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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117401
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I took my dog to a California state park. I have a placard

Customer Question

I took my dog to a California state park. I have a placard for my knees , one replaced one needs to be . I also have a letter from my physiatrist to have my 4 lb . Dog with me for depression . They asked me what my dog was trained to do , I said comfort. She is very passive. They challenged me with paperwork saying emotion support dogs are not allowed only service dogs. They were very intimidating and sarcastic about "service" dog ?? Sure all around the park . Is that allowed ??
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't know ? Should I explain more?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
California law allows persons with disabilities to bring trained service dogs and psychiatric service dogs, but not emotional support animals, to all public places. California doesn't have a separate definition for "psychiatric service dog," but a dog that is individually trained to help a person with a mental disability with specific requirements is considered a service dog, and an individual that uses such a dog is entitled to the same rights under the law as someone with a physical disability that uses a service dog. See: 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.302(c)(1), 35.136(a), 28 C.F.R. § 36.104, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104; 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7), 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c)(7), Cal. Civ. Code § 54.1(a)(1).
An "emotional support animal" on the other hand is a dog or other animal that is not trained to perform specific acts directly related to an individual’s disability. Instead, the animal's owner derives a sense of well-being, safety, or calm from the animal’s companionship and presence. These do not have to be allowed onto the state property. So you would need to get your dog qualified as a service dog to be allowed to bring it into those public areas.
So, legally, under

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