Woman in a pool with a service dog on the edge

Spring Seminar: Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act

“Each day in the United States service dogs provide an invaluable service for their handlers.  Whether it is assisting someone who is blind to navigate busy streets, or alerting a handler with diabetes that their blood sugar has dipped dangerously low, service animals are essential partners in everyday life. There remains a great deal of confusion on the part of the public as to what is and is not a service animal as well as the rights and responsibilities handlers and business have under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws. This seminar will answer those questions.” – Barry Whaley

The last session of our Spring Seminar series was held on Friday, April 19, 2019 from 1:00 – 3:00pm EST about “Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act .”

We learned more from experts Steve Kuusisto, Barry Whaley, and Jason Jones. The seminar was held at the UK Coldstream Research Campus Human Development Institute Training Room 1525 Bull Lea Road, Lexington KY. A link to the live video stream of the seminar was sent to registrants.

For more information, contact walt.bower@uky.edu.


Steve Kuusisto, University Professor at Syracuse University
Barry Whaley, Southeast ADA Center at Syracuse University
Jason Jones, Human Development Institute, University of Kentucky


There seems to be a lot of confusion these days about service animals, emotional support, and comfort animals. Are they the same thing or are they different? This session will discuss what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says about service animals. What rights do handlers of service animals have? What rights do employers, restaurateurs, airlines, property owners, and shop owners have when it comes to service animals and emotional support animals? Join us as we explore the laws and policies around service animals.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Develop an understanding of what a service animal is as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  2. . Understand how the Air Carriers Access Act and the Fair Housing Act differ from the ADA in
    offering protections to handlers of “non-service” animals.
  3. Learn the history of service animals and how their bond with humans results in independence
    for nearly half a million Americans.

This program is presented in conjunction with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. CRC credit hours are approved for Rehabilitation Counseling.

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