Kansas Laws on Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals

Learn when Kansas laws allow you to have an assistance dog or emotional support animal in public places and housing.

By , J.D. · UC Berkeley School of Law

Below, we explain which animals qualify as assistance dogs or service animals in Kansas, where service animals are allowed, and some rules you may need to follow with your service animal.

What Counts as a Service Animal in Kansas?

Kansas law applies to "assistance dogs," which include:

  • guide dogs: dogs that are specially selected, trained, and tested to guide those who are blind
  • hearing assistance dogs: dogs that are specially selected, trained, and tested to alert or warn those who are hard of hearing to particular noises or sounds, and
  • service dogs: dogs that are specially selected, trained, and tested to perform tasks for those with other disabilities.

Under the ADA, a service animal is any dog or miniature horse that has been trained to perform disability-related tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. In addition to guide dogs and hearing assistance dogs, here are some other examples of service animals under the ADA:

  • 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).

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

How Are Public Accommodations Defined in Kansas?

In Kansas, people with disabilities may bring their guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs, or service dogs on all common carriers and forms of public transportation (including buses, trains, boats, and cars); to all hotels, lodgings, restaurants, other places that sell food; to all places of public resort, amusement, or accommodation; and to all other places to which the public is invited.

Under the ADA, the definition of public accommodations is also very broad. It includes restaurants, hotels, recreational facilities, parks, zoos, educational institutions, social service centers, and any other place of public gathering.

What Are the Rules Regarding Public Accommodations and Service Animals in Kansas?

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Kansas's disability rights law, people with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by their assistance dogs/service animals in restaurants, hotels, stores, theaters, and other public accommodations. Owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional support animals or pets. Kansas law specifically states that dogs who provide comfort, protection, or personal defense (and are not trained to mitigate someone's disability) don't qualify as assistance dogs.

Under Kansas law, if a question comes up about whether your animal is an assistance animal, you may provide the public accommodation with a letter or identification card. The contents of the card depend on whether you trained the animal yourself or it was trained by a school or professional trainer, but it must include a picture of the animal.

Under the ADA, however, 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. Public accommodations in Kansas must comply with both state and federal law.

The ADA and Kansas 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.

Finally, the ADA and Kansas's public accommodations law allow a public accommodation to exclude your service animal 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). Your animal may also be excluded if it is not housebroken, or if it is out of control and you are unable or unwilling to effectively control it. You are still entitled to enter the public accommodation even if your service animal is not allowed in.

What Are the Rules for Animals in Kansas Housing?

Kansas law and the federal Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination in housing accommodations against those who use service animals (or assistance dogs, under Kansas law). You must be allowed full and equal access to all housing facilities, and may not be charged extra for having a service animal (although you may have to pay for damage your animal causes). 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 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.)

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