Furry Friends

Service Animals in Arizona: A Brief Introduction

As of the summer of 2018, it will be unlawful for people in Arizona to claim or pretend that their pets are service animals if they are not.

Under House Bill (HB) 2588, which was enacted in mid-April of 2018 and will go into effect in mid-July of 2018, anyone who falsely states that their pet is a service animal may be fined up to $250.

HB 2588 amended A.R.S. § 11-1024 – the Arizona statute which governs service animals – by adding the following text: “A person may not fraudulently misrepresent an animal as a service animal or service animal in training to a person or entity that operates a public place. A court or duly appointed hearing officer may impose on the person misrepresenting the animal ... a civil penalty of not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each violation.”

This article is designed to provide a brief introduction to the Arizona statute which governs service animals: A.R.S. (Arizona Revised Statutes) § 11-1024.

How does Arizona law define a “service animal”?

Arizona law defines a “service animal” as “any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained or in training 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. Service animal does not include other species of animals, whether wild or domestic or trained or untrained.”

Under Arizona law, only a dog (or a miniature horse) may be a service animal.

How does Arizona law protect service animals and the individuals with disabilities who rely on them?

Arizona law forbids people and entities that operate public places from discriminating against individuals with disabilities who use service animals – if the work or tasks performed by the service animal are directly related to the individual’s disability.

Such work or tasks include assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing nonviolent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Under Arizona law, the crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship do not constitute work or tasks.

What is a “public place”?

Arizona law defines a “public place” as “any office or place of business or recreation to which the general public is invited, whether operated by a public or private entity and includes all forms of conveyance, including taxis, tow trucks and ambulances.”

What counts as discrimination against individuals with disabilities who rely on service animals?

Under Arizona law, “no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, leases to others or operates a place of public accommodation” (A.R.S. 41-1492.02).

Discrimination against an individual with a disability due to the presence of a service animal includes (but is not limited to) each of the following:

  • refusing to permit an individual with a disability to enter a public place with a service animal or interfering with the individual’s right to enter or use the public place
  • failing to provide an individual with a disability the same services and access to the same areas of the premises as afforded to others
  • attempting to impose a charge, fee or deposit because an individual with a disability is accompanied by a service animal
  • requiring an individual with a disability to disclose disability-related information (however, a public accommodation may ask if the animal is a service animal being used because of a disability or what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform)
  • requiring provision of identification for the service animal

When is it not discriminatory to exclude a service animal from a public place?

It is not discriminatory to exclude a service animal from a public place if and when any of the following apply:

  • the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others (by posing a significant risk to the health or safety of others which cannot be eliminated through a modification of policies, practices, or procedures or through the provision of auxiliary aids or services)
  • the service animal fundamentally alters the nature of the public place, or the goods, services or activities provided therein
  • the service animal poses an undue burden
  • the service animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it
  • the service animal is not housebroken




Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 11-1024: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/11/01024.htm

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.