Service Animals

Please read Arizona State Parks and Trails Official Policy on Service animals.

Service animals as they pertain to the cave and Discovery Center

Service animals meeting the American with Disabilities Act standards are allowed inside buildings and on cave tours.

All owners are responsible for the actions of their service animals and should consider the effect that darkness, enclosed spaces, warm temperatures and humidity may have on their service animals when going on tour.

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 


The first priority at Kartchner Caverns is to protect the cave and its ecosystem. Arizona State Parks supports a science-based approach to management and preservation of the cave. Limiting the number of people who can access the cave on each tour, prohibiting water bottles, food, bags, in the cave and measuring air quality are just a few of the measures taken to protect this remarkable and irreplaceable publicly-owned resource.


Please leave all other pets, such as non-working service animals, comfort or therapy animals at home as they can cause serious damage to the cave’s ecosystem.  The Park does not have a holding pen for dogs.


Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

  • No. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Park Staff and volunteers are provided training as it relates to service animals.

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
  • Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability
  • Staff cannot require medical documentation
  • Staff cannot require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken.
  • When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.


What can staff do when a service animal is being disruptive?

  • If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises.

Part of the training for staff includes recognizing behaviors that service dogs shouldn’t do in public:

The ADA allows service animals to be denied access if: 1) The animal is not under the effective verbal or physical control of its handler. 2) The animal poses a “direct threat” to the health or safety of others.

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