Q: What is a service dog?
Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
(CFR Title 28 36.104)
Q: How do I recognize a service dog?
Ventura County Animal Services issues Assistance Dog tags to eligible persons filing an Assistance Dog Identification Application and Affidavit for a dog specially trained as a guide dog, signal dog or service dog. Ventura County Animal Services, upon receipt of the proper documents, endorses the license application, as appropriate, and issues a special tag denoting ASSISTANCE DOG. The animal owner, or trainer as the case may be, should be able to provide any inquiring merchant, property owner, property manager or similar interested person with a copy of this document. If no written proof is provided, a call to Ventura County Animal Services to verify endorsement by license number should be sufficient proof of the status of the dog. It is the owner / trainers responsibility to request that the dog license application be so endorsed, and that all required documentation be provided. An application for an ASSISTANCE dog tag may be procured by calling the Animal Services Licensing Division. Any person who knowingly and fraudulently represents himself to be the owner or trainer of an ASSISTANCE dog is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
Q: Where can service dogs be taken?
(1) General. Generally, a public accommodation shall modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
(2) Exceptions. A public accommodation may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if:
(i) The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it; or
(ii) The animal is not housebroken.
(3) If an animal is properly excluded. If a public accommodation properly excludes a service animal under § 36.302(c)(2), it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises.
(4) Animal under handler's control. A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
(5) Care or supervision. A public accommodation is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.
(6) Inquiries. A public accommodation shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public accommodation may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public accommodation shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public accommodation may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).
(7) Access to areas of a public accommodation. Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a place of public accommodation where members of the public, program participants, clients, customers, patrons, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
(8) Surcharges. A public accommodation shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public accommodation normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.
(CFR Title 28, 36.302)
GUIDELINES FOR ASSISTANCE DOG TAG APPLICATION
The animal owner must complete, sign and submit an “Assistance Dog Identification Application and Affidavit” to Ventura County Animal Services, and
- The animal owner must provide proof of current rabies vaccination and license at the time that the application is filed and must maintain both license and rabies vaccination current at all times, and
- The animal owner understands that they must obey all laws, ordinances and regulations regarding proper care, keeping, housing and restraint of dogs, and
- The owner agrees that immediately upon the death, disability, relocation or retirement of the dog, the “Assistance Dog Tag” must be surrendered to Ventura County Animal Services.
Dog owners found to be attempting to circumvent rules and restrictions regarding the keeping of pets by claiming “Assistance Dog” status when such status is not warranted will be prosecuted pursuant to California Penal Code Section 365.7.
Download an ASSISTANCE dog tag Application and Affidavit