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Service Animals: Rights & Responsibilities

Service Animals: Rights & Responsibilities

About this Webinar:

Many people don’t understand the differences between a service animal and an emotional support animal. There’s also been a lot of confusion about the legal rights of an individual with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal. This presentation provides information on the legal status of service animals, the legal status of emotional support animals, and the various laws that apply to determine those rights. A lot of discussions come up about the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the rights of an individual to use a service animal are in several other statutes as well.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this webinar, providers should be able to:

  • Define “service animal” and how that differs from the definitions of “emotional support animal” and “therapy animal.”
  • Identify the rights and obligations of service animal handlers, and emotional support animal owners, in a variety of environments including:
    • Training is required for a service animal.
    • Rights of employees with disabilities to have an assistance animal go to work with them.
    • Rules for taking a service animal into public accommodations such as stores, medical offices, or hospitals; restaurants, or special events.
    • Handler obligations when taking a service animal into a public accommodation.
    • Questions a dog handler can be asked and when a dog handler might have to provide some type of documentation.
    • Housing rights of an individual with a disability to have a service animal or emotional support animal living with them.
    • Rights of disabled students, in K-12 schools and colleges, to take their service animals with them to class.
    • Whether a service animal or emotional support animal can accompany a handler on an airplane.
    • Whether a handler can be charged any fees, deposits, or cleaning expenses, because a service animal accompanies the handler.
  • Review how a social worker, case manager, or other professionals can help protect the handler’s rights to use a service animal.


Denette Vaughn, JD - Senior Attorney;  Disability Rights Texas

Denette is currently a Senior Attorney with Disability Rights Texas. She is a member of the Texas Governor’s Committee on Disabilities service animal workgroup.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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