By Bob Robinson
Q. Are dogs allowed in grocery stores and restaurants in Tennessee?
A. No. According to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 6-54- 135 (2012), no pet dog shall be present in the interior of any restaurant or in any area where food is prepared. The Tennessee statute defines pet dog as a dog other than a service or guide dog assisting a handicapped person.
In Tennessee, service dog laws stipulate that no employee, proprietor, or any other person in charge of any public place, shall refuse to permit a blind, physically disabled or hearing impaired individual access to such place, or to make use of the accommodations therein provided, when such accommodations are available for the purpose that such blind, physically disabled or hearing-impaired individual is being led or accompanied by a dog guide, as long as such dog providing the guidance is wearing a harness and is held on a leash by the blind or otherwise disabled individual.
Under federal law, all cities, states and counties in the United States are required to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended in 2010, which defines service dogs and sets guidelines for them.
The ADA statute requires a service animal (dog) to be individually trained for the distinct purpose of aiding someone with a disability. Disability is further defined as not only physical but mental, intellectual, psychiatric and sensory. The training can be acquired through completion of an accredited service dog certification course. Additional information may be found at www. ada.gov.
According to www.servicedogcertificationtips.com, permits and completion certificates for service dogs are issued by an accredited school authorized for training service dogs. In the state of Tennessee, an individual has to present for inspection, upon request, credentials indicating the dog received appropriate training at an accredited training school for service dogs.
Report any violations to Keith Garland, environmental specialist with the Tennessee Department of Health, whose office is located at the Carter County Health Department. His phone number is 543-2521, Ext. 307. To call the TDH Foodborne Illness Complaint Hotline, dial 1-800-293-8228.
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