Should You Allow Dogs in Your Small Business?

Gene Marks

Here’s an interesting one: A customer walks into your business with a service dog. Is that okay with you?

Why not, right? First of all, dogs are awesome. Besides that, it seems like dogs are everywhere nowadays, and service dogs are growing in number. When traveling, I’ve had a dog as a nearby seatmate on numerous flights, and I often see people walking around town with service companions. And yet this is not just about service dogs. It’s also not uncommon to be greeted by a dog when I visit a client. Some companies—like Amazon—openly allow their employees to bring their dogs to work.

Dogs are more and more welcome everywhere, right?

Well, not exactly. One business in Colorado turned away a customer because he had what he claimed to be a service dog with him—and didn’t have the paperwork to prove it.

“She [the dog] helps me with my conditions,” the customer, a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, told a local television station. “It’s just an important relationship.” So what was the problem?

The problem was that the business served food—and customers were complaining to management about the dog’s presence—so the owner took action. Unfortunately, state law in Colorado wasn’t exactly on her side. The law states that service dogs are allowed in restaurants (but, even though their manners are likely better than those of many people I’ve seen eating out, they’re still not allowed to actually sit at the table).

The problem was the lack of paperwork.

The owner contended that there was no indication that the dog was a service dog. But here the rules were not on her side either. Colorado regulations only require the owner to ask and rely on the customer’s response. “There’s no documentation required; it does not need to be present with the service animal,” a state official said in the television report. It is, however, a crime in Colorado if someone misrepresents an animal as a service animal.

Business owners in the state do have some recourse. If any animal, regardless of its status, acts aggressively or attacks someone, the animal and its owner can be asked to leave. This was not the case here. Bottom line: The customer was within his rights.

What are the specific laws around service animals?

Let’s clear up some confusion. First off, there’s a big difference between service dogs and emotional support animals—which may also be referred to as therapy or comfort animals—when it comes to the law.

Service dogs are trained to help with specific tasks directly related to a disability—whether it’s a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Say you’re visually impaired. Your guide dog would have to be trained as your ultimate travel tool, helping you cross the street and get you where you want to go—safely. Or maybe you’re a vet who suffers from PTSD and your service dog would be trained to make sure all the lights are on and sniff out a room to make sure you’re safe from danger.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the ADA, a service animal has the right to accompany their owner into any establishment, even if there is a “no pet policy.” Service animals are not pets. Yet, although you may have a disability, a doctor’s note does not a service animal make—your pup has to be trained to help you with all the things you can’t do because of your disability.

On the flipside, emotional support, therapy, or comfort animals don’t require training: Their presence is a psychological benefit to their owners and is not covered under federal law. Fluffy the Cat—or any other animal providing emotional support—can’t be considered a service animal.

You’ve also probably heard the stories about fake service animals with documentation you can easily buy on the internet, or animals wreaking havoc in a shop. Fact: Federal law does not require certification or registration to prove the dog is a service animal. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice is familiar with the fake documents sold online: “There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.”

If you’re a business owner, you might think you have the right to ask for paperwork.

False.

Business owners can ask only two questions: whether the owner is disabled, and what tasks the dog has been trained to perform. However, if the disability is pretty obvious, you can’t ask. For example, if a dog is guiding someone who is blind (or has impaired vision), you can’t ask the two questions. You also can’t ask Fido to prove his skills or grill the owner about the nature of their disability. And you definitely can’t issue them a surcharge for walking into your store.

What rights do you have as a small business owner?

The individual handler is completely responsible for the behavior of their service animal and any attacks the animal makes. If their service dog wreaks havoc—out-of-control barking, jumping on people, running away, growling, etc.—and the owner doesn’t control the animal, you as the business owner have the right to deny access to any animal that disrupts your business or poses a direct threat to the health and safety of people in your place of business.

  • What if the service dog damages property? If your establishment normally charges people for the damages they cause, you can charge the owner of the service animal for any damages that occur as a result of the animal’s being in your shop.
  • What if people are allergic to or afraid of dogs? Sorry, no dice. You as the business owner have to accommodate the service dog with ample space for the dog and patrons who may have allergies or phobias.

Have more questions? You can check out the ADA FAQs online.

I’m a dog owner and don’t mind seeing dogs on planes and at clients’ offices. In fact, I think it’s fun, and it makes me smile. But I get that some people don’t like this—they may have fears, allergies, or just prefer not to be around animals while they travel, eat, work, or shop. In the end, dogs are dogs.

Even Amazon requires its employees to get permission from both managers and their teammates in their immediate work area in order to be allowed to bring their dogs to work. The company also requires vaccinations and has its own set of etiquette rules for both dogs and owners that require the owner…sorry, the dog…to be housebroken, well behaved, social, and healthy.

Should you allow dogs in your small business?

When it comes to your customers, you need to be familiar with your state’s laws, particularly as they apply to service dogs. Most I’ve found are similar to Colorado’s. And know that while state laws may be slightly different, all states have to comply with federal laws. To find out the specifics of state laws, head over to your state website and search for rules under the ADA. Or you can Google “service dog laws in [your state].”

For your employees, it’s all about the workplace, but know that bringing Fido into the office is different from someone who requires the presence of a service dog, which has to be accommodated under the law.

If we’re talking about pets, have a conversation with your employees and set rules for your business, modifying them when appropriate. It’s not fair to make anyone feel uncomfortable at their job, so ask first. Do a test period. Come up with a policy similar to Amazon’s. And always reserve the right, as the business owner, to override your policy if you feel there are safety or happiness concerns.

But, if all goes well, then sure—let ’em in. There’s no better way to bring a little happiness into your office than to introduce a friendly dog.

Tell us: Do you allow animals to enter your store, office, or restaurant? If so, does this apply to service animals only, or to all animals?

118 Responses to "Should You Allow Dogs in Your Small Business?"

    • Brian Taylor | April 18, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Absolutely. I allow and encourage employees to bring their dogs into the office. I have established, common-sense policies about the animal and bringing it to our office.

      1. must be up to date on all shots
      2. must be house-broken
      3. must be social and not aggressive toward people or animals in the office
      4. must not bark or disrupt the business functions
      5. owner is responsible for care, maintenance and clean-up in and around the property
      6. animal must not detract of inhibit your ability to perform you job function

      The employees love it and so do our customers. Many actually stay later at the office because they don’t need to rush home to take care of their pets.

      The animals love it. The get extensive social interaction with other humans and animals in a neutral territory.

    • Renee | April 18, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      I have a small Service dog and because my disability is psychological and not physical, I have heard nasty comments, been denied entry into restaurants and at my condo’s pool deck. It only exacerbates the problem. On the flip side, she spent 4 days with me in the hospital, in my bed, after a recent surgery. People need to understand that yes, some people lie and abuse the law, but most do not. Please understand, just because the person looks or is young and you do not see a disability, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Not all disabilities are visible

      • Elizabeth Larkin | April 19, 2018 at 9:13 am

        Dogs are amazing. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. Do you have documentation you can show business owners? – Elizabeth

    • Infocus Urgent Care | April 18, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Yes, we do.

    • Ron McKey | April 18, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Dogs are okay in my furniture showroom. They are always a little anxious, but become bored after 15 minutes of exploration. Never have had a problem in 35 years.

    • Laurence Kelley | April 18, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Yes, I allow my dogs in my office if they want to be with me.

    • Mona Royder | April 18, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      I take my 3 whippets to my office. They sleep under my desk. Our patients love seeing them in the office. Obviously, we keep them out of patient areas, they stay in the clerical part of the office. But everyone asks about them and brings them treats.

    • Danise Talbot | April 18, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      My dog comes to my shop and welcomes the customers or just sleeps through their visit . Clients looks ❤️ her

    • maurizio bonacini | April 18, 2018 at 11:35 pm

      I don’t allow any pets in a medical office. Only documented service animals.

    • B Tour | April 19, 2018 at 1:41 am

      I love dogs but I also like to abide to rules. If the person’s dog is indeed a Service Dog, then the documentation should be readily available. No further questions asked. What is the problem of presenting such proof? Don’t you need to present your Gov’ issued ID when you travel?

      I have seen people claiming their dog was a Service Dog when in reality it was not, just the behavior of the pet could indicate as such. The problem is that some people take advantage of loopholes in the laws for their own sole profit, without caring about others. I call this egoism and hypocrisy. Real Service Dogs go through thorough training and are great and respected for that, including their owners.

    • Infocus Urgent Care | April 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Sgt. Joseph Ryan Pie’ and our medical director bring their dogs to work. Staff and patients love seeing and playing with the dogs.

    • Lisap | April 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

      At one place I worked, a manager brought his dog to work, stating that it was a service animal. The dog however, would growl at anyone that came into the office, or even when they walked in to the building. The paperwork he supplied, was for a dog from 5 years ago, that was about 4 at the time. This dog was only 5 years old, so not the same animal, and the paperwork was more of an emotional support dog, that would allow him to take him on airplanes.

      In addition, one of my employees was terrified of dogs, and with him growling made it a hostile work environment for her. Where do you draw the line, I love my dogs, but I would not force them on someone who is not a dog person, or is scared of them.

      I really feel that all official service dogs should be licensed, and the owner carry the license with them. Just like a driver needs to carry a license with him. It does not need to state while they have a service dog, but that it is official, and this would eliminate a lot of issues in businesses, and stop people from bring their dogs with them everywhere, where people are afraid to offend them by asking if they are a service dog.

    • marsha small | April 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

      We own a small manufacturing company and sometimes bring our well-behaved and friendly 17 lb. terrier into our facility. We only have a handful of employees so it was easy to get a consensus. One of our employees regretted having to leave her dog at home all the time so after she described her 35 lb. mixed breed as quiet and well-behaved we agreed that she could bring her dog in too on certain days. Having dogs around is a slight distraction but we think that it is worthwhile. It helps create a bond between everyone there and does put a smile on our faces. Not everyone at our facility are dog lovers like the dog owners so the key is that the dog must be mannerly. I don’t want dogs there every day or during our busy season because they sometimes get in the way. It’s a nice break, however, to bring the dogs in occasionally.

    • Becki Benson | April 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

      I own a mental health billing company. I’ve no issues with dogs, I love all animals! I have cats. I do wonder what the legal and insurance ramifications are, especially for my therapist clients. Hartford, can you address this?

    • Chrisanne Hasecuster , WoodShapes Unlimited, Inc | April 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      We have a wonderful dog Stella. She is a MINI GOLDEN DOODLE and is wonderful. Very friendly, doesn’t jump on people, very seldom barks and is loved by all that come in. She has been through training and is an excellent dog. She comes in the morning and goes home with the owner in the evening
      And there have been times people come in to see how Stella is doing and have a little doggie love!

    • Joanne | April 19, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      I have no problem with dogs, but understand many people do. I don’t expect everyone to like my dog. I think service dogs should be licensed and wear a tag on their collar that needs to be periodically updated, just like they wear a tag to show their rabies shots are up to date. Then there’s not problem – you have the tag with you if anyone asks.

    • RaillyMc | April 20, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Wow, even after all these years, people still do not understand their rights and responsibilities. It makes zero difference what state we are discussing because service dogs are regulated under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as Amended 2009 (ADAA) (more commonly known as ADA), which is enforced by the Dep’t. of Justice (DOJ). Federal law supersedes state law each and EVERY time. The ADA varies between Title II and III, but for purposes of this, suffice it to say that the ADA only applies to: Public Transportation; buses, trains, taxis, etc., Public and Common Areas (e.g. businesses), and governmental buildings (City, County, State and Federal). The ADA does not cover the service animal provisions for aircraft/flights — they have their own laws, or housing, which is covered under the Fair Housing Act.

      ADA limits the definition of “Service Animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The revised regulations specify that “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purpose of this definition. Emotional support animals are expressly precluded from qualifying as service animals under the ADAA. There is a separate provision regarding trained miniature horses.

      As an ADA covered facility, a business for example, may legally ask two questions when encountering a person with a dog that enters their business: 1. Is this a service animal that is required because of a disability? 2. What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?

      These questions may only be asked if it is not readily apparent that the animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability: e.g., seeing-eye dog. An entity may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service dog. The dog is not required to wear a vest, or other insignia.

      The animal may be denied access to (or evicted from) the ADA-covered facility if:
      1. The handler is not disabled;
      2. The dog performs no tasks other than emotional support;
      3. The animal is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it;
      4. The animal is not housebroken; or,
      5. The animal poses a direct threat (based on individualized assessment of the specific animal’s conduct) to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by a reasonable modification to other policies, practices and procedures.

      Hope this helps.

    • Ashley L, Club Fido & Friends | April 21, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      As the owner of a dog daycare, I absolutely allow dogs into my place of business! However, I do have to agree with many of the posts talking about required documentation. As a dog lover, and someone who works directly with a large number of dog lovers, I hear way too many people talking about how they use the loose nature of the “system” to their advantage. I know the laws, I understand why they are in place (to protect those who truly need these animals) and I appreciate that. However, I do feel like it leaves too much room for people to take advantage. As we move into a new generation, it seems like people are more and more willing to do just that, take advantage. I just wish there were some way to deter these people trying to take advantage. There really is no clear answer, I can see issues with all possible “requirements.”
      Paperwork is just that, paper.. and if you truly carry papers on your person at all times (even swimming?) and don’t think that they will get lost or ruined, you are mistaken. Especially consider if you have a disability.
      Anything attached to the dog has the ability to become detached (except maybe a tattoo-like some service dogs now have) Tags get snagged on things and fall off, and if you have a disability, you may not be able to attach a tag to your dog’s collar (I have a hard time with those split ring things!). Not only that, but collars break and fall off, they wear and get old, and in some cases, they present safety hazards to the dogs.
      Any type of clothing or vest has the same potential to wear out, break, or fall off, but more importantly, that sort of thing may cause the dog discomfort and may interrupt their ability to complete their duties as a service animal.
      I don’t know the “right” answer, but I do wish there was something that could deter from all of the “fraud” that I see happening these days.

    • Elle Kay | April 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Yes! I bring my dog into our non-profit offices and everyone loves him; at this point about half our staff keep treats in their offices for him.
      But, before I brought him the first time I checked with all the staff to make sure they were ok with it. I have one co-worker who is afraid of dogs but she was ok with him coming if he was well-behaved and not in her space. We maintained that separation until she was comfortable with him & I’m happy to say that, after over a year, she loves him too. (It helps that he’s a medium sized, senior dog who mostly sleeps all day)
      In addition, we have a conference room that is often used -by our staff and by other organizations- to host trainings, meetings, etc and if the conference room is booked (meaning that a couple dozen ‘strangers’ will be in the building) then he doesn’t come in on that day.

    • Macryn Voice Greetings | March 9, 2019 at 12:58 am

      Dogs are great to have at work if they are well-behaved. Our customers absolutely love seeing our dog and many bring treats when they come in.

    • Keith Richardson | March 15, 2019 at 9:24 am

      We have a family law practice. Our dog Truman, a white golden retriever, comes to work every day. Our clients are typically going through emotional trauma. Sometimes having a big head resting on their lap while they discuss their situation can be a great help. When we have visitors, he often grabs his leash and brings it to them, so that they can take him for a walk.

    • Sue Nielsen | March 15, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      No. This is a business and a dog is a pet. Exception–service dogs. We absolutely allow them and make them welcome but we just don’t feel that a business is a place for pets. I’m sorry that some have to leave their pets alone all day, but they knew that when they either applied for the job or got the pet.

    • trudy marietta mintz | March 16, 2019 at 10:27 am

      I am a family and criminal law attorney in solo practice. Although my husband, a stock broker, also has offices in the building we own together and use for joint offices, bringing in our 2 large dogs every day adds to my security precautions. I have never had a client object to their presence which is kept heard and not seen except for regular clients who are dog lovers. But when I work late or am in the building alone, having them there is both wonderful company and extra security in a business where you can not be too careful.

    • Hannah Sullivan | March 18, 2019 at 8:28 am

      Hi Trudy, thank you for sharing your own experience!

    • Hannah Sullivan | March 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Thanks for reading!

    • CC | March 18, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      I like dogs, but am adamant that the work place is not for pets, nor on confined airplanes. You are there to do a job, and like it or not, pets need attention, which takes away from, the job. Also, what about consideration for other employees or airline travelers who are allergic? Can the animal perform the employee’s work, when they have to leave the office because of the allergic reaction? Can a customer on a flight, get off the plane, mid flight, because of an allergic reaction?

    • Grace A Martin | March 18, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      What if a dog comes into a business and urinates inside the business. Does the owner have the right to make the owner remove the dog?

    • MaryJo Bosio | March 18, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      I almost always bring one of my dogs to my store. She is small and friendly and sleeps most of the day, but the customers love seeing her and always ask about her when she is not there. She makes a more relaxed atmosphere.

    • Kelly | March 19, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Animals are allowed in my office if they are well behaved and have shots. We have bring your cat to work day, and bring your dog to work day, pretty much every day. And sometimes we foster homeless cats while they look for new homes. The cats work security here at night, and during the day they provide break-room support by snuggling up for naps with people on the couch. We give the foster cats official cybersecurity names based on their real names… like Molli Linux and Mimikatz. heh.

    • Leslie M | March 19, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      I love all animals and love having them in the workplace. I agree with the comments that both the dog and its owner must have codes of conduct. It’s the people, not the dogs, who create problems. It’s distracting to have an employee take a dog around the office to greet everyone and continue to “visit” throughout the day. It’s one thing to have a dog curled up under a desk. It’s another to have multiple people paying more attention to the dog than to our clients. I’ve had to discipline many dog owners who don’t play by the rules. It’s frustrating.

    • Michael WItherel | March 19, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      My boxer and lab are in my law offices every day- clients look forward to seeing them, and they know how to beg treats from everyone in the office. I understand the issues for restaurants, and even more so for airlines, as documentation of their status and training as service dogs should be an absolute requirement for getting onto a plane.

    • LA | March 19, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      I work for an advertising firm and we don’t have customers come into the office. When I first started, I was surprised to find a dog in the office as I was a tad scared of dogs at that time. That dog made me realize that not all dogs are scary and they’re just big babies. A year after spending every day with my coworker’s dog, I decided to get myself one too. If it wasn’t for my coworker bringing his puppy in, I would have (probably) still been scared of dogs to this day. Even if I did get over my fear another way, I don’t think I would’ve been able to adopt a pup on my own. I would’ve felt terrible leaving him at home for 9 hours a day. Dogs are great, and having a dog in my life has significantly improved my day-to-day mood and outlook on life. So, yes, please! Let more work places bring their dogs in!

    • RJP | March 19, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Verifiable ADA service animals, yes. Any other animals, no. End of story.

    • JS | March 19, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      REAL Service dogs only. I own a small coffeeshop which serves food and we’ve had a huge problem with people bringing their dogs into our shop, claiming that they are service dogs when they are clearly not. Allowing their dogs’ paws to drop onto the counter, letting their dogs on our furniture, allowing it off leash to run around and sniff other customers. People have taken advantage of the fact that business owners are not allowed to question or refuse to let service dogs in their restaurant or coffeeshop and this has also made it even more difficult for people with real disabilities who now have to deal with these fake service dogs giving them a bad rap. Dogs do not belong on planes or in breweries, grocery stores, restaurants or in Target! People’s obsession with dogs and their entitlement to bring them everywhere has gotten out of control. Not everyone wants to be around dogs, but dog nutters are pushing them in everyone’s face, bringing them everywhere, and nobody is allowed to say no, or they’re considered worse than Hitler. Just because you love your dog, does not mean everyone else has to be around it or that you need to bring it to work, or everywhere you go. Check out https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogfree/ if you’re sick of this dog worshipping culture.

    • Dr. Kellie Ann Holmstrom | March 19, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      We are a Veterinary Clinic. So of course we allow clients to bring their pets into our office. My staff also brings their pets into the clinic if they need special help and my old golden hangs out sleeping in my person space. Life is good with a pet.

    • Janice A Matznick | March 19, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you RiaillyMc for posting the actual ada regulations. I am a certified dog behaviorist and my wheelchair bound PhD behaviorist mentor was one of those who worked for the ADA recognition of service dogs. When people started taking advantage by buying service dog “credentials ” on line she tried to advocate for regulations for certification but that costs government money so didn’t happen. Glad she died before all the fake “emotional support animals” not even recognized by ADA are destroying public acceptance of true service dogs.

    • BACKSNARF | March 19, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      The problem we are facing is there is a growing number of people who are getting doctor’s notes for “Therapy Animals” because they just want to take their dog everywhere. They are not specially-trained as “service dogs,” and the dog owner does not require their presence for any reason other than they want to be with their dog.

      As this article states, in the end, dogs are dogs. Crate it and put it in the belly of the plane and get over yourself.

    • Mollie | March 19, 2019 at 11:02 pm

      I own a children’s retail store. Even the most well behaved, trained dog may feel threatened and act out in the presence of young children. I understand that I am liable for any bite or attack in my business…therefore, please no pets!

    • Mark | March 19, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      Absolutely Not! Dogs do not belong in the workplace. If you’re Petco, OK, but if not a related store, then no way. Service dogs are OK, but that’s it. No “emotional” support dogs.

    • Susan | March 19, 2019 at 11:14 pm

      I adore animals but have severe allergies to most. If I had to sit next to a dog or cat on transatlantic flight, my eyes would be swollen shut and I’d be in bed for 4 days recovering.
      Just another perspective. I’d suffer that for someone’s service animal.. but for a pet? Seems a bit unnecessary.

    • N Kelso | March 19, 2019 at 11:37 pm

      Absolutely, YES!

    • Berenice Rosillo | March 20, 2019 at 1:23 am

      I personally don’t bring my dogs to work because they shed a lot and are big beautiful dogs. I, however, encourage my clients to bring theirs. I had a kitten that got second hand therapy (I was treating his owner) for several weeks. I like to think the kitty is closer to reaching self-actualización lol
      Seriously, I think pets, provide a mental break that, research shows, makes work more effectively. So, Yes!

    • Ryan | March 20, 2019 at 1:55 am

      The issue is that there is a large segment of the population that is affected by animal allergies. Allergies and asthma are protected by ADA, so bringing an animal into your business is problematic. Outside of the health issue, it’s just a pandoras box. Are you ok with people bringing their cat to work? How about a hamster or a ferret? How about a rat?

    • We own a music school and everyday we would bring our Airedale to work. He would stay on his bed and the students loved greeting him before their lesson and coming over to say goodbye after their lesson. He had a wall with letters and pictures t | March 20, 2019 at 4:15 am

      We own a music school and everyday we would bring our Airedale to work. He would stay on his bed and the students loved greeting him before their lesson and coming over to say goodbye after their lesson. He had a wall with letters and pictures the students drew for him.
      He helped relax new students and was a friend to all. You have to be sure your dog has good manners and is safe around children. He was a real hit for our business.

    • Robert Stone | March 20, 2019 at 5:59 am

      I have a real service dog and I do bring her everywhere I go! It’s 5:30am and she is right here by my side. I work I’m an engineer. We have about twenty five people here in out office and four hundred in the field. Kima is ten years old now. I have had her since two. I have never been turned away from any facility anywhere in the United States. I carry two million general liability on me for her. Still never ever Have I had an issue. It does upset me to see people pass off their dogs as service dogs. They are simply not trained. I have multiple issues with my health. My GSD has given me the best years of my life. I bought her for seventeen thousand. She now is worth forty thousand. Knows two languages, hand signals and the best behaved dog you have ever met.

    • Michael Young | March 20, 2019 at 6:47 am

      I like dogs but not in my office. Also, I will not eat at a restaurant that allows dogs or any animals.

    • Sue Conklin | March 20, 2019 at 7:29 am

      I am a dog trainer, so yes, dogs are allowed at my business. Any business has the right to exclude an pet dogs. However, service dogs are allowed. And, there is no “paperwork” for a service dog. If someone presents one of those cute little laminated Service Dog ID tags, you may feel better, but those tags are bogus. Anyone can buy one online. Here are the ADA laws on Service Dogs and businesses.

      V. Handler’s Rights
      a) Public Facilities and Accommodations
      Titles II and III of the ADA makes it clear that service animals are allowed in public facilities and accommodations. A service animal must be allowed to accompany the handler to any place in the building or facility where members of the public, program participants, customers, or clients are allowed. Even if the business or public program has a “no pets” policy, it may not deny entry to a person with a service animal. Service animals are not pets. So, although a “no pets” policy is perfectly legal, it does not allow a business to exclude service animals.

      When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. Only two questions may be asked:

      1. Is the animal required because of a disability?

      2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

      These questions should not be asked, however, if the animal’s service tasks are obvious. For example, the questions may not be asked if the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability.4

      A public accommodation or facility is not allowed to ask for documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Local laws that prohibit specific breeds of dogs do not apply to service animals.5

      A place of public accommodation or public entity may not ask an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees. Entities cannot require anything of people with service animals that they do not require of individuals in general, with or without pets. If a public accommodation normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.6

    • Wendy Bruce | March 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

      I live in RI and have a therapy dog which was credentialed by Windwalker Humane Coalition. Through this organization I learned that therapy dogs have the same rights as service dogs RI State Law 2000 h 8062. RI General Laws P.I. Chapter 40-9, 1 Could you please clarify this for me. I visit patients with my dog and do pet therapy which does not make him a “comfort” dog for myself. It took 2 years of classes and training for him to receive his credentials.

    • Sandra Jerich | March 20, 2019 at 8:13 am

      We have a manufacturing business with 12 employees and very little foot traffic from outside. I’ve been bringing our dog to work every day since we got him 2 years ago… our employees love him. He stays in the office for safety reasons, but everyone finds time to come in and visit with him daily!

    • David | March 20, 2019 at 8:18 am

      I see no one has remarked on allergies yet. I know they’re hard to fathom for those who do not have them. I happen to be one so allergic to dogs (and cats) that I get symptoms in a confined space with the owners, no animals present. I love dogs, but am a lot better off encountering them outdoors. Afterward, if the dog is a lovely friendly sort, I immediately wash my hands and sometimes change my clothes. If a dog were present at work, there is a good chance that I would be sick all day every day. Antihistamines help quell the symptoms, but far from eliminate them, and have side effects.

      After a one or two hour indoor exposure, I will still be sick the next day, and sometimes a little bit even the day after that. I know this because, although I avoid most houses with pets, my parents kept a dog. In case you have heard that certain breeds are hypoallergenic, or that frequently bathing the dog and diligently keeping house matters much, their dog was a miniature poodle, a supposedly hypoallergenic breed, and my mother always went a little overboard with the house cleaning. I’d load up on two different antihistamines before a visit, and stay only two hours, when the asthma would start to set in.

      Better to not take a chance on inflicting this on your workmates or visitors to your workplace.

    • Eddie | March 20, 2019 at 8:28 am

      Part of the problem is people asking for documentation. There is no national standard or certification process for service dog training. ‘Certified’ is a myth. Anyone can go online and buy a credential that literally means nothing. If you have or need a service animal, you’re legally allowed to train it yourself. The only documentation that I have for mine is a note from my doctor at the VA stating that I need a service animal at my doctor’s discretion. Under the Americans with disabilities act, and the fair housing act, the only person that can legally ask for that doctor’s note is a landlord. Before you all comment and decide on policy, READ THE LAW FOR YOURSELF, and consult with your attorney if needed. Do not make these decisions based on what other people say on the internet… Doing so could cost you your business via lawsuits.

    • Tammy Millword | March 20, 2019 at 8:48 am

      I disagree that animals should be let into the businesses. I understand that people love them, that the owners are happier to have them by their side all day. However, as a mom, grandmother, and wife of persons with allergies, I think its a bad idea. Some dogs have different hair types, and the dander in some dogs is worse than others. It is impossible to keep the hair and dander out of the room. People will have reactions at some point. Or, as has happened, hair or dander gets on another employee and they take it home with them to their allergic family member. Allergies are not fun to deal with. I have seen first hand how they affect people that I love. I have seen it swell eyes almost completely shut, or make it difficult to breath. Even if you have checked with everyone who works with you and no one has an issue, you can not control who your next new co-worker may be, or the next client walking into your facility. Will they have an issue?

    • Angela Reed | March 20, 2019 at 9:14 am

      I love dogs, I really do but I have allergic asthma and it is absolutely unfair to those suffering allergies, especially ones that cause serious health problems so please, leave your pets at home!!

    • Kate Fox | March 20, 2019 at 9:32 am

      I love dogs at work, but regarding folks who are posting about allergies, I absolutely agree you should not be subject to anything that causes an allergic reaction. Having stated that, I am allergic to most perfumes, can we ban those women that apparently like to douse themselves in perfume before they leave the house in the morning, then often re-douse themselves at lunchtime or periodically during the day!

    • Ian Stevens | March 20, 2019 at 9:45 am

      I agree with Angela Reed. I have no problems with dogs and absolutely love cats (which don’t seem to be nearly as universally loved as dogs for some reason) but I have bad allergies to both. Unfortunately it seems most people put their need to have their dog with them 24/7 above other people’s discomfort.

    • Cait | March 20, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Never, ever! I’m asthmatic – a certified breathing disability under the A.D.A. Asthma is the one disability that can kill – my asthma is triggered by allergies, especially dogs and perfume. Any asthma attack can be my last. Inhalers are not magic potions – once my lungs have inhaled the offending threat, the use of inhalers is often too late (they are best used BEFORE an attack happens, like using before exercise). I ban pets, perfume and scents, bleach cleaners, and all forms of smoke from my work environment (including smoke on clothes & hair – no smoking cigarettes or marijuana before work or on breaks).

      “Dogs Allowed” policies are the new Jim Crow laws – they effectively say “no one with breathing disabilities allowed” which is a violation of the A.D.A. And honestly, dogs should only be allowed on certain planes – passengers should be able to select planes that are allergen free. An asthma attack in the middle of a flight is almost guaranteed to be a fatal one. We ban peanuts for that reason!

      And I am the guardian for a mentally disabled individual, and have family members who were blind and others who were deaf, so I know this issue intimately. The mentally disabled family member treats his multiple disorders with therapy, support groups, and medications, no pets necessary at all.

    • Jennifer | March 20, 2019 at 10:14 am

      This article conflates service dogs with emotional support animals (ESA), which are NOT covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most businesses are thus not *required* to admit an ESA into their establishment, although most do. An ADA-regulated service animal isn’t usually something that would help with PTSD, for example. The person in this story most likely had an ESA.

    • Jessie Sanchez | March 20, 2019 at 10:15 am

      I bring my whippet to work every day. All she does is sleep, eat, and whine only when she needs to go potty. My customers love her. Se always stays behind my desk on her bed; she would get sick if I ever leave her home by herself.

    • Brian Wetcher | March 20, 2019 at 10:15 am

      We love dogs! In fact I bring my dogs to my shop almost daily. My dogs have their own ‘fan club’ and hastags… #BooneTheShopDog and #ScoutSez”. The UPS guy even stops by just to give them treats even if he doesn’t have anything to deliver. The positive response totally outnumbers the negative.
      I can’t imagine my business without dogs. 🙂

    • Vicki Farmer | March 20, 2019 at 10:26 am

      I manage a Pulmonary medical practice. I love dogs, and have a few myself, but we do have patients with such severe pulmonary and allergy issues that exposure to a dog and its fur/dander can send them to the hospital. We know that many patients disguise their pets as service dogs, but even legitimate service dogs pose a risk to our other patients.

      I am considering giving patients who bring service dogs a handout with a brief explanation of the problem, and ask them if they require a service dog to be present during their appointment, that they notify us ahead of time, so we can schedule them at the end of the day. I hope that isn’t illegal!

    • Naz H. | March 20, 2019 at 11:05 am

      I am a happy cat owner and do not like dogs at workplace or in restaurants no matter how cute they are. Kids are cute but they are not welcome at workplace on a regular basis so why should dogs be aloud? I am very scared of dogs and do not enjoy their barking sound.

    • Linda Treadway | March 20, 2019 at 11:12 am

      I think all animals belong at home unless they are a true service animal, like a seeing-eye dog. I don’t like coming to a supermarket and seeing someone with their dog in the cart. For one thing – some people are allergic to dogs (I’m not one), and I think people are really taking advantage of this new “comfort” animal law. If someone can’t go to the supermarket without bringing their pet, there’s something wrong. I also don’t agree with bringing an animal to work unless there is a valid reason once in awhile (i.e. you’re having your carpets shampooed at home). Also, I draw the line at restaurants. Unless it’s a seeing-eye dog, I will not stay in a restaurant if I see someone with a dog sitting near me. It’s unsanitary, and dogs do not belong in establishments where people are eating. If you want to bring your dog to a restaurant, there are outdoor park cafes where people bring their dogs!

    • Doc Owens | March 20, 2019 at 11:14 am

      I own a group counseling practice with several locations around Chicago land. I have a certified Therapy Dog that goes to work every day. His presence is beneficial to many of our clients and he his adored by the staff as well. Additionally, many of clients find comfort in their own pets and they are welcome to bring them with them to a therapy appointment.

    • Steve Hobbs | March 20, 2019 at 11:18 am

      I have a small furniture store and I also have a shop dog that comes to the store everyday. My customers love her and many come by just to visit her. However, we also have a gate at our checkout counter where she can go if we have someone in who has a fear of dogs.
      She is truly an asset to our store.

    • Gina | March 20, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Perhaps it just depends on the workplace and the situation. Some are great for dogs, some not so much. An airplane is not a great place for any dog. One, it is so confining. Two, the anxiety level on a plane is so high, dogs can feel that. Why stress them out? Safer to board them or leave them with a trusted friend than take them on a plane. I think if everyone just used a little common sense the world would be a much better place for dogs and people alike.

    • Annoyed | March 20, 2019 at 11:45 am

      I am fine with licensed service dogs but for non-dog lovers and some who have allergies, bringing pets in stores and planes is quite disgusting. And sometimes they smell. I feel it is akin to people smoking. If you want to smoke.. or have your pet with you..travel by personal auto, don’t fly. You may love your pet but that does not mean others do.

    • Richard Marks | March 20, 2019 at 11:49 am

      I consider dogs smart animals. I do not need some animal to make me happy, I do that myself internally. I dislike having a dog rub against me, lick me, and generally try to distract me.

      I am also allergic to them and would prefer not to have them around me.

    • Cheryl Joyce | March 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      I love both dogs and cats. I have had both as pets in my past. I believe they have a place in the lives of the people that own them, however, as owners, their pets should not be a burden on the people who don’t. I do not believe pets of any type should be in the work place. Although they maybe friendly, sweet, loving and well behaved, the work place is just that, you are there to work, not to have the distractions of a pet or others who walk by and oogle. I am very understanding of a service dog/animal. However, laws should be in place where the service dog is recognized not only for the dog and owner but others as well. I have been told not to address the service dog by owners and trainers due to the animal is performing a job and should not be distracted. They usually have a vest on where I have seen them. If a vest or leash is used, properly identifying the animal is in service, there should be no question to business owners or others traveling around them. People may be more apt to be a little more considerate or helpful to not only the service animal but the owner as well. In response, to airplanes, I have traveled with people who travel with animals in general, having a blanket or pad to cover the seats would be nice. I come on the plane with no pet fur on my clothing, I do not want to come off of the plane looking like a fur ball. This is where other peoples pets become my problem. Owners of pets should follow some type etiquette when traveling with their pets or at least be considerate of others.

    • Veronica | March 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      I manage a wellness center on California’s central coast. The Doctor/owner/president brings his dogs to the office. They mostly nap in their crates but while awake they roam freely in the admin office. Our patients enjoy seeing them and the dogs love the attention. We also have a neighborhood cat that we care for. He comes and goes as he pleases…as cats do. Our patients are in love with him. If allergies are a problem we clean up cat hair, remove the cat from the office, and offer natural allergy supplements (which really work). The dogs don’t share patient areas therefore are not usually a problem for those with pet allergies.

    • Judy Seamons | March 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Though I understand people love their pets, it creates a nightmare for those who are allergic to them. Has the seat on the airplane, the cart at the grocery store, the merchandise at your establishment, recently been in contact with a pet? If so, I get to quit breathing or have other unpleasant reactions. With the introduction of pets to various workplace, those with allergies are vilified because somehow they are the problem and not the pet. There are fewer and fewer places one can safely go where pets are forbidden. Please be conscious of those, who through no fault of their own, really don’t want your pet around them.

    • Margaret | March 20, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      I love dogs. I rescued 2 dogs and they are a joyful addition to my family. These are large sporting dogs that have to run so I take them to dog parks to get them much needed exercise. Even though a license is required by the forest preserve district, many dogs are vicious and attack other dogs. This happens several times a week. When confronted the owners do not accept responsibility. Good dogs have been harmed and people hurt. This whole topic of untrained dogs allowed in offices or restaurants is not to everyone’s benefit and can, at times, be downright dangerous.

    • G Hembree | March 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Animals bring out the best and the worst in human nature. Although The Hartford is a great company and excels in Small Business and Commercial Insurance, the issue of dogs on the premises of Any small business will be interesting if and when that “pet” and/or “service” dog bites a potential client of that business. Fur will fly, I bet, and only then will we know if it’s really okay to bring our dogs to work.

    • Daniel | March 20, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hi, how would you all feel, as a patient, about dogs in a dental office?
      I have had patients ask to bring their dogs into the operatories and have had patients bring dogs into the waiting area. I understand that service dogs must be allowed, especially for anxious patients.
      I am thinking about instituting a policy that dogs in the waiting area are OK but not in the operatory unless it’s a service animal.
      Thank you for your opinions!
      I’m the managing partner of Dental Office (not a Doctor) btw.

    • Sherry | March 20, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      Having a service-retired K9, the office and the owner of the business encourages me to bring her everyday to work. I have on several occasions caught the owner talking, and distressing by petting her. Everyone greets and loves having her there everyday. They have daily conversations with her and other employees share in helping me take her out on her breaks. By bringing her to work every day with me it allows me piece of mind that she’s not alone for 8 hours or crated.
      I also see the enjoyment she brings to everyone every day. Customers are even brought to my office to see her and she will lay calmly while she’s being petted.
      I am truly blessed that this is allowed. Lily is a 90lb Black Labrador Retriever and yes a service dog and a trained explosive detection dog.
      For those with allergies, I have a gate on my office door and service dogs are to be bathed regularly clean and well maintained according to ADA. Remember service dogs are not pets, they are with their handlers working. There are two questions people can ask,(1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? My answers are always the same Yes and her task is to alert me. She is not an emotional support dog. There are different levels, one is a service animal one is an emotional support animal.
      Don’t pet or touch them if you have allergies. And anyone with a pet, service or not should make sure all shots are UTD. I choose not take her in establishments with food. One because in her case she is still a dog, and Labs love to eat, although trained to lay under the table I am the one that feels guilty and people in general do not accept this practice so I respect it.
      In closing, I believe it should be permitted service animal or not, as well as the animal is well maintained, well behaved. Feel free to ask me if anyone has any questions.
      It makes for a Happy Workplace.

    • Chris Miles | March 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Yes. We have allowed dogs in the office since 1999 and have never had a problem. All dogs must be up to date on vaccinations; housebroken; socialized with human and dogs alike. In addition, as members of the family, the business offers health insurance for all pets.

      We, of course, would have to revisit this practice if any member of the staff had allergies caused or exacerbated by the presence of the animals

    • Kevin Ferguson | March 20, 2019 at 4:47 pm

      I run an Urgent care in Orange County California, I bring my dog (Dazey) with me to work every day and I couldn’t imagine being without her. She does stay in my office which is away from patients but she goes with me to our break room and on most errands. Dazey is warmly welcomed by local businesses, she is well behaved and very friendly so I am comfortable with other people engaging with her, but I respect the fact that other people may not be okay with her. However, the Doctor who owns the practice loves her and he tells all our patients about her all the time. Frequently he will come to my office and take her because a patient wants to meet her. She actually has met more of our patients than I have (lol). I think the important thing is to respect others space and if they are not okay with her, I keep her away. On the flip side of that, if someone comes into the practice with a service dog, I always go out and meet them. I let them know their service friend is welcome but to make sure that their pet is well tended to so no accidents happen. I have never had a situation where another patient was upset about a dog being in the lobby or in my office.

    • Martins Machine Co Inc | March 20, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      I’m very fortunate to be able to have “my” lab with me everyday at work because he belongs to the owner of the company. When he got him as a puppy, I took him home with me every night for four months to train him and housebreak him. We now have joint custody of him, LOL. He is our four-legged doorbell and all of our visitors love him, as Buck loves the attention also.

    • Kim Stiak | March 20, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      I have an ADA service dog that has gone through extensive training and public access tests. I am also a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Support Teams. Our dogs do not shed, are hyper-allergenic, and kept clean. We have high standards for our service dogs, and are not allowed to have them on furniture in public places (airplane seats, restaurant seats, etc). We also would leave a place of business if the dog was not behaved or there was a problem. However, I do know my rights and the law. I do carry an ID card that is not required, but has our picture, Canine Support Teams contact info, and the rights under the law on it. It is possible for true ADA service dogs to be well trained, do not shed, no allergies. So that should not be someone’s complaint about having a dog around. In fact, most of the time I am told that people weren’t even aware I had a dog with me ( a standard poodle, which is not small). But mostly, you have to remember, for the disabled person this dog is very important in their life, and trained to help them with disabilities. It is hard enough sometimes for service dog owners to leave the house and do things, so keep that in mind.

    • Paige | March 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      I am an attorney who has a contract at a small law office. One of the attorneys sometimes brings her dog in to work. I’m not a dog person, but this is a sweet, docile, friendly dog. I call him our therapy dog. The owner always gives us a heads up that she will bring him in, and it’s never on busy days. The dog is often not at the office all day (owner lives close and can run him home at lunch). I’ve even asked her to bring the dog in! It’s a great stress reliever for all of us. I have cats, and if they weren’t such inquisitive creatures subject to running out of doors, I’d ask if it was okay to bring them in.

    • Tabby Katz | March 20, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      At home we have cats, rabbits, goats, horses, chickens, and dogs. If I were to rank them by my preference to have them in the workplace, dogs would be fifth.

    • Peter | March 20, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      I have allergies, so we don’t have animals in our office. We are not
      open to the public.

      Quick question, what about liability? Sometimes dogs feel threatened
      or misbehave for various reasons. Is anyone concerned that a customer
      or co-worker might ever get bitten, even a minor bite? That feels like a
      liability I don’t want to take on in my business.

    • Clarise Lyon | March 20, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      Yes, yes, and yes! We have a service dog that comes 3-days per week. I feel sorry for the veteran and the dog. Additionally, I’d never go back to a place that treated a companion animal that way.

    • Denise G | March 20, 2019 at 11:07 pm

      I own a hair salon and all dogs are very welcome! Our customers love bringing in their well behaved pups and we even have water bowls and treats for them! We often bring our own dogs as well. I think the idea of not allowing pets on the basis of allergies is ridiculous! I have many allergies to perfumes, cleaning products, dust, mold, and many more things that are unavoidable. Most people with allergies cannot avoid them at their work or anywhere public… and we can’t eliminate all these things from our public environment. On another note, I despise kids– I don’t think they are any neater or less “germ-y” than my exceptionally clean dog, but I’m subject to being around them everywhere I go– shopping malls, restaurants, pools, movie theaters….so if I need to tolerate someone’s kid, they can tolerate my dog 🙂

    • Dr Meier | March 21, 2019 at 12:03 am

      I have office dogs. They are dobermans, both older and very affectionate. My patients come in and some have 5 minute conversations with the dogs before making conversation with us. It is a comfort for them, especially new patients that are in pain. About 2% of patients don’t like dogs and that has happened. That said when the dogs are not at the office, my patients ask “where are the dogs???” and feel less of a therapeutic experience because the dogs were not there for their visit. I believe it depends on the dog, the owner and the individual. I have had patients lay on the floor with the dogs for therapy. You can’t help people that don’t like dogs or that have fear/dislike of them. That is not yours to deal with. I find that what makes the most happy and pleasured to experience at my office is the best route and I do feel safer when they are there. Working alone without an assistant, I have some extra security and 98% of the people in my office LOVE that the dogs are there!

    • CaMc | March 21, 2019 at 6:54 am

      As posted by RiallyMc, I too have verified with the ADA directly and Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are not service animals. Service animals must perform a task for the disabled individual. This is not to say they are not used by individuals with psychiatric conditions, they are often helpful when other measures have failed for people such as veterans with intractable PTSD. Again, they provide services, not merely provide comfort.

      Unfortunately, because so many have elected to abuse the provision that business owners cannot ask but 2 questions without fear of prosecution and there has been so much misinformation regarding ESA (a turkey on a plane?!) that I fear before long the pendulum will swing in the other direction and people with a genuine need for their service dogs with them all the time or in certain situations will be denied access. And that will be very sad indeed.

    • Albert | March 21, 2019 at 7:39 am

      I travel on business and am in planes a lot. I am tired of seeing dogs all around me. And I am really tired of seeing them pee on the plane and in other public areas. Love dogs – not so much dog owners. Dogs on planes should be muzzled. If the dog won’t accept the muzzle – its a training issue and a failure of the dog owner. Also, have a good size dog? Don’t let your undersize child hold the leash. I’ve seen too many children being totally unable to control a big dog as they lunge at another dog or a passenger.

    • Lonny D Morrison | March 21, 2019 at 7:55 am

      Thank you. This was a very interesting article.

    • Jeter | March 21, 2019 at 9:15 am

      I allowed my dog in my office after asking employees. They love him and spoil him.

      Also, he is a great marketing tool. We’ve included his picture in our materials and our customers have reacted positively.

    • Cheryl | March 21, 2019 at 10:29 am

      I don’t love dogs (having been bitten in the past), but I understand the need for service dogs which my own son has. I don’t mind seeing them at Home Depot, gardening store, even the mall, but my “Pet peeve” is when dogs are placed in grocery carts, where the next one to sit on that seat (where that dog had it’s mouth/nose/butt) could be an infant/child. The infant/child could put his/her mouth on that area. If you have a service dog and feel you must be in the grocery store with it, please have the common decency to wipe the handle/seat with antibacterial wipes when finished. Also, I do wonder if this trend toward dog friendliness will change when companies begin paying out large sums of money for liability issues with customers being bitten/hurt. Keep in mind, not all dogs are a wonderful as yours.

    • Jan R | March 21, 2019 at 11:25 am

      Aspen Centers for Advanced Treatment is a psychiatric practice in the Aspen area in Colorado. We allow pets. We keep treats on property, have a spare dog bed and water bowl ready and waiting. Zeus, a Rhodesian Ridgeback is at the office and offers a smile to many of the children and adults that come in. We have only had one experience that the service dog of a patient was extremely protective in the past nine years. We reached out to some companies to request that Zeus get certified as a Therapy Dog but were denied because he comes with me and I am a paid employee. He has logged hundreds of hours at the clinic and brings great joy to patients that are in need of love and tenderness!

    • STEVEN SMITH | March 21, 2019 at 11:44 am

      I have been nipped by more dogs than I can remember. My fiance has a friend who’s dog bit my leg when I was over for dinner. My sisters’ boyfriends’ dog nips pretty much everyone it meets and this is about a 200lb doberman. A really friendly looking german shepard nipped my hand as I walked past it in a store. A friend from church had to leave town to go to a funeral and wants me to take care of their dog. When I went to see it, it kept mouthing my hands. I am a dog person so this doesn’t bother me. But when you go into public spaces with children and women who may be germaphobes and terrified of dogs, it is totally unacceptable behavior to force your dogs on them. Everyone I have met has told me there dog is house trained and I have seen them all have “accidents” in the house. I know most of the time they do wait to go outside but I have seen them all have accidents. Every time I mow my front lawn I step feces left by my neighbors dogs. Point being is that people are way way way too irresponsible and I would never take someone at their word that their dog is well behaved and house broken. And I am a dog lover. I have always owned Italian Greyhounds and they are notoriously hard to house train. They are also said to almost never bark. LOL. Never believe what anyone says about a dog. I had a funny one that would go outside and just bark once and wait until the neighbors dogs go crazy and then she would walk back through the doggie door.

    • Rosemary Stader | March 21, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      I own a house cleaning business. I bring my dogs, now 12, to work everyday. I love their company. My employees love the dogs.

      It is also a great litmus test for applicants, if they are afraid or really do not like dogs, this is not the job for them. A vast majority of our clients are not home and have pets, some very large! As long as the pets are friendly we like them to be out so we can give them some love. It is a win for our clients, their pets and our Technicians!

    • R | March 21, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Our clients will bring in their dogs and it’s great for a short visit. I personally am not a dog person so I am happy with short visits only. I don’t want to deal with them all day.

    • Contessa Barber | March 21, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      We have a very small ice cream shop. The other day, 3 people came in with 4 giant dogs. They filled the storefront, but luckily no one else was there at the time. We are located in California, a very litigious state, so I was afraid to even question whether these large animals were service animals. It also appeared they were looking for me to argue with them about this issue. Instead I just served them quickly to get them out of there. They were only in the shop for 5 minutes but when they left the floor was covered with dog drool and I think one relieved itself against the corner wall. It took a lot of scrubbing and Pine Sol to hide the smell and I still had to air out the store for an hour. I guess pet people aren’t aware of this but if you have a pet, they smell, your house smells and if you hang out with them, you smell too. As a child, my family never had pets in our home. I was amazed that whenever I went to a friend’s house, the minute I’d walk in, I would instantly know if they have a pet. So, if I had my way, I would keep them out of the shop; but I can’t cause there are lots and lots of jerks who are inconsiderate of others and think the world revolves around them, and if they don’t get their way they will sue you and make your life miserable. So you just curse them under your breath, and grin and bear it, just like all the other inconsiderate things selfish, self-involved people do now adays.

    • Sherman Stenson | March 21, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      We’re a veterinary hospital, too, so obviously dogs are allowed, but we don’t have open-season for employee pets to come in every day (other than the practice owner’s dog). We don’t want employee pets to be a distraction to the staff, whose attention should be on our patients, not their own pets, but we do allow staff to bring them in regularly.
      I’ll echo the comments about all the fake (or at least questionable) “emotional support” animals that have no training, no credentials,and no skills. We’re as annoyed as anyone that people are getting carte blanche to take their dogs anywhere they want, anytime they want. It’s the current generation of psychiatrists’ version of Ritalin (“sure, why not? what can it hurt?”). Most of these are just regular ol’ pets whose owners are self-centered and/or neurotic, not emotionally dependent. Instead of dragging an animal around to satisfy their needs for attention, they should get a binky.
      I’m all for genuine, trained service dogs for those who have true physical and emotional needs, but it’s so unregulated right now as to be useless and just breeds cynicism against the concept.

    • Lisa Whitehead | March 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      No. This is a business and dogs are pets. Pets belong at home. Pets in the office are a distraction and annoyance to those people who are trying to work and don’t love animals. Of course, service animals are excepted.

    • Darci L. | March 21, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      We love our dogs in the office!

    • jay trivedi | March 21, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      As much as I like animals and donate to number of charities and WWF, I am very allergic to furry things (Dogs & cats)! Visiting a friend(s) who has pets, I can not spend more than couple of hours until I start having breathing issues. When I was looking to purchase a house, I had a clear mandate to agent “no pets home” and walked away from couple of nice deals. I have been in a house where for at least there were no pets for 2 years and staying in few days, I could feel the allergy and breathing issues. WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS TO HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO WORK OR ENJOY A MEAL OR BE ON A TRIP WHERE I HAVE PAID AN AIRLINE TO SAFELY TRANSPORT ME? I see people trying to avoid paying pet fees on plane (& ride separately) and putting on a $10 “service dog” vest on them. I think that a legit pet certificate (not bought on internet for $10 – same place that sells vest) must be required and produced by authority (airline or restaurant etc). Furthermore, a workplace is for work not a babysitting place for your pet. If you can not stay away from your pet for 8 hours (but you could you from your partner/significant other) then you need to find something else to do. Again, I like animals but I have a health issue. Often, airline prefer to take a route to move a passenger to another flight over a pet owner!

    • WV-MIKE | March 21, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      “wonderful” “amazing!”
      Good examples of why I call this “dog worshipping”

    • John B | March 21, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      I love dogs. And I think it would be great for my employer to have a “dogs at work” policy.

      However, I wonder if the ADA, as written, isn’t a minefield for public places of business… as stated in an earlier comment, it permits a business to deny entry of an animal based on observations, and only two questions may be asked (if the animal isn’t clearly performing some task or service):

      1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
      2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

      Here’s the minefield…

      A. You’re not allowed to ask the person what their disability is. (It may be hidden: physical or psychological.)
      B. Psychological problems are specifically mentioned as a valid disability that may require service animal assistance.
      C. Animals that solely provide emotional support are specifically mentioned as NOT service animals.
      D. Businesses ARE permitted to deny access to an animal that does not appear to be performing a specific task or function.
      E. Businesses are permitted to deny access to an animal if the handler is NOT DISABLED.

      Consider how this automatically puts those who set and/or enforce the policy at risk!

      A seemingly healthy customer wants to bring his well-behaved dog with him into your business. The dog seems to do nothing but be his companion. The customer’s answers to #1 and #2 are: “Yes” and “well, I cannot tell you that without revealing my disability, which I choose not to do.” It seems like this is just an emotional support dog. His answers sound false to you, so you politely ask him to leave.

      Next thing you know, you are facing a lawsuit, and it turns out the customer DID HAVE very specific physical or psychological difficulties that the dog was very specifically trained to deal with. You had no way of observing the task because the difficulty wasn’t immediately in play, and the act of finding out what the dog does WOULD actually have been a breach of privacy.

      You have very diligently followed the law, and yet you are still clearly in violation of it! (You’re only allowed to turn away the dog if the person ISN’T disabled and the dog doesn’t perform a task. You’re not allowed to determine, in fact, WHETHER the person is disabled. They claimed they were, it seemed patently false, and it turned out to be true.) It would seem that you’re purely at the mercy of the jury that happens to be seated when you are in court.

      Hartford, what are some things that a business owner or policy setter can do to mitigate this risk?

      • Hannah Sullivan | March 22, 2019 at 3:38 pm

        A message from our author: These are very good questions John that I have some thoughts and advice on.

        For starters, find out what specific laws your city or state may have about dogs in businesses, particularly if you’re running a restaurant. Some cities – like mine (Philadelphia)- have very strict laws about this and you can always use that as your reference.

        Next, come up with your own policy about dogs/no dogs in your business. I personally would always allow a customer to bring in a dog but my policy would still state that it’s up to the manager to deny access if he/she feels there’s a safety issue.

        Finally, state clearly in your policy that your business fully abides by the ADA. If there is a question about the customer’s “disability” you can ask that customer but in the end you’re going to have to rely on their representation. If they say it’s a service dog then you probably shouldn’t press it unless again you think safety or health is an issue.

        -Gene

    • Leta - Pioneer Electric | March 21, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Yes and Bandit greet all customers as they enter our Appliance Store and loves to walk them back to the front door after we visit and they shop… He is trained not to jump up on people, but he gives kisses and loves children(young and old). We have had him in the store for three years and I think some people come in just to see Bandit. Of coarse he does go home every night with us and greets our cat, Smokey. Yes we have Smokey and the Bandit, but only at home…
      We Love having a small dog at the office and enjoy most all dog that come in to visit, too. They just make the days go nicer.

    • Dario | March 21, 2019 at 11:51 pm

      Honestly dogs should be allow as long they are friendly and have all the vaccines and wont disturb the place at work. Unfortunately the term of service dogs was created because of people who don’t like animals, HOA associations who bother for every little detail and others, made pet owners have a mechanism of a defense to protect themselves and the pets from impose rules and restrictions (With all the respect from all USA citizens we live in a country were sometimes people who aren’t happy find the way to make others lives as miserables as theirs)

    • P Davis | March 22, 2019 at 12:12 am

      I encourage all of my clients to bring their pets with them. My business is an animal hospital!

    • Judi | March 22, 2019 at 11:27 am

      I foster dogs for a local rescue and I am allowed to bring them to work with me. I baby gate them in my area so they aren’t running around and if they aren’t house trained yet, they wear doggy diapers while with me. It’s good to bring them because they get socialization that they wouldn’t at our home and also meet potential adopters. It’s been great allowing them to come in. I’m also allowed to bring my own dogs, which I do occasionally if I know it’s going to be a long day at the office, but mainly bring the fosters for socialization.

    • sherry Friedlander Olsen | March 22, 2019 at 11:51 am

      I have a Maltese mix. Small and very friendly. He doesn’t bother any one. Goes to his place in my office and goes to sleep. When someone comes in he doesn’t know he goes and welcomes them. I really like having him in my office. Otherwise he is HOME ALONE.He gets walked and fed here. He seems to like to go out for lunch. Take care. Sherry

    • Chris Coates | March 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Absolutely. We have a well researched policy that allows employees to sign a waiver and indemnification agreement and bring a non-aggressive dog to work in our healthcare recruitment offices. The pups are restricted to private office areas, and are not allowed in kitchens. We have signs posted outside areas in the office populated by dogs, and we will move the dogs to accommodate any visitor who objects.

      We have a Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brown Labrador Retriever, and others that visit every day, occasionally appearing in WebEx meetings with clients. Needless to say, they are a hit, and have proven great for morale and camaraderie in overall.

    • Tina Hartman | March 22, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      We have a machine shop and my maltese comes to work with me everyday! She lays on my desk right behind my keyboard and chills all day! I also have a bassett/mastif mix and he joins me at work everyday as well. One of our employees brings his dog and the two of them are best friends! They play until they are exhausted and then they both lay down and sleep! People love coming in the shop and being greeted by not one, but three dogs! Regulars will even come into my office looking for my maltese! I also work hospitality for a race team and my maltese enjoys helping with that as well! She has a stroller and she loves watching everyone come and go! Again, the repeat customers know her by name and they look for her every year! I think dogs bring happiness to most, but there are those few that can’t seem to experience the love of a dog. My philosophy is, If my dog can’t go, then I don’t need to be there! I feel as long as they are well behaved and the owners are responsible (not leaving them unattended in a hotel room for hours, picking up poop, etc.) they should be accepted everywhere!

    • Jamie I McNally | March 23, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      My dogs are my business

    • Brenda -- Garden Nanny LLC | March 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      I’m a dog lover, though I’ve never been fortunate enough to have one, because of my erratic schedule, living in New York City and in and out of town for extended periods of time. Now I have a landscaping business and a partner who has allergies and fears dogs, so no dogs. I can only enjoy vicariously. Once a friend of mine helped me on the job and brought her dog with her. It was so wonderful to have him with us, even a little distracting. I think for me the biggest drawback to having a dog at work is the distraction factor, and I would be the worst offender. They are great for lifting spirits and good company. I enjoy my clients’ dogs and cats and have never had issues with them
      I appreciate this article. It does take into consideration those who, like my partner, are averse to dogs (He was a mischievous boy and that mischief spread to his actions with dogs. In adulthood he is reaping the mischief he sowed and is wisely circumspect around dogs.

    • Kimberly | March 25, 2019 at 10:22 am

      I love animals and the energy they add to our lives. However, I am severely allergic to animals and can end up in the hospital as a result. Thus, I cannot work or visit an environment where these animals are permitted. I cannot even visit my own family members who have pets, go to a zoo, circus, State fair.

      While I respect those individuals who wish to have their animals at work or have a medical need, it’s a difficult situation. I have found that many pet owners demand respect for their animals to visit work and businesses, yet these same people are flip about respect of my health concerns and fear of my ending up having a reaction and racking up hospital medical bills.

      Schools prohibit peanut butter from children’s lunches and snacks to protect children from this same condition. To this end, it seems that I have no protection rights to bar service animals from the workplace, businesses, flights or restaurants. This seems unfair and costly in the long run: pay loss, missed work days, work interruption, costs of hospital stays etc.

    • Douglas | March 25, 2019 at 10:58 am

      There is a difference between a “Service Animal” and an “Emotional Support Animal”. Most states have laws protecting Service Animals but those same privileges are not afforded to Emotional Support Animals. The Service Animal must be trained and must be able to perform some service for the owner. Emotional support is not a “service” under most states laws.

    • Suzanne | March 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      All the people who say “Everyone at work loves my dog.” just don’t realize that people who don’t love having your dog at work probably feel very uncomfortable saying so. I avoid businesses where I see dogs. I love dogs, but my son is terrified of them, the rest of my family is allergic, and I have been the advocate too often for people who feel uncomfortable saying anything.

    • Scott | April 9, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      I read the posts about the wild west of pets at work, restaurants, and all places, public and private.
      Who pays the claim when someone gets bit?
      Is it the business who allowed this environment to exist?
      Is it the building owner who rented to the business?
      Is it against the ADA law to ask for liability insurance covering the “service animal”?
      Collar tags can and should be worn proving ADA status and a tag proving Liability Insurance.
      I’m sure this would help with subrogation.
      I am a dog lover and a building owner and carry individual coverage on each building and an umbrella policy to cover myself and my family.

    • Emily | April 25, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      My husband and I would never harm or abuse any animal but we are just not animal lovers and that includes dogs and we make no apologies for it. We are opening a retail shop business in three weeks. There is an employee who will be working/managing this retail shop and she has continued to bring her large, shedding dog to the shop (without asking us) as we are pricing things and setting things up. There is dog hair EVERYWHERE and she has not once picked up a broom and swept any up. I have done it repeatedly. We don’t want the dog there. She wants the dog there for security, but there is a shop next door that is open the same hours and we also have a security system. And there will always be two employees working. My husband told her also that for insurance reasons, we just cannot have the dog in there. As for service dogs, we would never deny anyone entry into the shop just because they have a service dog. We know those are crucial for diabetics, people with seizures, etc.

    • Jeanine Esquenazi | June 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      As a business owner i enjoy bringing my dog to work with me . We are a small team and we are all animal lovers. Having my 90 pound guy next to us gives us a more relaxed, and nice environment to work in. We are focused and we have short breaks when we play with him and reload batteries. It’s in all sense positive and our customers love him. We always ask if customers care when he wants to say hello and only once someone said he was allergic so he stayed behind my desk . The only down side is we have to vacuum everyday as he sheds a lot. In this hectic schedule and world i find more and more often that people are eager to have dogs around it brings really a positive nurturing and nice feeling

    • TopDog | July 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      As both a dog trainer, and rescue worker, I can say that legitimate service animals should be allowed every where. Unfortunately most of what I see in public, are North Shore purse pooches that their Dog mommies think should be seen every where. As a trainer, I find this a horrible, and even abusive practice. Your dog was not meant to be confined to your hand bag and coddled in such away that he/she becomes nippy and spoiled.

      • Hannah Stacy | July 29, 2019 at 2:41 pm

        Thanks for the comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *