Laws Regarding Service Animals

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Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans With Disabilities Act defines a disability as with respect to an individual--

       (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

       (B) a record of such an impairment; or

       (C) being regarded as having such an impairment.

And defines a Service Animal as:

Any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Tasks typically performed by service animals include guiding people with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to the presence of intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items.

The Department of Justice has put out a Commonly Asked Questions by Business about Service Animals document. Please take a look at it HERE for information what businesses can expect from an Assistance Dog team and what the rights are of the business as well.

State Laws

Many states have specific laws granting a disabled person access with a Service Animal. Please check with your state to see if you are protected under a state law, as it is often easier to get resolution about an access problem at the state level.

I have gotten all the states except one with all laws listed, so that there is an easy reference. There are links to each state website.

State Service Dog laws

Washington State Laws

The Revised Criminal Code (RCW) of Washington is the actual LAW that governs our state. RCW 49.60 is the civil rights law that grants disabled persons the right to be accompanied by a service animal.

RCW 70.84 is the original law that 49.60 is replacing in regards to Service Animals, but RCW 70.84 also has some sections that are currently in effect.

RCW 9.91.170 is the law that protects your service dog from being interferred with by a person or another dog. Link will open in a new window.

Washington Administrative Code (WAC) expands on the RCW, and is used to interpret the RCW. Click here for the WAC that cooresponds with RCW 49.60 and RCW 70.84.

The above pages are broken down into each section of the law, but if you need the ENTIRE law, you may download the files below. They are in text format.

WAC (80k)

RCW 49.60 (97k)
RCW 70.84 (7k)

I am working on the above files to edit them and clean them up, so be warned there may be extra paragraph breaks and such if you download them before I finish.


If you use the above link, take out the -REMOVE in the email address.

*Copyright © 1998-2007 Dana L. Marshall
*All Rights Reserved