Service Animal Admittance Policy

Domestic  animals  may  present  a  risk  of  disease  transmission  to  other  animals  and  are  not allowed in the Detroit Zoo or the Belle Isle Nature Center unless providing assistance as a service animal to a guest.  Domestic animals can also be distracting to the animals that live at the Zoo and may pose a problem for guests who may not welcome their interaction.

Service Animals

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) strives to provide a welcoming environment for a diverse audience on both campuses. If you plan to arrive with a service animal at the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center, please note that upon arrival, a member of the Park Safety team will welcome you and ensure that your service animal is qualified under the current American Disability Act guidelines. Then you will be issued a bandana to indicate that your service animal has been approved and is allowed on grounds. The bandana will be collected upon your departure. Each guest with a service animal will also be given a small collapsible water bowl for the animal’s comfort and a pet waste collection bag for convenience. The DZS staff members at each entrance will also advise you of the areas service animals are not permitted (e.g., the Australian Outback Adventure and Free-Flight Aviary at the Detroit Zoo and the Deer Encounter at the Nature Center) and let you know how to reach staff if any assistance is needed.

Applicable service animals are limited to dogs and in some cases, miniature horses. Bona fide service animals are allowed to enter the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center to provide assistance to guests in accordance with applicable  federal, state and local regulations. Service animals must meet the following conditions:

  • Service animals must be at least 12 months of age as specified by Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 750.502c.  Animals under 12 months of age are more likely to carry parasites or other pathogens that pose a direct threat to our patrons and animal residents.
  • Service animals must be under the “effective control” of the individual with the disability, in accordance with ADA.  “Effective control” means “service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls”.
  • Service animals must be “on duty” and accompany a person who is in need of the animal’s assistance.
  • Service animals must not threaten the health or safety of guests or animals, or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.

Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:

  • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
  • Free-Flight Aviary
  • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

 

Service Animals in Training

Service animals in training will be allowed in the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center subject to the following conditions:

  • The service animal must be at least 12 months of age.
  • The service animal must be under the effective control of a certified trainer or guide who possesses photo identification stating that he or she is a trainer, or an employee of a training organization, included on the Michigan Department of Labor’s list of recognized trainers.
  • Service animals are not allowed in the following areas of the Detroit Zoo as their presence may threaten the health or safety of guests and/or animals or disrupt the operation of the Detroit Zoo:
    • Australian Outback Adventure immersive walkway (exterior viewing is available)
    • Free-Flight Aviary
    • Simulator Ride (non-motion rides are available upon request)

Service animals that do not meet the above criteria, or otherwise threaten the health or safety of other patrons and animals, will, be denied access to, or removed from, the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center.  The guardians or owners of service animals who are denied access or removed from the premises may still enter the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center without the service animal.     The  Society  cannot  allow  animals  of  any  kind  to  be  left  unaccompanied   in  an automobile in a Zoo parking area.

Contact us with questions about the Service Animal Admittance Policy.


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