AG resolves civil rights case after Tucson veteran and repair canine denied service

TUCSON, Arizona (KOLD News 13) – A Tucson veteran is fined after a company refuses to serve him and his service animal, according to the Arizona Attorney General.

AG Mark Brnovich announced that his office had resolved the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) complaint against a Tucson facility that allegedly refused to serve a veteran because his service animal was with him.

In March 2020, the veteran filed a complaint with the AGO of discrimination against P’Nosh Deli and Catering Company / Old Father Inn for refusing to serve and abandon him because of his disability and his service dog.

To resolve the case, the facility agreed to pay the veteran damages, civil penalties, and a donation to a facility that trains veteran service animals. In addition, the facility will implement anti-discrimination guidelines in line with AzDA and provide service animal training.

“The Arizonans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities from inequality and denial of service,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Nobody, especially our heroic veterans, shouldn’t be prevented from enjoying our great Arizona facilities because he or she needs a service animal.”

AzDA FAQ’s What is a service animal?

Service animals in the sense of the AzDA are dogs that are individually trained for work or tasks for people with disabilities. Miniature horses can also be service animals.

There are other types of service animals, such as emotional support animals and companion animals. Assistance animals that do not meet the definition of a service animal are not service animals in the sense of the AzDA. Cats and other domesticated animals, for example, are not service animals in the sense of the AzDA. Likewise, dogs that are not individually trained to do work or tasks for a person with a disability are not service animals in the sense of the AzDA.

I have a no pets policy. Can I exclude service animals?

Service animals are not pets; They are specially trained to help people with disabilities. Discrimination for the purposes of the AzDA may include failure to make appropriate changes to an institution’s policies, practices, or procedures when the changes are necessary to provide goods and services to a person with a disability. For example, a facility may be required to make an appropriate amendment to a pet ban policy if a person is disabled because of a need for a service animal.

What questions can I ask if someone tries to break into my facility with a dog?

When a person’s disabled need for a service animal is evident, no questions need to be asked. For example, if a person owns a guide dog or uses a miniature horse for mobility aid, it is inappropriate to ask additional questions.

When the need for a service animal isn’t obvious, staff can ask two questions:

(1) Is the dog / miniature horse a service animal due to a disability?

(2) What work or task has the dog / miniature horse been trained for?

Facility owners / operators need to keep in mind that some disability-related needs for a service animal may not be apparent. For example, there are dogs that are trained to alert a dog handler of an impending stroke, a change in blood chemistry in a diabetic, and to support a dog handler with post-traumatic stress disorder. In all of these examples, both the individual’s handicap and the need for a companion animal associated with the handicap are unlikely to be apparent.

Can I ask for proof of certification of service animals?

There is no official certification requirement for service animals. A service animal can be individually trained to help someone with a disability and cannot be certified.

If a dog doesn’t wear a service animal vest, can it still be a service animal?

Although many service animals wear vests with a service animal patch, there is no official requirement that service animals have a particular vest, harness, lease, or collar.

Although service animals do not have to carry special items, they must be under the control of their handler and must be harnessed, leashed or tied, unless the handler’s disability prevents them from using these devices or the devices hinder the performance of his duties.

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