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Under the ADA, disabled Americans have the right to be accompanied by their assistance dogs in all places of public accommodation. Three elements define this right:

1. The disabling condition must be severe enough to substantially limit one or more major life activities, such as the ability to see or hear, speak, breathe, learn, work, think or take care of oneself.

2. The dog must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks which serve to mitigate the disabling condition. (Seventh Circuit decision, Federal Court of Appeals in Bronk v Iniechen)

3. The dog must be well behaved and under control. Business owners and other representatives of places of public accommodation have the legal right to exclude any dog who displays aggressive behavior or is out of control. They may also exclude any dog whose behavior disrupts the provision of goods or services, such as a dog barking in a movie theater.


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That 2nd qualification is one that many people spin to fit their own purposes. There are groups known in the Service Dog world as "huggers" that think a trained task is when a dog licks its handler or allows the handler to snuggle with them and this is in keeping with the intent of the ADA. Sometimes these people come back with a statement like, "I trained my dog to kiss me on command" or "My dog comes when it is called so I can hug it." They want to equate something like a dog standing still and allowing the handler to hug it with a dog guiding a blind person across a busy street, a Hearing Dog alerting its handler to approaching danger, or a SD trained to bring medicine and a bottle of water and then going to hit a button to summon help all on the same level.
 

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So their disability is what? That nobody else will hug them?

While it might be true that one would have to "teach" a dog to accept hugging, and that may be of service to some, how could this be construed as a "Service Dog"....

why don't they just put on some sunglasses and feign blindness?

It's about the same thing, IMO.
 
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