Can Hotels Charge For Service Animals?
If you are traveling with a service animal, you may be wondering if hotels can charge you extra fees or refuse to accommodate you. The answer depends on the type of service animal, the laws of the country or state you are visiting, and the policies of the hotel.
Service animals are defined differently by different jurisdictions, but generally they are animals that have been trained to perform specific tasks or provide assistance for people with disabilities. Some examples of service animals are guide dogs, hearing dogs, seizure alert dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and mobility assistance dogs.
In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public places, including hotels. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The ADA also states that hotels must allow service animals to accompany their handlers in all areas where guests are allowed, and they cannot charge extra fees or deposits for service animals. However, hotels can charge for damages caused by a service animal, as long as they charge the same for damages caused by other guests.
The ADA does not apply to emotional support animals, therapy animals, or comfort animals, which are not trained to perform specific tasks and provide only companionship or emotional support. Hotels are not required to accept these types of animals, and they can charge fees or impose restrictions on them. However, some states and localities have laws that protect emotional support animals and require hotels to accommodate them without extra charges. Therefore, it is important to check the laws of your destination before traveling with an emotional support animal.
In other countries, the laws and regulations regarding service animals may vary widely. Some countries may have similar protections as the ADA, while others may have stricter or looser definitions of service animals. Some countries may require service animals to have certification or identification documents, while others may not. Some countries may allow only certain types of service animals, such as dogs or miniature horses, while others may allow any animal that provides assistance. Some countries may have specific rules for traveling with service animals, such as health certificates, vaccinations, quarantine periods, or import permits.
Therefore, if you are traveling internationally with a service animal, you should do your research beforehand and contact the embassy or consulate of your destination country to find out their requirements and regulations. You should also contact the hotel you plan to stay at and ask about their policies and fees for service animals. You should be prepared to provide proof of your disability and your service animal’s training or certification if requested.
Traveling with a service animal can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding and beneficial for both you and your animal. By knowing your rights and responsibilities, and by planning ahead and communicating clearly with your hotel, you can ensure a smooth and comfortable stay for both of you.