Service Animals in the Library

Arapahoe Libraries welcomes patrons to bring service animals and emotional support animals into the library. 

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets.  

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. 

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. 

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 

Rules Related to Service Animals: 

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. 
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility. 
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove their service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence. 
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises. 
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. 
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal. Assess  
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal. 

Source: ada.gov/service_animals 

ADA Website 

ADA.gov
ADA Information Line 

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)
M-W, F 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Th 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm (Eastern Time) to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.   

Emotional Support Animals 

From the National Service Animal Registry, nsarco.com/emotional-support-info

“An emotional support animal (ESA) is a person’s pet that has been prescribed by a person’s licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist (any licensed mental health professional). The animal is part of the treatment program for this person and is designed to bring comfort and minimize the negative symptoms of the person’s emotional/psychological disability. 

"All domesticated animals may qualify as an ESA (cats, dog, mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, hedgehogs, rats, mini pigs, ferrets, etc.) and they can be any age... These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person's psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog. The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance… 

"...your ESA has no more rights than a pet. That means they aren't protected by law to accompany you into any public place that does not allow pets. That doesn't mean these places won't let you, it just means that they are not required to, by law." 

At Arapahoe Libraries we welcome patrons to bring their emotional support animal into the library. However, if the animal is causing a disruption and/or interferes with other patrons’ use of the library, we may ask that the animal be moved to a different part of the library, or if necessary, removed from the library.  

Both service animals and emotional support animals must be harnessed/leashed/tethered/contained while inside the library. 

12/06/2017 

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