Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals are not considered service animals under the ADA.
There are several surrounding cities that provide license fee exemptions for service/assistance dogs. The City of Brea waives license fees for service dogs and the dog owner submits an Assistance Dog Application/Affidavit to Orange County Animal Care. The City of Ontario waives license fees for assistance dogs; the City of Diamond Bar waives license fees for guide, signal, and assistance dogs; the City of Pomona waives license fees for owners of guide dogs and signal dogs; and the City of Glendora waives license fees for disabled persons owning a service dog.
Currently, the City of Chino Hills Municipal Code only allows dogs trained and certified to lead the blind to be exempt from paying license fees. The City contracts with Inland Valley Humane Society (IVHS) for animal control services and IVHS requires a separate application and proof of certification from a training company to qualify for the exemption. The cities of Ontario, Diamond Bar, Pomona, and Glendora contract with IVHS as well and have the same requirement.
Staff is currently working with IVHS to develop a program for waiving license fees for veteran owned service dogs. This will include identifying any required documentation, the approval process, and other aspects of implementation. Staff is requesting City Council authorize the City Manager to develop this program. Once the program details have been finalized, it will be presented to City Council for final approval.