Please Don't Pat Me


Assistance Dog Legitimacy

How can I tell if an Assistance Dog is legitimate?

Most assistance dogs wear some sort of identifying equipment such as a vest or harness. However, this is NOT a requirement under the law. If you are in doubt about a dog in your business being an assistance dog or pet, you are permitted by the Disability Discrimination Act to ask for evidence.

Section 54A, Paragraph (5) says:

This part does not render it unlawful for a person to request the person with the disability to produce evidence that:
  1. the animal is an Assistance Animal; or
  2. the animal is trained to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.

If the person with the disability does not produce evidence of the above then it is legal to discriminate against them. However, this is where it gets tricky. There is no uniform evidence regulated by federal law in Australia. Depending on who trained the dog the evidence that the person with the disability provides may differ. Most commonly, however not necessarily, they will have an ID card. If they do not have an ID card they may produce a letter or training logs. This could still constitute evidence.

Even if they have an ID card, the details and appearance of an ID card varies depending upon who issued it. Here are a few examples of various ID cards that are in use in Australia.

ID Cards
All of these ID cards are legitimate, they just look different because there is no regulation or central issuing agency of assistance dog ID cards.