Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Kevin Duxbury’s tip this week spotlights therapy-comfort pets — what the laws are about them, and where they are and are not allowed.
Here’s the tip from the station’s social media:
“I have often responded to calls concerning therapy/comfort animals regarding whether or not they are considered ‘service dogs’ and have the same rights as service dogs. In fact, they do not.
“Service dogs are animals that are specifically trained to do some type of work such as a seeing-eye dog or seizure alert dog. These animals are highly trained in their field by specialty trainers and are extremely expensive.
“They are required to wear a special license, as well as a vest with the animal’s identification and the owner’s identification.
“These animals are covered under the American Disabilities Act (ada.gov) and are permitted to go anywhere with the exception of a sterile operating room or burn center (for contamination reasons).
“Therapy/comfort animals with no specialty training are classified as ‘pets’ and therefore fall under all laws and regulations regarding pets. They must have a collar with their license at all times (as all dogs must) per LCMC 53.28.
“Additionally, they are NOT allowed in any business that sells or serves food, such as grocery stores or restaurants (FDA Food Code 6-501-115).
“For businesses or public buildings which do not serve food, it is at their discretion if they want to allow pets into their facilities or not for safety or cleanliness reasons.
“Claiming that an animal is a service dog, when in fact they are not, is a misdemeanor crime (Service Dog Fraud, 365.7(a) PC).
“There are lots of websites that can have different information. Beware of these as their information is not always accurate.
“If you have any questions regarding what qualifies a dog as a legitimate service dog, you can visit the American Disabilities Act website.
“Stay safe and take care.”