Service animals are defined by the U.S. Department of Justice and Americans with Disabilities Act 2010 Revised Requirements, as dogs who are individually trained to perform tasks or do work for a person who has a disability. In March of 2012 these revisions became mandatory, and by law, public swimming pools must allow a service dog to accompany the person with a disability anywhere on the premises where the public is allowed.
Regardless of posted rules, local ordinances or municipal health code, the ADA takes priority. It is a violation of the ADA to deny service dogs from accessing a public pool or to limit the type of service dog allowed to enter -- guide dogs only, for example -- based on local or state laws or regulations. While no fees or deposits may be charged to allow service animals to enter a public pool area, the facility may charge for cleaning or repairs due to damage caused by the service dog, but only if the policy is to charge a nondisabled person for causing such damage.
- State of New Jersey Department of Health: American Disabilities Act – Pool Entry Requirements Guidance Document
- U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section: ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Service Animals
- U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section: Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business
- United States Access Board: ADA Standards
- Phil Walter/Getty Images News/Getty Images