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The right to bring assistance dogs to public places in Idaho is protected only if they aid people with physical limitations.

People with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by their service animals in restaurants, hotels, markets, theaters, and other public places under Idaho’s public accommodations legislation and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Idaho legislation is more restrictive than the ADA in that it only applies to animals that aid the physically impaired and not to animals that assist individuals with mental disorders. However, public accommodations in Idaho are required to follow both sets of rules.

We explain which public establishments are covered, which animals qualify as service animals, and what guidelines you may need to follow with your support animal in the sections below.

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In Idaho, what qualifies as a public accommodation?

People with disabilities may be accompanied by their assistance dogs on all common carriers and public conveyances (modes of transportation such as buses, taxis, trains, boats, and so on); all hotels and other lodging establishments; all places of public amusement, resort, or accommodation; and all places to which the public is invited in Idaho.

The definition of public accommodations under the ADA is rather wide. It includes the following:

hotels and other types of accomodation
public transportation terminals, depots, and stations restaurants and other locations that sell or rent food and beverages
any place of public meeting, such as an auditorium or convention center places of amusement and exhibition, such as theaters or sports stadiums
Recreational facilities, such as zoos and parks, libraries, museums, and other locations where artifacts are gathered or shown publicly educational institutions, and social service centers.

Under the ADA, religious institutions such as churches, synagogues, and mosques are not considered public accommodations. This is true even if the religious body provides secular services, such as a day care facility that accepts children regardless of whether they are members of or associated with the religious institution. Private clubs (member-controlled nonprofit organizations that are very selective, demand significant membership fees, and were not formed to avoid compliance with civil rights legislation) are likewise not protected by the ADA. However, if a private club makes amenities accessible to nonmembers, such facilities are subject to the ADA’s public accommodation regulations.

In Idaho, which service animals are covered?

You have the right to bring your assistance dog with you to public facilities under Idaho law. An assistance dog consists only of:

A guide dog is a dog that has been specially trained to assist someone who is blind or visually impaired, a hearing dog is a dog that has been specially trained to assist someone who is deaf, or a service dog is a dog that has been specially trained to assist someone with another type of physical disability.

Psychiatric therapy dogs and other animals that aid people with mental disabilities are not protected under Idaho law.

A service animal is defined under the ADA as a dog that has been taught to do duties or labor for the benefit of a person with a physical or mental handicap. A miniature horse may potentially qualify as a service animal in certain situations. The following are examples of service animals that must be permitted in public facilities under the ADA:

Hearing dogs alert their handlers to important sounds such as alarms, doorbells, and other signals guide dogs assist those who are blind or visually impaired in safely navigating psychiatric service animals assist their handlers in managing mental and emotional disabilities by, for example, interrupting self-harming behaviors, reminding handlers to take medication, checking spaces for intruders, or providing calming pressure during anxiety or panic attacks
Seizure alert animals warn their handlers of oncoming seizures and may even protect their handlers during seizure activity, while allergy alert animals warn their handlers of potentially toxic foods or other substances (such as peanuts).

Neither the ADA nor Idaho’s human rights legislation address what some refer to as “emotional support animals”: animals whose presence offers a feeling of safety, friendship, and comfort to persons suffering from mental or emotional disorders. Although these animals often provide therapeutic advantages, they are not individually taught to execute specific activities for their handlers, nor are they specifically trained to aid a specific person who is blind, deaf, or has another physical impairment. Pets are likewise not protected by state or federal law.

Service Animal Guidelines

A public accommodation may not ask you questions about your impairment or request certification, identification, or other evidence of your animal’s training or status under the ADA. Whether it is unclear what your service animal does, the business may just inquire if it is a service animal and what responsibilities it does for you.

The ADA and Idaho law both prohibit public establishments from charging a special entry charge or forcing you to pay any other additional fees in order to have your service animal with you. You may, however, be required to pay for any damage your animal causes.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) authorizes a public accommodation to refuse your service animal if it presents a clear hazard to health and safety (or example, if your dog is aggressively barking and snapping at other customers, the facility can kick the dog out). Your animal may also be excluded if it is not housebroken or if it is out of control and you are unable or unwilling to regulate it adequately. Even if your service animal is not permitted, you have the right to access the public facility.

Housing for Service Animals in Idaho

The Human Rights Act of Idaho forbids property owners from discriminating against people with disabilities who want to rent or buy their property (among other things). The Act also compels property owners to make reasonable changes to their property to enable someone with a handicap to fully utilize and enjoy it. However, this statute makes no mention of service animals.

The federal Fair Housing Act expressly forbids discrimination against persons who utilize service animals in housing accommodations. You must have full and equal access to all housing facilities, and you may not be charged an additional fee for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes). A “no pets” restriction in your lease or rental agreement does not apply to your assistance animal.

Housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals if required for a person with a handicap to have an equal chance to utilize and enjoy the house, according to the federal Fair Housing Act. To be eligible for this provision, you must have a handicap and a disability-related need for the animal. To qualify, the animal must labor, provide duties or services, or lessen the emotional impact of your impairment. (For further information, see the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s service animal advice.)

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