From the category archives:

Service Dog Laws

Size does not matter!

by Sue on August 10, 2016

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

I may open up a can of worms here but I wanted to bring up a problem that is becoming more and more common. Small dogs that are growly, nippy or just flat out bite and are still being used as service dogs. This is causing a problem for people that have well behaved small service dogs.

A LOT of people do not take my service dog seriously because of his size. They think I am trying to fake a service dog because he is not a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Labradoodle, or any of the other breeds that are usually thought of as the breeds used for Service Dogs. They stereotype him as one of those snarky little dogs they see. I usually don’t say anything, I just let people think that. Then, after they watch him work, they are usually amazed. Many stating “That is the most well behaved dachshund I have ever seen” or “I didn’t know they used dachshunds as service dogs” or “I didn’t think small dogs could be service dogs” That last remark is usually replied to by a small chuckle and my “Try telling HIM he’s small” while he sits or stands with this nonchalant look on his face. Actions speak louder than words.

Gunny is a very seasoned dog. In the equine world he would be called bomb proof. But then Gunny was my Narcotics detection dog before he became my service dog. He no longer does drug searches since the legalization of marijuana in the state of Oregon. Unfortunately he is subjected to that smell on a regular basis while we are “out and about” now. I had to keep telling him to “break” when he smelled it. To him “break” means leave it and move on. Now he just ignores the scent. Shame too. He was good at that. He still detects meth though.

But I’m getting off track again.

Small dogs tend to work harder at what they do or are trained to do. I think it’s because of the fact that they are small and feel the need to prove themselves. But, like with any breed of dog, not every small dog is cut out for the work of a service dog. All dogs, regardless of size, are individuals just like you or I are. Some people are leaders, some are followers, some are timid, some are easy going. It’s the same with dogs. The perfect candidate for a service dog is a dog that can: make choices in tight situations, remain calm, have been heavily socialized (but not overly friendly. In other words, you want the dog to accept people and allow people to touch them but not be an overly friendly dog), be very devoted to their owner, be house broken and, above all, show NO aggressive tendencies what so ever. If your small dog does not fit as a service dog, do not use the dog as one.

I have heard from customers “Well my dog is small so of course he/she is going to snarl or snap when they feel threatened or someone comes near me. But that is OK, they are still a service dog” Actually no. That is wrong. The ADA states that a service dog must be well behaved in public. If a service dog shows any aggressive tendencies then they can be asked to leave. The only time this can be overlooked is if the dog was provoked. And this does not mean simply reaching out to touch the dog or similar. This means pushing the dog to a breaking point. But that rarely happens as usually a well trained service dog will just try to get away rather that become aggressive if he or she feels threatened.

Size does not matter. Big dogs or little dogs. They are all dogs. They think like dogs and can all be trained the same no matter what the size. A dog’s size is no excuse for making excuses for poor training.

{ 0 comments }

Flight attendant forced to apologize to veteran with service dog

by Sue on January 2, 2015

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

Sent to me by one of our customers. Thanks!

It was yet another case of someone not understanding what a service dog looks like. This time it happened to Eric Calley, a former Marine who served in Iraq, when he was traveling with his service dog, Sun, a Doberman Pincher. The pair were on a U.S. Airways flight from Florida to Detroit.

According to the Lansing State Journal, one of the flight attendants yelled at Calley because Sun had put her front paws on an empty seat next to him during some turbulence. Calley suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Witnesses on the flight noted that the attendant was so rude to Calley that a number of other passengers came to his defense.

Calley, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and now spends his time working as an advocate for veterans with PTSD, has Sun by his side all of the time. She monitors his heart rate, his breathing, and the tension in his muscles. If Sun notices a change, she immediately nuzzles Calley with her nose to calm him. She also jumps in his lap to put warm pressure on his chest.

The problem with PTSD is that people who have it look totally normal. They don’t have a cane, which is associated with someone who is blind, or a wheelchair, which shows a definite disability. Add that to the fact that Sun is a Doberman, not a typical looking service dog.

It used to be that service dogs were either Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, or Labrador Retrievers. Today, a variety of breeds can work as service dogs. Many service dogs are rescues from animal shelters.

A few weeks after the flight, Calley received an apology in the form of a letter from U.S. Airways. The letter says, “It appears our airport personnel didn’t handle the situation with the quality customer care we expect.”

Calley called the apology “insufficient” because he was mistreated by other airline personnel. He is speaking out about this to raise awareness on behalf of veterans and those with service animals. He tells Louise Knott Ahern at the Lansing State Journal, “We are going to continue to have this huge influx of new veterans coming back. And it can take a veteran four to five years after getting out to even attempt to get help. The thing I want U.S. Airways to understand is that this is going to be a growing problem.”

Calley is promoting Liberty’s Legacy — a program helping veterans from Michigan to get service dogs. His goal for the New Year is to bring “as many dogs as possible” to Michigan veterans.

{ 10 comments }

Something that could have an impact on Service Dogs

by Sue on October 30, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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…
—————————————
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.”
—————————————–

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”

{ 8 comments }

How do you handle encounters?

by Sue on May 7, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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?

{ 12 comments }

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Service Dogs

by Spot on March 6, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

service dog infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

{ 12 comments }

Disabled Houston veteran booted from restaurant over service dog

by Sue on March 6, 2014

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 8 comments }

Couple booted from bar after dispute over service dog

by Sue on December 13, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 1 comment }

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

by Sue on December 11, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 18 comments }

Family sues to get son’s service dog in school

by Sue on October 24, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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

{ 1 comment }

Colorado veteran fights service dog’s death sentence

by Sue on February 28, 2013

Listen to this Post. Powered by iSpeech.org

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.

{ 11 comments }