In this article...

In this article, we discuss the legalities surrounding service and emotional support animals in the state of Iowa. We cover the questions:

  • What service animals are covered in Iowa? 
  • What is a public accommodation? 
  • What are the rules for service animals? 
  • What are service animal rules for housing in Iowa? 

Iowa law protects those with service animals and emotional support animals by requiring accommodations in housing and some public places.  

In this article, we discuss the legalities surrounding service and emotional support animals in the state of Iowa. We cover the questions:

  • What service animals are covered in Iowa? 
  • What is a public accommodation? 
  • What are the rules for service animals? 
  • What are service animal rules for housing in Iowa? 

Iowa’s disability rights law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) state that people with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by service animals in restaurants, hotels, stores, theaters, and other public accommodations. The accommodations are outlined within both laws.  

 

What service animals are covered in Iowa? 

 

In Iowa law, you are allowed to be accompanied by your service dog or assistive animal in various public spaces. For an animal to qualify as a service animal, they must be specially trained to assist a person with a disability. Most of the time, the service animals are dogs. An assistive animal covers other animals that are specifically trained or in training to assist that person with a disability. 

 

The ADA provides different guidelines for these animals. Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been specifically trained to perform tasks to aid someone with a disability or otherwise benefit someone with a disability. These animals are often trained to aid in specific tasks. Some examples of service animals allowed into public accommodations include hearing dogs, visual guide dogs, psychiatric service animals, seizure alert animals and allergen alert animals.  

 

It is worth noting here that the ADA doesn’t include what people often call “emotional support animals.” These are often considered by people to be animals that provide safety and comfort to people with psychological or emotional conditions. Though these animals do have therapeutic benefits, their lack of specific training does not qualify them under the ADA as service animals. Iowa law does refer to support animals, though the animals must be trained to assist someone with a disability to be covered.  

 

What is a public accommodation? 

 

In Iowa, people with disabilities can bring their service animals with them to any place that accommodates the public. This includes: 

  • Common carriers or transportation (buses, trains, taxis, etc.) 
  • Restaurants, bars and other places to drink or eat 
  • Hotels or lodging 
  • All other places where the public is invited.  

 

The Iowa and ADA definitions are broad, covering nearly every place open to the public. 

 

What are the rules for service animals? 

 

The ADA and Iowa law bar businesses or other entities from charging special fees or adding additional costs to have a service animal with you. This does not bar them from charging you for any damage your animal causes.  

 

Under the ADA specifically, a public accommodation cannot ask you questions about your disability or require you to show certification or identification proving your animal with you is a service animal. They may ask if it is a service animal and what tasks it aids you with. 

 

The ADA does allow a few exemptions. If the service animal poses a direct threat to health and safety, the facility may be able to kick out the animal. Some examples include if the animal isn’t housebroken, if the animal is acting up, barking at customers, etc. Under Iowa law, your service animal must be under control.  

 

What are service animal rules for housing in Iowa? 

 

Iowa and federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against people with service animals. By law, you have to be allowed full, equal access to all housing facilities. Additionally, landlords may not charge extra for having the animals, though they may be able to charge for any damage to the unit the animal causes. This includes if there is a “no pets” provision in your lease or rental agreement, your service animal does not apply. 

 

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, all housing facilities must allow service docs and emotional support animals if it is necessary for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to use or enjoy their home. You must have a disability and have a disability related need for the animal to qualify. 


Posted 
February 18, 2021
 in 
Text Link
 category

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Similar Articles

Heading

Learn about Law
Indiana
Illinois
Iowa