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Service Animal Policy

We welcome guests with disabilities who choose to bring their trained service animal into the Aquarium. A copy of our service animal policy may be obtained at the Information Desk. A kennel or staff escort is available for those who choose to leave their service animal when entering areas that are off limits to service animals.

Aquarium of the Pacific Service Animal Policy

Updated June 2012

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a “service animal” as dogs* that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. If they meet this definition, dogs are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. ADA requires service animals to be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support, therapy dogs or dogs that provide a service to others not present (dogs in-training) do not qualify as “service animals” under the ADA.

A service animal may be excluded from the aquarium when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Examples are vicious behavior towards other guests, a dog that is out of control and the handler cannot or does not regain control, or if the dog is not housebroken. If a service animal is excluded, the individual with the disability who uses the service animal must have the option of continuing to enjoy the aquarium.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is responsible for the health and wellbeing of collections of birds and marine animals. In the event that a service animal’s presence within certain areas of the aquarium is demonstrated to cause the animals in that area undue stress or anxiety, or present the potential for injury or illness, we reserve the right to designate such sensitive areas as off-limits. Sensitive areas may be designated as a result of new births or hatchings, nesting or breeding behavior in progress, or new animals in exhibits. Lorikeet Forest is an open aviary and is off-limits to service animals at all times. Further, service animals may not be present at behind-the-scenes animal encounters.

In order that our disabled guests may enjoy the aquarium to the fullest, aquarium staff members will be made available to hold/walk or kennel the service animal while other aquarium staff accompany the guest through the exhibit.

*As of March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.