September 24, 2012_NH"Dear Administrator" Letters

September 24, 2012
ADSA: NH #2012-012
Reasonable accommodation and Non-discrimination for service animals

Dear Nursing Facility/Home Administrator:

Recently, we have heard there have been some questions on reasonable accommodations and non-discrimination issues, in particular around residents with service animals.  For example, we heard of a facility that had a "no pets" policy and used this as the basis to automatically refuse service animals.  The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the state and federal laws and rules for reasonable accommodations and non-discrimination of residents who use a service animal. 

There are many federal and state laws and rules that protect residents who use service animals from discrimination and ensure reasonable accommodations.

  • A service animal is not considered a pet.
  • Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, a disabled person may request a reasonable accommodation for a service animal.
  • RCW 49.60.222 does not allow a home to deny an accommodation against a person with a disability who uses a trained dog guide or service animal.
  • Under RCW 49.60.218, it is against the law for a provider to charge an individual with a service animal a higher rate than what is charged to other residents.

For further details and information, here are links to the relevant state and federal laws and regulations that protect residents from discrimination and ensure reasonable accommodations for a service animal:

Please contact your local RCS Field Manager if you have any questions. 


Joyce Pashley Stockwell, Director
Residential Care Services