A Note on Dogs

If you encounter a visitor with a dog, there are only two questions that you may legally ask: “Is that a service animal?”, and if so, you may ask, “What task has the animal been trained to perform?”

Below is an outline explaining some of the different scenarios, which may play out when encountering a visitor with a dog.

  1. If you encounter a dog in a prohibited area and it is obvious to you that the dog is a service animal, no further action is required.
  2. If you encounter a dog in a prohibited area, you have concerns and you are comfortable approaching the visitor, you should ask, “Is this a service animal?”
    1. If the visitor says “no”, assume that they are simply unaware of the park’s policy regarding dogs and inform them of the rules. Show them on a map where dogs are allowed (on leash).
      • If the visitor complies, no further action is required.
      • If the visitor ignores, or is rude, contact 799 (or any North District Ranger) via radio and explain the situation.
    2. If the visitor says that the dog is a service dog,
      • If the dog is well behaved and under the handler’s control, no further action is required.
      • If the dog is not under the handler’s control, you may ask the visitor, “What task the animal has been trained to perform?” If there is a really strong reason that this animal should be excluded, contact 799 or Carlo (313), via radio.

If you have questions about any situation you can always contact Sean (231) or Carlo (313) via radio. Please remember you are not required to engage with a visitor if you aren’t comfortable doing so. Additionally, if any visitor makes you feel uncomfortable during a contact, you should contact 799. 799 is the dispatch service and it is the NPS equivalent of “911”, so please use it appropriately.