Service animals in restaurants and other businesses

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department issued the following statement on July 24:

In the past several months the ACCPD has responded to complaints of citizens with disabilities, utilizing service animals, being denied access into businesses. Some business owners have denied them access because of their service animals and the presence of food.

Business owners and citizens are reminded that the Americans with Disabilities Act provides for citizens with disabilities with service animals to have full access to any business including food service facilities. If there is any question that the animal is truly a service animal, the owner of the service animal should have certification with them. A service animal in training is afforded the same access as a certified service animal. If in training, the service animal should be identified by a collar, leash, appropriate apparel, or device.

Under O.C.G.A. § 30-4-4, anyone denying a guide dog or service dog, in training or actually utilized by a disabled person, access to a business can face a fine of up to $2,000, or 30 days in jail, or both.

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