From Guide Dogs to Therapy Squirrels: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Animal Welfare Professionals

From Guide Dogs to Therapy Squirrels: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Animal Welfare Professionals
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-03-28
Unit 1Slide Deck: From Guide Dogs to Therapy Squirrels: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Animal Welfare Professionals
Unit 2Workbook: From Guide Dogs to Therapy Squirrels, The Americans with Disabilities Act and Animal Welfare Professionals
Unit 3Recording: From Guide Dogs to Therapy Squirrels: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Animal Welfare Professionals

Animals have proven themselves useful to humans for a long time – from assisting with hunting, farming, transport and more recently, as a source of joy, affection, and emotional support. Currently, animals have been assisting humans for a more specialized purpose – by being of service to those with disabilities.

This webinar’s instructor, Nick Lippincott, will talk about service animals and how they relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Nick is currently the Senior Animal Services Officer for the Orange County Animal Services Field Division and is a part of the Board of Directors for the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA).  He started out as a veterinary technician and chose humane law enforcement as his career tracking.

While the ADA was put into effect with the goal of protecting rights of those with disabilities, some of its conditions aren’t as defined – this includes the guidelines on legalities related to service animals. It becomes a balancing act of whose safety and welfare must take precedence. On this course, Nick unpacks the ADA’s provisions on service animals, defining what they are and their purpose, as well as the legalities involved. Some of the details Nick discussed include:

  • An overview of the ADA and how it defines service animals – distinguishing which animals can be a service animal based on the ADA guidelines.
  • The two key questions to ask when trying to identify service animals.
  • Case examples of service animals in different scenarios and how the ADA guidelines apply to each of these.
  • ADA’s federal guidelines, the variation in state laws relating to it, and how federal and state laws must be applied in cases.
  • Definitions of disability, public entity, and direct threat that must be remembered when dealing with the legalities of service animals.
  • Odd assistance animal stories that made it to the news.
  • Other types of assistance animals such as emotional support and therapy animals – what are they and what do they do.
  • Other federal regulations that provide accommodations and guidelines on assistance animals.
  • A rundown of some of the common jobs that services animals provide for individuals with disabilities.
  • Questions raised by the audience during the Q&A segment are about:
    • Policies on the ADA guidelines for service animals.
    • Dealing with a diabetic alert service dog in a hospital
    • Removing a service animal due to another individual’s allergies.
    • Consequences for misrepresenting service animals.
    • Clarifying the specific task that a service animal provides.
    • Medical notes and other documentation that may be required for service animals



Audience Feedback: 

  • “The separation of different classifications —- inf was very good. I just had a 4hr seminar with [a different service provider] agotgor better info here. Thank you!” — Walter
  • “Good questions and answers pertaining to SERVICE DOGS & their behavior included. Explains the difference of Therapy, Emotional Support & service dogs and their jobs.” — Ann
  • “I enjoyed the whole broadcast. It answered many questons I have had regarding this issue in the city I work in. Thank you again.” – Juliette


View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





Additional Resources
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