Under federal and Florida’s law, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals may be accommodated in any and all public spaces including, but not limited to, museums, stores, restaurants, motels/hotels, and schools. Requirements under the ADA, as well as in Florida, also include accessibility for service animals on transportation services, so as to not discriminate against people with disabilities. Florida’s law regarding service animals defines these furry companions as “animals that are trained to do work or perform tasks for someone with a physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory, or intellectual disability (“Florida Laws on Service Dogs…”).

There are rules that are tied with service animals, however, which requires these furry heroes to be kept under control by their owner in any form and should, thereby, be attached to a leash unless the owner’s disability does not permit it. As for fees, service animals are not allowed to be charged for entry into or accommodations in a public space. On the other hand, if the service animal performs any damage to the institution, you may be asked to pay for the cost of repairs. As long as your service animal is not threatening the safety of the space, or making efforts to disrupt others, they are welcome.

The Fair Housing Act, under federal law, requires housing associations to fully accept service animals with their respective owners, without being charged extra by any landlord. Like federal law, Florida also requires equal rights to housing for those with disabilities, but both laws only permit service animals who perform services for those with disabilities and alleviate the effects of their disability. When renting or purchasing a property, always make sure to ask about their policy for service animals before making a decision.

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