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Service Animals: Rights & Responsibilities

October 26, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

service animal

About this Webinar:

Many people don’t understand the differences between a service animal and an emotional support animal. There’s also been a lot of confusion about the legal rights of an individual with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal. This presentation provides information on the legal status of service animals, the legal status of emotional support animals, and the various laws that apply to determine those rights. A lot of discussion comes up about the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the rights of an individual to use a service animal are in several other statutes as well.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this webinar, providers should be able to:

  • Define “service animal” and how that differs from the definitions of “emotional support animal” and “therapy animal.”
  • Identify the rights and obligations of service animal handlers, and emotional support animal owners, in a variety of environments including:
    • Training required for a service animal.
    • Rights of employees with disabilities to have an assistance animal go to work with them.
    • Rules for taking a service animal into public accommodations such as stores, medical offices, or hospitals; restaurants, or special events.
    • Handler obligations when taking a service animal into a public accommodation.
    • Questions a dog handler can be asked and when a dog handler might have to provide some type of documentation.
    • Housing rights of an individual with a disability to have a service animal or emotional support animal living with them.
    • Rights of disabled students, in K-12 schools and colleges, to take their service animal with them to class.
    • Whether a service animal or emotional support animal can accompany a handler on an airplane.
    • Whether a handler can be charged any fees, deposits, or cleaning expenses, because a service animal accompanies the handler.
  • Review how a social worker, case manager, or other professional can help someone to protect the handler’s rights to use a service animal.


Denette Vaughn, JD
Senior Attorney
Disability Rights Texas

Denette Vaughn has a BA in Speech Communications and a BS in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her JD from Texas Tech School of Law in 1981.  Denette is currently a Senior Attorney with Disability Rights Texas. She has taught undergraduate classes in criminal justice and communication for Wayland University, Texas Tech University and South Plains College. Currently she is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Texas Tech School of Law teaching Mental Disability Law. Denette has been handling disability rights cases for almost 25 years, including issues that have arisen for individuals with disabilities who use service animals or have emotional support animals.  She is a member of the Texas Governor’s Committee on Disabilities service animal workgroup.

Continuing Education (CE) Credit

Continuing Education

  • Social Work, LPC, LMFT: Programming approval for 1.0 CE credits will be obtained for Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists from the University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Check with your state licensing agency for reciprocity and/or credit approval if licensed for other professions or in one of the following states: CO, FL, HI, IA, KS, KY, NY, ND, OH, OK. (*EXPIRES: 10/2024)
  • Case Manager: This program has been submitted to the Commission for Case Manager Certification for approval to provide board certified case managers with 1.0 clock hours. (*EXPIRES: 10/2023)
  • Board Certified Patient Advocates: This program has been pre-approved by The Patient Advocate Certification Board to provide continuing education credit to Board Certified Patient Advocates (BCPA). The course has been approved for a total of 1.0 CE contact hour, of which 0.0 are in the area of Ethics. (*EXPIRES: 10/2024)
  • Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE):  This program has been approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) for 1.0 CE credit for CFLE. (*EXPIRES: 10/2024)
  • Certificates of Attendance are available for providers interested in documenting their training activities.

Event Materials

Presentation Slides (PDF)

Webinar Flyer (PDF)

United States Army Medical Command’s Guidance on Service Animals

Guidance on the Acquisition and Use of Service Dogs by Soldiers

2015 Updated Policy re Animals at the VA

VA Announces New Rules Regarding Service Animals in VA Facilities

Navy JAG Article on Service and Support Animals

DoD Guidance on the Use of Service Dogs by Service Members

VA Prosthetic Program and Health Benefits for Service Dogs

Government Regulations on Service Dogs

Animal Laws by State

Photo Credit: iStock/24-K Productions


October 26, 2022
11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT
Event Category:
Event Tags:

How To Join

Complete the registration form with your name, email address, and how you learned about this webinar. You should receive a confirmation email shortly after with the connection information. Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions or need technical support.

If you are unable to join the webinar via Zoom, please view the live-streamed webinar at

More Info

On-Demand Webinars
Continuing Education Credits Available