Monday, October 26, 2015

More on Service Dogs in Ambulances

I recently wrote about an online discussion with an EMT in which she stated that she didn't care what the law says, she could and would decide whether or not to allow a service dog in an ambulance with their handler.

Here is what the U.S. Department of Justice says about it in their recent document entitled Frequently Asked Questions and Service Animals and the ADA:

Q16. Must a service animal be allowed to ride in an ambulance with its handler?
A. Generally, yes.  However, if the space in the ambulance is crowded and the dog's presence would interfere with the emergency medical staff's ability to treat the patient, staff should make other arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital.

There are two things to note here.  Well, actually, three things.

1.  The federal law says she is generally supposed to allow service dogs to ride an ambulance with their handlers.

2.  If the dog cannot ride in the ambulance, arrangements should be made to have the dog transported to the hospital.  One person joining that online discussion mentioned that when she had to be transported by ambulance, police officers drove her service dog to the hospital.  But the EMT that said she did not have to follow the law made no mention of making such arrangements.

3.  Even though the law says your service dog can ride with you in most cases, and that staff should make arrangements for your dog to be transported if he can't ride with you, some EMT's don't care about the law and will violate your rights anyway.  This is really scary to me.


  1. Maybe you could go down to your local fire department/ambulance service and ask what their policy is regarding service dogs. I can't believe that all emergency personnel have the same views, even tho I know it's not supposed to be their decision. At least finding out in advance what their actions are likely to be can help to put your mind at ease.

    1. Oh, I'm sure they don't all have the same views. I was thinking that would be a good idea anyway to go visit them, it would be good training for Isaac. He is not bothered by sirens or people in uniforms and he has actually seen EMT's at our apartment building when neighbors have called them, but I think it would be really nice if they would let him get in an ambulance for a minute (and I know other handlers that have taken their dogs to visit the fire department and their dogs have been allowed to get in the ambulance). Maybe we should bake them some cookies or something and go visit. Isaac would enjoy it.

  2. I had an experience about 10 years ago. I had a dog 4 months old and in training. They did not allow him in the ambulance. Animal Control took him. I had to sign a document, they said, that would allow them to take him out of my vehicle. However, after I tried to get him back, they refused and told me that the document I signed was to surrender ownership. (I did not have my glasses and had to ask and they lied.) I never saw my dog again. He got dumped into the shelter system. I located him two years later in a shelter in Omaha. I was a very traumatic experience.