Animals in the Library


It is the policy of the Mahwah Public Library to prohibit all animals from entering Library facilities, with the exception of service animals, service animal trainees and animals featured in programs sponsored by the Mahwah Public Library.

Exceptions for Service Animals

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”[1] Effective March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under ADA titles II and III.  Housebroken miniature horses are also covered under ADA guidelines.

“’Guide dog’ means a dog used to assist deaf persons or which is fitted with a special harness so as to be suitable as an aid to the mobility of a blind person, and is used by a blind person who has satisfactorily completed a specific course of training in the use of such a dog, and has been trained by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of the blind or deaf as reputable and competent to provide dogs with training of this type.”[2]

Staff may ask if an animal is a pet or a service animal required because of a disability; they can also ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. Owners of service animals or service animals in training will indicate that they are working animals and not pets. Terms used may include assistance, service, guide, hearing or helping animal.

Staff may not ask about the owner’s disability. A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his or her service animal or service animal in training from the library unless the presence, behavior or actions of the service animal constitutes an unreasonable risk of injury or harm to property or other persons. In these cases, library staff should give the person with the disability the option to obtain library services without having the services animal or service animal in training on the premises. Fear of allergies, annoyance on the part of other patrons or employees or fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals or service animals in training.

Individuals with disabilities may bring their service animals into all areas of the library where members of the public are normally allowed to go. All service animals must be under the full custody and control of their handler at all times. All service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times unless the handler is unable to leash or harness the animal because of a disability or use of a leash or harness would interfere with the animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If the service animal cannot be leashed or harnessed, it must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means). Owners of the service animals are solely responsible for the supervision and care of the service animal. Therefore, owners must keep the service animal directly with them at all times. Pursuant to State law, owners of service animals are responsible for any damages caused by their animals.[3]


Policy adopted: 17 July 2013

Last reviewed:  17 July 2013

[1] “ADA 2010 Revised Requirements, Service Animals”

[2] N.J.S.A 10:5-5(s).

[3] N.J.S.A. 10:5-29(c)

100 Ridge Road, Mahwah, NJ, 07430 201.529.READ