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Tampa VA Service Dog Policy

The VA understands the important role of service animals in the lives of Veterans and VA visitors. VA regulation 38 CFR 1.218(a)(11) aligns with federal law and sets clear guidelines for both Veterans and staff. This is also covered locally by Hospital Policy Memorandum No. 00-04.

Tampa VA Veteran patients attending appointments with guide or service dogs are subject to the same regulations, as generally govern the admission of the public to the property.

Veteran patients are expected to maintain a safe environment for other patients, employees, visitors, and the dog.

It is also the policy of Tampa VA that the dog handler, or his/her appointed alternate, is responsible for the care and control of the dog at all times; VA staff are not responsible for providing care for a guide or service dog.


Service animals can access the same areas as the general public. However, they cannot enter certain areas for safety and infection control reasons, such as:

  • Dermatology Clinic (beyond the waiting area)
  • Dental Clinic (beyond the waiting area)
  • Operating rooms and pre-operative areas
  • Invasive procedure areas
  • Inpatient rooms (unless the service animal is part of a treatment plan)
  • Decontamination rooms, sterile processing and storage areas
  • Areas where chemicals a restored or mixed
  • Food preparation areas (foodservice areas are allowed)
  • Areas where personal protective clothing is worn