Arizona Laws on Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals

Arizona and federal law allow you to bring service dogs, but not emotional support animals, to all public places.

By , J.D.
How old are you?Step 1 of 11

Under Arizona's service animal law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities may bring their service animals to all "public accommodations," including restaurants, schools, grocery stores, theaters, businesses, motels, and more. Public accommodations in Arizona must comply with both state and federal law. Learn below which animals qualify as service animals and which public accommodations must allow them.

Service Animals Defined in Arizona

Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform disabillity-related tasks or work for the benefit of a person with a disability. In some cases, a miniature horse may also qualify as a service animal. Examples of service animals that must be allowed into public accommodations under the ADA include:

  • hearing dogs, which alert their handlers to important sounds, such as alarms, doorbells, and other signals
  • guide dogs, which help those who are blind or visually impaired navigate safely
  • psychiatric service animals, which help their handlers manage mental and emotional disabilities by, for example, 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, which let their handlers know of impending seizures, and may also guard their handlers during seizure activity, and
  • allergen alert animals, which let their handlers know of foods or other substances that could be dangerous (such as peanuts).

Arizona defines a service animal similarly: A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is trained (or is in the process of being trained) to perform work or tasks for someone with a physical or sensory disability or an intellectual, psychiatric, or other mental disability. Arizona law lists the tasks such an animal might perform, which include pulling a wheelchair, providing stability, alerting someone to noise or allergens, assisting someone during a seizure, assisting with navigation, fetching medication, or interrupting destructive or impulsive behavior.

Neither the ADA nor Arizona's service animal law includes what some people call therapy dogs or "emotional support animals": animals that provide a sense of safety, companionship, and comfort to those with psychiatric or emotional disabilities or conditions. Although these animals often have therapeutic benefits, they are not individually trained to perform specific tasks for their handlers. Under the ADA and Arizona law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional support animals, only service animals.

These laws also don't apply to pets. Arizona law specifies that a business, including a public accommodation, may have a "no pets" policy, as long as it is not used to exclude service animals.

Which Public Accommodations Must Allow Service Animals

Arizona's service animal law applies broadly to any place of business, office, or place of recreation to which the general public is invited, whether it is run by a public or private entity. It applies also to all forms of transportation, specifically including taxis, ambulances, and tow trucks.

Special rules apply to zoos or wild animal parks. Arizona law provides that these establishments may exclude service animals from areas where they may come into direct contact with the animals in the zoo or park. Service animals must be allowed in areas where a physical barrier separates them from the wild animals, however. And, the zoo or park must provide a safe, clean, and comfortable area for service animals to wait while their handlers visit areas their animals can't enter.

Under the ADA, the definition of public accommodations is very broad. It includes:

  • hotels and other lodging places
  • public transportation and terminals, depots, and stations
  • restaurants
  • sales or rental establishments and service establishments
  • any place of public gathering, such as an auditorium, stadium, theater, museum, gym, or park
  • educational institutions, and
  • social service centers, like senior centers, homeless shelters, and food banks.

Rules for Your Service Animal

Under the ADA and Arizona law, a public accommodation may not ask you questions about your disability or demand to see certification, identification, or other proof of your animal's training or status. If it is not apparent what your service animal does, the establishment may ask you only whether it is a service animal, and what tasks it performs for you.

The ADA and Arizona law prohibit public accommodations from charging a special admission fee or requiring you to pay any other extra cost to have your service animal with you. However, you may have to pay for any damage your animal causes.

Under the ADA and Arizona law, your service animal can be excluded from a public accommodation if:

  • it poses a direct threat to health and safety (or example, if your dog is aggressively barking and snapping at other customers, the facility can kick the dog out)
  • it is not housebroken
  • it is out of control and you are unable or unwilling to control it
  • it poses an undue burden on the establishment, or
  • it fundamentally alters the nature of the establishment or the goods or services it provides.

Service Animals in Arizona Housing

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental housing accommodations against those who use service dogs or animals. This means that your landlord may not charge you extra for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes) and you must be allowed full and equal access to all housing facilities. If your lease or rental agreement includes a "no pets" provision, it does not apply to your service animal.

Pursuant to the federal Fair Housing Act, housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. To fall under this provision, you must have a physical or mental disability and you must have a disability-related need for the animal. In other words, the animal must work, perform tasks or services, or alleviate the emotional effects of your disability in order to qualify. (For more information, see the Department of Housing and Urban Development's guidance on service animals.)

Arizona's fair housing law does not specifically mention service animals. However, it prohibits disability discrimination by those who sell or rent residential property, and it requires sellers or landlords to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. According to the Arizona Attorney General's fair housing page, this includes accommodating an assistive animal.

Talk to a Disability Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Boost Your Chance of Being Approved

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Our experts have helped thousands like you get cash benefits.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you