Q: Are the rules for service animals different on public transportation than they are for service animals in other areas like restaurants and stores?
A: The biggest difference between the Dept. of Transportation’s (DOT) ADA regulations regarding service animals and the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) regulations (which would apply in areas like restaurants and retail spaces) is in the DOT definition of a service animal. For the DOT regulations, a service animal is “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” People with disabilities must be permitted to have their service animal accompany them on transit vehicles and in transit facilities if they meet this definition. While the DOJ definition limits the species of service animals to dogs, and in some cases miniature horses, the DOT definition of a service animal does not limit the species of animal in the same way.
To read more about what the term service animal means and where, check out the article, The ADA and Service Animals.