From the category archives:

Service Dog Laws

Something that could have an impact on Service Dogs

by Sue on October 30, 2014

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While checking our sales on eBay today I noticed some ads at the bottom that presented other products from other sellers. What disturbed me is that some of these sellers were selling ID’s that are wrong. I am speaking of the ones for sale that say “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required”.

This is very very very wrong!

There is no such thing as an Emotional Support Service Dog. There are Emotional Support Animals and there are Service Dogs.

In the ADA rulings it clearly states…
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Effective March 15, 2011, “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

Key changes include the following:
1. Only dogs will be recognized as service animals.
2. Service animals are required to be leashed or harnessed except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the dog’s ability to perform.
3. Service animals are exempt from breed bans as well as size and weight limitations.
4. Though not considered service animals, businesses are generally required to accommodate the use of miniature horses under specific conditions.

Until the effective date, existing service animals of all species will continue to be covered under the ADA regulations.

Existing policies that were clarified or formalized include the following:
1. Dogs whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
2. The use of service dogs for psychiatric and neurological disabilities is explicitly protected under the ADA.
3. “The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence” do not qualify that animal as a service animal and “an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal.”
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Take note of the section about Emotional Support Animals.

Emotional Support Animals are only recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. They do NOT have full access to any other places

There are a couple things that upset me about other sellers selling these “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required” tags.

#1 They are selling items that are misleading and allow people to break the law by taking their ESA into places posted Service Animals only. And because these tags look so official, the public will accept the ID and allow the ESA in.

#2 Because the law states that an ESA does NOT have to have any training, these ESA’s could have a great impact on how the public views Service Dogs in the event that an ESA bites someone or causes any other number of problems.

I have personally approached some of these sellers to try and advise them of the rules. Only one actually stopped selling the “Emotional Support Service Dog” tags. The rest simply did not care and were only interested in the money they were making off the tags.

To me, that is nothing but taking advantage of the misinformed and scamming the public.

Sussie and Service Dog “Gunny”

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How do you handle encounters?

by Sue on May 7, 2014

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It seems that society has put a stereotype on Service Dogs. The public seems to think that if it is not a large dog (Lab, Shepherd, Doodle, etc) it is not a service dog. I have a 16 pound dog that has been my service dog for 7 years. He does his job well and takes it very seriously. While we do not have much of a problem with acceptance here locally, I still, on rare occasions, encounter problems with acceptance of him just due to his size.

I approach the situation with a positive, friendly attitude. Which usually defrays any front put up by a store manage or owner. Though there have been a few times I have had to get firm and stand my ground.

Do you have a service dog that is small or an unusual breed? Have you encountered problems simply based on the dog’s breed alone? How do you handle it?

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Service Dogs

by Spot on March 6, 2014

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service dog infographic

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Disabled Houston veteran booted from restaurant over service dog

by Sue on March 6, 2014

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Published February 27, 2014 FoxNews.com

A disabled U.S. veteran says he was booted from a Thai restaurant in Houston because his service dog was not allowed to join him in the establishment.

Aryeh Ohayon, who served in the Army and Navy for a combined 23 years and suffers PTSD, said his service dog Bandit helps when he has flashbacks or becomes depressed, the KHOU 11 reported. But he claims that the restaurant would not allow him to stay with the dog.

The report points out that Texas passed a law that protects veterans with service dogs from being refused entry into public places. Ohayon says he was told the restaurant is considered a private entity and does not have to abide by the law.

Thai Spice Buffett II, the restaurant, said it is looking into the incident, the station reported. The manager told the station that he believes the entire incident was a misunderstanding.

Ohayon said he was also bothered by a police officer who responded to the call. The officer asked why he needed to have the dog in the first place since he isn’t blind. Police, however, say Ohayon denied any disabilities during the conversation.

“It feels like your service and experience that you’ve done to defend and uphold the Constitution and protect this country have been belittled,” Ohayon said.

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The Cop was totally out of line. And the Thai place IS open to the public. Therefore the “private” statement does not fly.

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Couple booted from bar after dispute over service dog

by Sue on December 13, 2013

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PANAMA CITY BEACH — A woman and her husband were booted from a Halloween party after a dispute with the management over whether her service dog could be inside, according to a police report.

Bennie and Mary Gray were attending a Halloween costume party at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge at Pier Park. Police were called there about 9 p.m., according to the report, after a bouncer told the couple they weren’t allowed to have the dog inside the bar. Bennie Gray, 56, explained to the bouncer it was a service dog, and the bouncer asked to see the dog’s papers.

Bennie Gray told the bouncer the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow such paperwork to be requested, and the bouncer told them to leave, according to the report.

The manager of Tootsie’s, Melissia Pennington, intervened at some point during the dispute, according to the report. She told officers she spoke to the Grays and told them the dog could stay. But she also alleged Bennie Gray became very aggressive toward her during the dispute, and she ultimately decided to tell the couple to leave.

In a brief phone interview, Bennie Gray said his wife has multiple sclerosis and that her service dog, which she has had for eight years, alerts her to oncoming seizures. Mary Gray, 36, spent days making a Halloween costume for the dog, he said. They also were celebrating Bennie Gray’s birthday at the party.

“She cried all night long,” Bennie Gray said this week. “They ruined her night.”

Bennie Gray said the dog was wearing service badges during the incident and that he asked a Tootsie’s bouncer to look up ADA on a computer, but the bouncer refused. Bennie Gray said he has reported the incident to the U.S. Department of Justice.

 

Pennington said the Grays were kicked out because they were “unruly and difficult patrons.” She said the couple was getting in the face of security staffers during the dispute.

“The people were not kicked out, obviously, because they have a service dog. We wait on people all the time with service dogs,” she said.

Pennington said a security staffer did try to verify the dog was a service animal, but she wouldn’t say how.

According to the ADA, businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal and what tasks it has been trained to perform. However, businesses may not require special identification for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. If an animal has been trained to assist a person with a disability, the ADS says it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by state or local government.

Violators of the ADA may be required to pay monetary damages and penalties.

Bennie Gray said he and his wife have lived in the Panama City area for 12 years, and that Tootsie’s allowed the service dog inside on previous visits to the bar.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: This situation is the reason I never get in anyone’s face if they deny my Service Dog. I just call the Cops. That way they can never use the excuse that I was being confrontational. Most business do not like to have the Cops show up.

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Pets posing as service dogs make life tough for people who really need animals’ help

by Sue on December 11, 2013

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From the time they’re puppies, service dogs are rigorously trained to help those who need them most. They can get into places where no pets are allowed.

The dogs are identified by the vest they wear. But since it’s not illegal to buy these vets, it’s easy for anyone to go online and obtain a vest for their animal.

Susan Lee Vick, director of Canine Companions for Independence, demonstrated how easy it is to obtain one. “There’s a real faux official quality to this, you know?” she said, showing a photo of a tiny dog wearing a service vest. “This is Bambi; Bambi’s new service dog vest!”

She said it never occurred to advocates for the disabled that the vests would be misused.

“There was never any vision of this outcome, this just sort of explosion of the ‘have a vest, wear a vest, go anywhere you want with your pet,’ no one saw that,” Vick said.

Peter Morgan has a spinal disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to bend. He teaches kids with special needs, with his service dog Echuka constantly at the ready. His disability isn’t very obvious to strangers. Morgan says no one had ever doubted his need for a service dog — until recently.

“The last two years, it’s become very prevalent. The questioning, the looks. It’s been a radical shift,” he said.

And now he sees fake service dogs in places where pets aren’t normally allowed. At a recent dinner out, Morgan said, there was another dog in the restaurant.

“Even to the casual observer you could tell it was not a service dog,” Morgan said. “It had a vest. It was eating off the floor, licking people, lunging at people.”

Then, Morgan said, the dog’s owner pulled him aside.

“And he started saying, ‘It’s really neat that we can bring these dogs in here and get away with it because, you know, my dog’s not a service dog and neither is yours.’ And I just turned to him and I said, ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,’ ” Morgan said.

There’s a growing call to penalize people who try to pass off their pets as service dogs. But few agree on how it should be enforced.

Advocates for the disabled say the problem may just be ignorance.

“They don’t realize the harm that they are doing,” Vick said of the impostors. “Bringing your pet dog out into a public place harms that person with a disability’s right to live a free and independent life.”

Morgan says he’s been kicked out of restaurants when other dogs act up because people suspect his service dog is a fake.

“The people that are actually doing this should really take a long deep breath and think about how they’re affecting less abled people than themselves,” he said.

That, he said, would provide the most valuable service.

 

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: How can they enforce it? For the ADA/DOJ to allow companies like ourselves to ask for a Doctor’s note before we sell them a product. Until that happens, our hands are tied.

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Family sues to get son’s service dog in school

by Sue on October 24, 2013

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There is a video with this one so I am posting the link here.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Family-sues-to-get-sons-service-dog-in-school-118057864.html

Sussie and Crew

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Colorado veteran fights service dog’s death sentence

by Sue on February 28, 2013

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Colorado veteran fights service dog’s death sentence

Published February 28, 2013

Associated Press

MONTROSE, Colo. – A Montrose veteran is challenging a judge’s decision to euthanize his service dog for repeatedly biting a woman.
The Montrose Daily Press reported Wednesday that Jeremiah Aguilar has filed an appeal.

He was ordered to turn the dog, Dutch, over to animal control officials on Feb. 14 but never did. Aguilar maintains that his dog was provoked but the woman denies that.

She says she broke up a fight between Dutch and her dog and that Dutch attacked her once she took him home to clean him up. She raised Dutch before giving him to Aguilar.

Aguilar has been ordered to appear in court in April to show why he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for not turning the dog over.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/28/colorado-veteran-fights-service-dog-death-sentence/#ixzz2MDUPh8US

Note from Sussie: I only have one thing to say about this. If you are stupid enough to put your hand in a dog fight, you deserve to get bit!

Sussie and the Friendly Five.
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy, Squeaky, Trina and Hildee.

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Access to Public Places for Service and Assistance Dogs under the ADA

by Sue on September 5, 2012

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This is an EXCELLENT video that I think everyone should watch. However it does need to be updated a bit (being created in 2010) because as of March 15, 2011 only dogs and miniature horses can be Service Animals.

Sussie, Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky.

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WaWa Inc. to Pay $12,500 in Service-Dog Case

by Sue on August 22, 2012

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WaWa Inc. has paid Patrick Stark, a New Jersey glassworks artist, $12,500 to settle a claim that Stark was wrongfully turned away when he entered the convenience store with his service dog.

Stark, 33, said he went into a Millville, N.J., WaWa to buy a sandwich on June 13 but was told he had to leave Copenhagen, his Queensland heeler that wears special tags, outside. But the dog is a necessity. Three years ago, Stark, an Army veteran, was mugged and has experienced occasional seizures ever since. Copenhagen helps him get around.

Stark claimed he explained that the dog was legally permitted to remain, but a store manager told him to leave. This was the fifth time since April 2011 that Stark said he’d a problem getting served at WaWa. After each incident, he said he’d written a letter to corporate headquarters, but heard nothing.

Stark subsequently filed a complaint with the New Jersey State Attorney General’s office Division on Civil Rights.

WaWa has agreed, in addition to the $12,500 payment, to post signs in its New Jersey stores advising customers that service dogs were welcome. It has also agreed to train its New Jersey employees about laws pertaining to service animals, as well as the company policy welcoming them.

The convenience store chain has also agreed to “seriously consider” making a charitable contribution to an organization devoted to providing service animals to individuals with disabilities, according to the complaint filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

” Since the incident we have been revisiting associate training and understanding around service animals in all of our stores throughout our five state area and we will continue to make this a priority,” said a WaWa spokesperson. “We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure everyone in all of the communities we serve feels welcomed, respected and included.”

The convenience store chain did not admit any wrongdoing in the Stark case.

“This is an important resolution of this matter,” said Division Director Craig T. Sashihara in a statement. “The allegations in this case were troubling. However, we credit WaWa for its responsiveness, and for being ready to educate store employees about the rights of people who employ service animals.”

Note from me:

This individual actually contacted me right after this incident. I told him what they did was illegal. I am glad he won. The only disturbing thing I find is that the company still admits they did nothing wrong. What is the point of suing someone if they are not going to learn from their mistakes?

Sussie and the Friendly Foursome
Gunny, Rainy, Lucy and Squeaky

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