Guide Dogs Law and Legal Definition

Guide dogs, or "seeing eye dogs" who assist blind persons are one category of a service animal. Guide dogs perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual who is blind cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are specially trained and a few states require guide dog instructors to be licensed.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their guide dogs onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations, like local health department regulations or other state or local laws. However, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded, and when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded. Accommodation must also be made for guide dogs in public aircraft and no extra fee may be charged for such accommodation.

The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. Nevertheless, many states have similar laws.