Big Island police remind public about rules for service animals
Hawaiʻi Island police are reminding the public that service animals are allowed to enter businesses and other public places where pets are not permitted.
A service animal is described as any dog 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 Americans with Disabilities Act does not require service animals to wear a specific vest, identification tag or harness.
Service animals are working animals, not pets. Their work or task must directly relate to the person’s disability.
Individuals with disabilities are entitled to access any facilities, services or programs open to the public with their service animals as long as the presence of the 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 harnessed, leashed or tethered at all times and not be disruptive or unsafe. A service animal also must be under control of the handler and the handler should follow hygiene standards.
An animal that provides comfort or emotional support does not qualify as a service animal under Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For additional assistance, contact the following agencies:
- Hawaiʻi County Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator at 808-961-8361.
- Hawaiʻi Disability Rights Center at 808-949-2922.
- Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission at 808-586-8636.
- U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights, at 800-514-0301.