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As a victim of brutal assault, could a citizen be given a service animal for protection? The animal, preferably a dog, would not be trained to maim humans, but would be for visual deterrence.

The Service Animal Registry of America (SARA) will grant a service animal ID if the use for an animal if the animal is used for service or therapy. We believe an animal used to visually deterr a potential attacker falls under the "service" definition.

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes SARA and the animals used for service or therapy, however, the client may not have a disability under the ADA regulations. SARA does not require the approval from the ADA to issue registration to the service animal.

Would an animal used for visual deterrance in means of protecting the owner from a potential attack be considered a service animal, thus warranting the proper indentification from SARA as well as all the rights belonging to service animals?

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Under the ADA, a service animal must be individually trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability. The dog in the situation you describe wouldn't qualify as a service animal both because a dog is not individually trained to be a visible deterrance and because you say the individual does not have a disability.

Now, under the facts you described, the individual may, in fact, have a disability--e.g., PTSD--resulting from the "brutal assault." The dog may, in that case, serve as an emotional support animal, rather than a service animal. There are circumstances in which persons with disabilities with emotional support or companion animals have rights as well--e.g., under federal fair housing laws.

I'm not sure what you mean by "ADA recognizes SARA." Moreoever, if an animal qualifies as a service animal under the ADA, there's no requirement for certification or registration.

You may also want to check state law, which may have broader provisions related to service animals, emotional support animals or companion animals.

Hope this helps. This is a confusing area.

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