Service Dogs - VA Puget Sound Health Care System
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VA Puget Sound Health Care System


Service Dogs

VA Puget Sound seeks to serve Veterans in a clean and therapeutic environment. Service animals are permitted, whereas pets are not permitted on the premises of VA Puget Sound. Owner/handler whose animal disrupts facility operations or the provision of health care to Veterans, may be subject to removal, citation and/or fine under federal law (38 CFR 1.218) issued by the VA Police.

Important Note: Washington State has adopted its own laws under the Revised Code of Washington that apply to misrepresentation of a service animal that could be subject to fines off VA Controlled property (RCW 7.80.120).

Service Animal Requirements:

Verifiable Service Animals (dogs only) are permitted to assist Veterans with disabilities. The only service dogs recognized by VA include:

  • Mobility dogs (for transfers, opening doors and mobility assistance)
  • Mobility dogs for visually impaired
  • Seizure alert dogs
  • Hearing dogs
  • PTSD dogs (for protection barrier, anxiety or sleep management)

Dogs whose sole function is to provide emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship are not considered service animals by VHA and are not permitted access per VA regulation.

Service animals are not allowed in the following areas: operating rooms, dental suites, marrow transplant unit, oncology, and inpatient mental health. Service animals may also be denied entry in areas with identified infection control restrictions (e.g. oncology ward).

Printable Service Animals Flyer with Contact Information for Alternate Handler or Emergency Contact

The owner/handler or alternate is responsible for control or care of the service animal at all times. VA is not responsible for the service animal while it is on VA property.

If the service animal presents a threat to the health or safety of other persons, the service animals must be removed from the facility and not allowed to return.

The owner/handler or alternate will be asked to remove the service animal from the facility if it causes a disruption of health care services or is a threat to patients or staff. Examples of disruptive behavior include: an animal relieving itself inside a facility building, barking, growling, biting, or lunging.

The owner/handler should be prepared to share contact information for an alternate handler / emergency contact for care of their service animal in the event they are unable to care for their service animal. If an alternate handler is not available and the Veteran will need care in a restricted area:

  • The Veteran will be provided alternative care options, or
  • The Veteran may opt to not receive treatment, or
  • Alternative arrangements may be required to care for the service animal at a kennel or shelter for animals. Expenses for this care will be the responsibility of the owner/handler.

 Printable Service Animals Flyer with Contact Information for Alternate Handler or Emergency Contact