(BIVN) – The law in regard to service animals in Hawaiʻi County was recently clarified in a police news release.
From the Hawaiʻi Police Department:
Hawaiʻi Island police want to remind the public that the law allows service animals to enter businesses and other public places where pets are not allowed.
A service animal is described as any dog that is specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other disability. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require service animals to wear a specific vest, ID tag, or harness.
Service animals are working animals, not pets. The animal’s trained work or task must be directly related to the person’s disability. An animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support does not qualify as a service animal under Title II and Title III of the ADA.
Individuals with disabilities are entitled to access any facilities, services or programs with their service animals that are open to the public, provided that the presence of the service animal does not fundamentally alter the nature of the service or program, or pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others. A service animal must be either harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times and must not be disruptive or unsafe. In addition, a service animal must be under control of the handler and the handler should follow hygiene standards.
For further assistance, police say contact the following agencies:
- Hawaiʻi County ADA Coordinator (808) 961-8361
- Hawaiʻi Disability Rights Center (808) 949-2922
- Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission (808) 586-8636
- United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights, (800) 514-0301