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Tips for First Responders - Delaware

People with Service Animals

Always ask the person how you can best assist them.

  • Remember – a service animal is not a pet.
  • Do not touch or give the animal food or treats without the permission of the owner.
  • When a dog is wearing its harness, it is on duty. In the event you are asked to take the dog while assisting the individual, hold the leash and not the harness.
  • Plan to evacuate the animal with the owner. Do not separate them!
  • Service animals are not registered and there is no proof that the animal is a service animal. If the person tells you it is a service animal, treat it as such. However, if the animal is out of control or presents a threat to the individual or others, remove it from the site.
  • A person is not required to give you proof of a disability that requires a service animal. You should accept the claim and treat the animal as a service animal. If you have doubts, wait until you arrive at your destination and address the issue with the supervisor in charge.
  • The animal need not be specially trained as a service animal. People with psychiatric and emotional disabilities may have a companion animal. These are just as important to them as a service animal is to a person with a physical disability – please be understanding and treat the animal as a service animal.
  • A service animal must be in a harness or on a leash, but need not be muzzled.

Additional Resources

Canine Partners for Life

Dogs for the Deaf
1-541-826-9220 (New Castle, Kent, Sussex)


University of DelawareCenter for Disabilities Studies