The AZ House, on a vocal vote, agreed to narrow the definition of “service animal” to only cover service dogs and miniature horses.
If the law were to gain Senate approval, all other service animals would become illegal under the law.
The American with Disabilities Act requires that public places must accommodate for service animals and individuals who require the assistance of such animals.
Many people will be dismayed when their service squirrels are no longer allowed. But, such restrictions are a growing trend. Two years ago, the United States Department of Justice revised its rules to define service animals as dogs and miniature horses.
However, the law has some questionable aspects. Under the Arizona law, no service animal (even a mini-horse) would be allowed if it was needed just for emotional support. However, the Arizona law still allows service animals for individuals suffering from psychiatric and neurological disorders “by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.”
This brings us to an interesting issue, how would a business owner ascertain whether someone had a disability that required a service animal? The new law could bring business owners into dangerous legal territory if they were to deny service.
Federal law allows business owners to ask two questions if they suspect someone doesn’t have a need for the service animal.
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task the animal has been trained to perform?
They can’t ask for medical documentation and information regarding the person’s disability. Imagine the headlines now, “Shop Owner Denies Service to Stressed Man with Mini-Horse.”