Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development published a notice which explains certain obligations of housing providers under the Fair Housing Act (FHAct), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities. They have produced a fact sheet to explain the differences in the provisions of the different laws.  

While the Department of Justice's (DOJ) amendments to its regulations for the Titles II and III of the ADA limit the definition of "service animal" under the ADA to include only dogs and miniature horses, and further define "service animal" to exclude emotional support animals, it is important to keep in mind that under Wisconsin law the definition of what constitutes a service animal is expanded to include "other animals." For further information on these definitions, please see Wis. Stat. §106.52(1)(fm), Public Places of Accommodation or Amusement, and Wis. Stat. §106.50(2r)(bg), Open Housing. The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act does not specifically refer to service animal, but it may be that the same expanded definition of service animal in Wisconsin's other laws for public places of accommodation or amusement and open housing extends to the employment setting (please consult with your legal counsel for clarification).

For further information on civil rights protections, please go to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Resources webpage.

Last Revised: May 21, 2019