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Are service animals permitted in disaster shelters?

Yes. Permitting a service animal can be a form of reasonable modification of a policy. Typically, a service animal should be permitted to go where the public is allowed to go. The handler must be a person with a disability and the animal must be a service animal under the definition from the Department of Justice; a dog that is individually trained to perform a specific task for an individual with a disability. Shelter workers are permitted to ask if the animal is a service animal needed because of a disability. And they can also ask what task the animal has been trained to perform. The handler is responsible for the care of the service animal and for making sure that the service animal acts appropriately. To learn more, read the Northeast ADA fact sheet Key Facts About Service Animals for Disaster Shelter Workers.

If you have more questions about this or if you need to know more about something else under the ADA, please contact the Northeast ADA Center at 800-949-4232, by email at, or by submitting a question through our website.


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