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This overview provides information on service animals in the Libraries, resources on the topic, and scripts for how to approach users if you have questions about whether or not an animal is a service animal.

Are service animals allowed in the Libraries?

Yes

What is a service animal?

A service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse trained to perform a specific task or tasks to assist someone with a disability.

Who can bring a service animal into the Libraries?

  • People with disabilities who have a service animal trained to perform a particular task
  • People who are training service animals

How do I know if a dog is a service animal or not?

Some service dogs wear vests clearly labeling them as such.

If someone enters a building with a dog, you may ask the following questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  • The following are examples of answers people might give to this question:
    • it's trained to alert me to take medication
    • it's trained to alert me to something that will trigger my PTSD
    • it's trained to alert me when i might have a seizure
    • it's trained to help maneuver my wheelchair

Do not ask about the person's disability!

Are emotional support animals considered service animals?

No, NYS law does not consider emotional support animals as service animals; emotional support animals are not allowed in the Libraries.

What if a service dog is being disruptive?

Service animals are trained to remain calm and obedient in a variety of settings. Most service dogs will be able to handle a busy library environment. If a service dog becomes disruptive or unruly (e.g., barking, wandering), let the owner know that their service dog is creating a disruption and ask them to keep their service dog under control. If the service dog continues to be disruptive, get assistance from a manager or supervisor.

Additional Resources

ADA Guide to Service Animals: https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

NYS guide to service animals: https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/service_animals_brochure.pdf

Libraries code of conduct: https://library.albany.edu/about/codeofconduct