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Are registered service animals permitted on the beach?Submitted by Susan C, Weirton WV on August 8, 2019
Another clarification is that true service animals are allowed on the beach and boardwalk at all times. Therapy animals are not allowed on the beach or boardwalk from May 1 to October 1. I have seen several officers check the status of animals on the boardwalk this year. I am not sure how, but I have seen it occur.
Registration has no impact on if a service animal is allowed on the beach and boardwalk at this time of year. If a service animal meets the ADA defined criteria for service animal, it is allowed on the beach or anywhere else Ocean City. If a service animal does not meet the ADA approval criteria, then it is not allowed on the beach or boardwalk until 1 October. The Department of Justice's ADA website provides the criteria and requirements for an ADA Service Animal.
The ADA does not require registration as part of its criteria and does not sponsor such registrations. The US Justice Department administers ADA. It's ADA FAQ documentation states "There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal." The ADA FAQ also indicates "Mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA. However, as stated above, service animals are subject to the same licensing and vaccination rules that are applied to all dogs."