The VA announced today that it has revised its regulation governing the presence of service animals at VA facilities. Back in January we posted that the VA was seeking public input regarding service animals at VA sites. The VA weighed your input and looked at federal laws pertaining to service animals and came up with this revised regulation.
The new regulation states that only dogs who have been specifically trained to perform special tasks or services for a disabled individual will be considered service animals. No other animals will be allowed in VA facilities, with the express exception of law enforcement animals or animals used in animal-assisted therapy. Service animals will be subject to the same rules that govern public access to VA properties. In some facilities, they may not be allowed in certain patient care areas (like ORs, ICUs, etc.) in order to maintain patient safety and infection control standards.
Over the next 30 days, the VA will train its employees and educate the public about this new rule to ensure that it is uniformly enforced across the country.