Service Animals: Ocean Grove welcomes all service animals as defined by Florida law. Under Florida law, a service animal is an animal that is trained to perform work or tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship is not work that is included in the definition of a service animal under Florida law. (Fla. Stat. §413.08 (1) (d))
Inquiries: To determine whether an animal is a pet or service animal, Ocean Grove managers may ask a guest whether an animal is a service animal required because of a disability and what work or tasks the animal is trained to perform. (Fla. Stat. §413.08 (3) (b))
Control: A service animal must be under the control of its handler and must have a harness, leash or other tether at all times, unless such items would interfere with the service animal’s performance because of the handler’s disability. If that is the case, the handler must maintain control of the service animal by voice control, signals, or other means. Further, the handler is solely responsible for the care and supervision of the animal, as well as the removal of animal excrement.
Exclusion: Ocean Grove will exclude or remove any animal, including service animals, if the animal:
- is out of control and the handler does not effectively control it;
- is not housebroken; or
- poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Suppose a service animal is excluded because it poses a threat to others. In that case, its handler will be given the option of staying at Ocean Grove without the service animal. (Fla. Stat. §413.08 (3) (f))
Penalties: Ocean Grove takes the rights of individuals who require the use of a service animal very seriously. The State of Florida has taken steps to hold those who abuse these rights criminally responsible. A person who knowingly and willfully misrepresents himself or herself, through conduct, verbal, or written notice as using or training a “service animal” as defined by Fla. Stat. 413.08 (1) (d), commits a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days imprisonment, a $500 penalty, and 30 hours of community service. (Fla. Stat. §413.058 (3) (f))