Iowa's new Assistance and Service Animals Law has taken effect


Iowa's New Assistance and Service Animals Law Took Effect, May 2, 2019

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals must be allowed into public places that the general public is normally allowed to go. According to the ADA, and now Iowa law, a “service animal” has been defined as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to complete tasks for a person with a disability. Service animals are not required to wear a vest or service tag, however, they must be under control. As a business owner, you, or your staff, can ask only two questions of an individual with a service animal:

  1. Is the service animal required because of a disability, and
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

See link with additional information

A growing issue for business owners across the country has been individuals claiming their untrained pets are service animals. The Iowa Grocery Industry Association worked closely with a broad group of stakeholders to pass legislation this year that would make it a crime to misrepresent an animal as a service animal. Senate File 341 went into effect May 2, 2019, impacting chapter 216 and 216c of the Iowa Code.

Below are the details of the new law in Iowa that went into effect May 2, 2019.

  • The definition for a “service animal” now mirrors the ADA definition, meaning a dog or miniature horse, requiring training for the animal and an ongoing relationship with a medical professional for the person with a disability.
  • The Iowa Civil Rights Act is amended to require service animals and service-animals-in-training to be allowed within commercial establishments and penalties for denial.
  • A new criminal penalty for a person who intentionally misrepresents an animal as a service animal but requires that the person was previously given a written or verbal warning regarding the fact that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service animal or service animal in training.
  • Immunity from liability for injury or damage caused by a store’s allowance of a service animal or service animal in training access to the property.

Download a poster for your business.

For more information, please contact Michelle Hurd at or 515-270-2628.

service animals Americans with Disabilities Iowa Grocery Industry Association