Service Animals - VA Loma Linda Healthcare System
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VA Loma Linda Healthcare System


Service Animals

In the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and to ensure the health and safety of patients, staff, and volunteers, VA Loma Linda, our community VA clinics, and our VA shuttle vans and busses allow only service animals (specifically, dogs) to accompany our patients.  All other animals are prohibited.

What is a Service Animal?

Under the ADA, a service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other dog individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Dogs which meet this definition are considered service animals whether or not they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals can be dogs or any breed or size, are working animals, and are not considered pets.

A Service Animal:Service dog with disabled Veteran. 

  • guides people who are blind
  • alerts people who are hearing impaired
  • pulls wheelchairs
  • alerts and protects a person who may have seizures
  • calms a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack
  • performs other duties

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 do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

By law, neither VA Loma Linda nor our community VA clinics are required to provide care or food for a service animal, nor to provide a special location for the animal to relieve itself.  Owners of service animals are responsible for their animal's actions, and may be liable for any damage caused by the service animal.

Service animals must be kept on leash or harnessed at all times, and are not allowed on the furniture.  Service animals must be housebroken and under the control of their owner.

Under California law, misrepresenting yourself as an owner or trainer of a trained service animal is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

How Should You Be Treated?

Veterans with service animals should expect to be treated with the same care and concern as any other patient.  You may not be charged a deposit or surcharge so that your animal may accompany you.  You cannot be segregated from other patients because you are accompanied by your service animal.  Equally, you should not expect faster or better service because you are accompanied by your service animal.

You will be asked to remove your service animal if the animal is out of control, if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other people, or if it causes an alteration in the care and services being provided.