, law courts, grocery stores, salad bars, self-serve food lines like the ones found in shelters and dormitories, libraries, and the list goes on.
Service Dog Laws Wyoming – Hotels
Someone with a disability who uses a service dog has as much 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 room, a hotel is then permitted to charge the same fee for damages as they charge to other guests.
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.
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 need to make arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital.
Information For Businesses & Covered Entities about Service Dog Laws Wyoming
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 Laws Wyoming – 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.
Care and Supervision – Service Dog Laws Wyoming
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 – Service Dog Laws Wyoming
Even though the ADA does not require these things federally, service dogs are not exempt from local laws with regards 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 – Service Dog Laws Wyoming
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 know 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 registry 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.