updated March 14, 2020
As a Leep Driver, you may be transporting riders with service animals, drivers on the Leep platform should remember one thing: Always Say Yes. The Texas Laws require you and Leep's Non-Discrimination Policy always to accommodate service animals, even if you have an allergy, religious or cultural objections, or a fear of them.
We know service animals can raise some questions for Leep drivers, but they're essential for many people. Leep drivers like you are in a unique position to help riders with service animals get around effortlessly in their community — thanks for taking this seriously and being there when people need your rides the most.
Service animals are working animals, they are always dogs, and they are not pets. Service animals undergo extensive training to assist individuals with disabilities. They help blind people travel, alert deaf people to sounds, protect persons who are having a seizure, and perform many other tasks to help individuals with disabilities.
Service animals are not required to wear a tag or vest or be registered. Riders with service animals do not need to display any proof that their animal is a service animal. In other words, if a passenger with a dog says it is a service animal, the driver should transport the rider.
Drivers have created Leep to connect Happy Driver and Happy Riders, who love flexibility and freedom, and that's still the case. But even independent contractors have to follow the law. For example, it's Leep policy and the Texas law that you and your riders wear a seatbelt while driving for Leep. Similarly, it's Leep policy and the law that you accommodate service animals.
If a driver refuses a rider with a service animal, the driver could face immediate and permanent deactivation of the Leep Driver Platform, if an investigation into the alleged denial if verified.
Under Texas law, no public accommodation may make demands or ask questions about your service animal's certification or qualifications, except to determine what type of assistance the animal provides. If your disability is not apparent, the establishment may ask whether your animal is a service animal and what work it is trained to do for you.
That said, we don't want you to risk your deactivation by guessing incorrectly. Some passengers use service animals for reasons that aren't obvious, like epilepsy or heart conditions. Not all service animals wear tags, and they come in all shapes and sizes. For these reasons, you should accommodate animals when they're reported to you by riders as being service animals.
If you have a question about the policy or would like to report a rider who you suspect is abusing the system, you should contact Leep Support and the after you've completed the ride.
It's Leep's policy that drivers are permitted to ride with their service animals. However, this may limit the number of passengers you can carry, and some passengers may be uncomfortable or allergic around your service animal and will ask you to cancel their request. It's advised that you call the passenger in advance to notify them of the service animal. If they're unable to ride with your service animal, you must cancel the ride so they can request another driver. Pro-tip: If the request came from nearby, sign out of driver mode for a minute so that you don't receive the passenger's next request.
If the passenger disclosed that the animal is not a service animal, you have control to cancel the ride and let support know — it won't impact your cancel rating.
Although we encourage you to take all animals, emotional support animals aren't covered under ADA Policy, so you're not required to accommodate them.
Trained service animals can ride in vehicles or sit on the floor of the rear seat. You may like to carry a towel or blanket in your vehicle and place these items on the seats to protect them.