Defining A Service Animal

(credit:  Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Amy Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The law requires businesses to allow service animals to enter their premises, but what exactly is a service animal?

A paraplegic California man is suing two stores after they refused to allow him in with his miniature horse. Under federal regulations, the term service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

But, though not defined as service animals, businesses must also accommodate the use of miniature horses provided they are housebroken and the animal’s task is directly related to the individual’s disability like pulling a wheelchair. And states or municipalities may have broader laws that don’t specify what types of animals can be service animals, or how directly related the animal’s tasks must be to the owner’s disability and must be allowed entrance, even if the business owner is inclined to say nay.

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