The Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) website refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it defines a service animal “…as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.” This is in agreement with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, who revised the ADA requirements for Service Animals in 2010 to state that as of March 15, 2011, only dogs would be recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA. Title II are state and local government service entities, while Title III are public accommodations and commercial entities.

The law specifies that “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.”

In recent years, miniature horses have been recognized as service animals. Additional provisions for this type of service animal were included in the 2010 ADA revision. The horse “…must have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities,” and “entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable.” These entities will be able to take into consideration whether the horse is housebroken, if it’s under the owner’s control, if the facility can house the size, type and weight of the animal, and the safe operation of the entity.

Further information about the requirements for service animals can be found under Service Animals or Service Animals in Places of Business.

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