Where Oregon and federal law allow you to bring your service animal or assistance animal.


People with disabilities may bring assistance animals to all “public accommodations,” including businesses, hotels, restaurants, shops, theaters, schools, government facilities, and more, under Oregon’s disability discrimination statute and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In Oregon, public accommodations must adhere to both state and federal regulations. We explain which public places are covered, which animals qualify as assistance animals, and what guidelines you may need to follow with your service animal in the sections below.

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What Exactly Are Public Accommodations?

In Oregon, you may bring your service animal into any public venue. Locations open to the public and owned by the government; services available to the public and supplied by a governmental entity; and places and services that provide the public accommodations, facilities, commodities, services, housing, amusements, transportation, and so on. Restaurants, stores, hotels, service businesses, hospitals, and arenas are all included in this description. However, Oregon law expressly excludes public hospitals, private clubs, and some penal institutions from coverage.

The definition of public accommodations under the ADA is both wide and comprehensive. It includes the following:

hotels and other types of accomodation
Terminals, depots, and stations for public transit
restaurants and other food and beverage sales or rental enterprises
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 assistance centers, such as elder centers, homeless shelters, and food banks.

Which Animals Are Included?

A service animal is a canine that has been specially taught to do duties or labor for the benefit of a person with a handicap, according to the ADA. The same terminology is used in Oregon law, however the phrase aid animals rather than service animals is used. (A miniature horse may qualify as a service animal in certain situations under the ADA, but not under Oregon law.) The following are examples of service animals that must be permitted in public facilities under the ADA:

Hearing dogs alert their owners to vital noises like alarms and doorbells.
Guide dogs assist the visually impaired in navigating safely; psychiatric service animals assist those with mental or emotional disabilities by 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 help protect their handlers during seizure activity, while allergy alert animals warn their handlers of potentially harmful foods (such as peanuts).

Neither the ADA nor Oregon’s service animal statute cover what some refer to as “emotional support animals,” which are animals that give a feeling of safety, companionship, and comfort to those who have mental or emotional disorders or conditions. Although these animals are often therapeutic, they are not specifically taught to do particular duties for their humans. Owners of public establishments are not obligated by the ADA or Oregon law to allow emotional support animals, only service animals.

Service Animal Guidelines

A public accommodation may not ask you questions about your impairment or require certification, identification, or other evidence of your animal’s training or status under the ADA and Oregon law. 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 Oregon 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.

Your service animal may be denied access to a public accommodation under the ADA if it presents a direct 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.

Housing for Service Animals in Oregon

The federal Fair Housing Act forbids discrimination against persons who utilize service animals in rental housing arrangements. You must have full and equal access to all housing amenities, and your landlord may not charge you an additional fee for keeping 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.

If your landlord has a no-pet policy, you may be required to submit trustworthy proof of your impairment and the link between your disability and your need for a service or assistance animal as an accommodation. A physician or other medical expert may offer this paperwork. However, if your handicap and need for a service or assistance animal are obvious or the landlord is already aware of them, your landlord may not request paperwork. If you are blind and rely on a guide dog for navigation, your landlord is unlikely to require evidence.

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.

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