Access Laws Map

Pawsible's access laws map is an interactive map of the United States detailing access laws pertaining to service dogs and their handlers in each state!

While knowledge of assistance dogs is becoming more common in the US, you may still run in to issues with your pup or even places that are exempt from the ADA and state laws. Use our Access Laws Map and this resource to ensure you are educated and prepared when going out in public.

What are Public Access Laws?

  • Access laws provide legal rights to service dog handlers and service dogs in training to go in public places such as restaurants, stores, movie theaters, etc.

  • Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public locations generally must allow service dogs and their handlers to have access

  • Service Dogs in Training (SDiTs) are not covered by the ADA

  • States individually decide whether SDiTs are allowed Public Access

  • Only four US states do not include SDiTs in their public access laws

  • Hawaii, Michigan, Washington, and Wyoming


How to Advocate for your Pup

  • Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, public access for service dog handlers is guaranteed by law

  • If you are faced with a situation where someone attempts to restrict public access because of your service dog or service dog in training, use the map below to show them the letter of the law

  • For SDiTs, talk to your volunteer leader about how to handle these situations. Most organizations do not want you causing a scene and would prefer you leave and call the company later to educate them

  • If you believe that you or another person has been discriminated against by an entity covered by the ADA, you may file a complaint with the Disability Rights Section (DRS) in the Department of Justice

  • Just remember SDiTs are not covered by the ADA


Tips

  • Be polite, not everyone knows about service dogs and public access laws

  • Explain that this dog is either in training or is performing specific, necessary tasks

  • Explain that the law in your state protects you from discrimination and that you and your dog are entitled to full access of public areas

  • If possible, use the interaction as an educational experience to prevent future discrimination for others

  • If you've had an issue with a place before, call prior to going to ensure they are educated


Exceptions to the ADA

  • Religious organizations and religious entities controlled by religious organizations are not required to follow ADA laws

  • Private membership clubs and non-profit, private clubs, except for labor organizations, are also exempt

  • According to the National Park Service, service dogs are legally permitted anywhere that visitors can go

  • However, there is no official mention of in training dogs, so we suggest calling ahead to be sure your dog is permitted

  • National Parks are under federal jurisdiction, not state, so public access coverage may vary