Culture Dish

NEWSFLASH: In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, I reported that the Department of Justice had proposed a ban on guide miniature horses, service monkeys, and other non-canine assistance animals (brief overview of the story and legal issues here, several follow up posts here). In my story, I mentioned that no one knew whether the DOJ had removed the species ban from their proposal after the public hearings this summer.

I just got a leaked version of the latest DOJ regulations, and the agency has in fact made the species ban more restrictive. The DOJ’s initial proposal would have allowed cats and other commonly domesticated animals (perhaps including parrots like the one I reported on in my story who helps a man with his bipolar disorder by talking him down from psychotic episodes). But the current version (which the DOJ approved on 12/3 and is now pending final approval by the OMB), restricts assistance animals to only dogs. The DOJ’s new proposed service animal definition is:

“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, cannot be service animals.”

It does include a special provision for miniature horses (but no other species) saying business must make:

“reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability, if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the public accommodation’s goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.”

But in the end, it says, “The miniature horse is not included in the definition of service animal, which is limited to dogs.” This strips their users of all legal rights associated with service animal use. It’s unclear whether this means users who live in areas that don’t allow livestock within city limits (which = most of them), will have to give up their guide horses because they’re no longer considered service animals. The big question now is whether there will be another revision, or whether this regulation will be approved before January 20th, when Obama takes office.

Many readers have asked who they can contact to speak out about this regulation, since the final proposal is still awaiting approval. Those interested can contact their government representatives and state senators. Also the Department of Justice here [update: apparently the DOJ isn't taking comments or documenting calls about this] and the OMB here. (Update for those who’ve asked: The relevant way to reference this issue is by saying you’re contacting them about the DOJ’s pending ADA regulations that would ban the use of any species other than dogs as service animals. The exact regulation in question is “Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.”

Update: The leaked document says “For further information contact Janet L. Blizard, Deputy Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, at (202) 307-0663.” [See above: the DOJ is not taking calls on this issue]

[Update: For those interested, I've posted the full details of the DOJ's decision and rationale here.]

Further update: The Obama administration has pulled these proposed DOJ changes. Information here. This means the case is no longer closed, so you can once again contact the DOJ about it

Comments

  1. #1 Holly
    January 6, 2009

    Although my personal preference would be for a dog, this breaks my heart as I know that those who have other species must rely on them.

  2. #2 dean
    January 6, 2009

    I missed the first post: what is the asserted reason for anything thinking this is a reasonable idea (I realize it isn’t)

  3. #3 Laura
    January 6, 2009

    What is the actual name/number of the legislation that will potentially be passed, please? That way we can reference it when we email our representatives.

    Thanks!

  4. #4 Rebecca Skloot
    January 6, 2009

    Good question: The relevant law is “28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities” (search for “service animal”)

    My NY Times Magazine story that covers the whole issue is here. Blog update number 1 is here. Update number 2 is here. And update 3 is here.

  5. #5 Ward S. Denker
    January 6, 2009

    Wow, talk about missing the point of service animals. They aren’t pets. Some animals are going to be better adapted to different tasks and may make a better service companion.

    Are these rules favored by PETA? Perhaps that’s where this push is coming from. A lot of people don’t know that PETA isn’t merely against eating meat, wearing fur, or simple champions for the cause of better treatment of livestock. PETA does not want people to keep pets either, of any type.

    I’m guessing that service animals probably bother them as much, or maybe even more, than keeping animals as pets do. Is this, perhaps, where this might be coming from?

  6. #6 Penny
    January 6, 2009

    Dear Rebecca,

    Is there a point of reference to give to our representative?

    Looking at the page you sent above. I located an area that stated In Part 36 “Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling awheelchair, or fetching dropped items.

    You stated above: let them know about the issue. (Update: For reference, the relevant law is”28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.” It’s listed under “service animals”)

  7. #7 Rebecca Skloot
    January 6, 2009

    They’re proposing a new regulation that would change the definition you quote there so that it specifies that only dogs are allowed as service animals. You can say you’re writing in reference to the DOJ’s proposed ADA regulations that would ban the use of any species other than dogs as service animals. The exact regulation in question is “Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.”

  8. #8 Lorre Leon Mendelson
    January 6, 2009

    I loved your article on service animals and everyone across the country has been reading it. If this story is true that service animals will be limited to dogs, this is most unfortunate. As the owner of a service dog who assists me with psychiatric symptoms, I think this reduces the rights of certain disability groups to use service animals. I am very interested in learning what recourse we, as a community will have. Thank you for your work. Sincerely, Lorre

  9. #9 mayhempix
    January 7, 2009

    I called and all they do is refer you to a “specialist” who informs you that the period for public input has passed, that it is not yet law so it could change. They also will not be keeping a record of people who call in to disagree.

  10. #10 Rebecca Skloot
    January 7, 2009

    Thanks for letting me know mayhempix. I’ve updated the post above accordingly.

  11. #11 Frasque
    January 7, 2009

    Damn, that’s really sad. When I first read about mini horses as service animals, it sounded wacky, but their longevity and other traits actually make great good sense. It’s understandable (even if I don’t entirely agree) that policymakers might balk at exotics like parrots and monkeys, but horses have been domesticated for so long, I can’t see why they’d be any less desirable than dogs. In fact, it’s hard to see why mini horses would be defined as “livestock”, since they’re pretty much useless except as living curiosities or service animals.

  12. #12 Cynthia Clark
    January 7, 2009

    I agree with Penny. There are many more species suited for service than just dogs. Who authored this change and why? Service animals are specially trained for their tasks and have provided much self esteem and indepencence for those of us who use them. The animals are not mistreated- most are accepted as valued family members.

  13. #13 gordon
    January 7, 2009

    I am not sure it is correct to single out mini horses (though I would still recommend a dog over a horse as the husband of a blind woman who uses a dog and runs a horse breeding operation. Butut thats up to the user not me nor should it be up to the Government).

    Like most new rules and laws it is to curtail abuse by non-disabled people. Currently the law reads any animal for any reason. It does not allow public places to ask for ID or certification. Abuse is rapant. People are bringing pets into places and claiming they are service animals. The result is that my wife gets the 3rd degree every time we walk into a place because people think she is faking it.

  14. #14 porco dio
    January 7, 2009

    why the big cheshire-cat smile?

    use a more becoming pic for a science writer!

  15. #15 ck
    January 7, 2009

    Porco, what could you possibly mean by that statement?

    On Ward’s comment – is there any evidence that PETA is against service animals (and pets)? I hadn’t heard either of those claims before, which doesn’t mean they’re false.

  16. #16 Bert Shipp
    January 7, 2009

    This is, indeed, unfortunate. As the grateful partner of a service dog who has renewed my life and given me back my independence, I know what the impact of having a service animal is. I firmly believe that no government agency should presume to dictate the type of animal which can mitigage one’s disability. For example, there is a huge dfference between breeds (i.e. a chihuahua and a lab)and which tasks they might physically be able to perform. The longevity of a miniature horse makes it a perfect candidate for service under certain circumstances. I would NEVER presume to deny the independence that having a service animal affords simply because it doesn’t meet the definition of a “dog.” It seems to me that we’re losing sight of what the real emphasis should be, to help achieve greater independence for those with disabilities. Together with the tasks it performs, the stability and companionship these special animals provide is invaluable. The deep connection that exists between a service animal and its’ partner is unique and remarkable. We must consider that it is this kind of bond we must seek to preserve. It isn’t always easy to accept differences, but, in this case, we must allow for more than one type of “service animal.”

  17. #17 Brian X
    January 7, 2009

    It sounds like a mixture of spite and pointless bureaucracy. Then again, that’s what you get for spreading policies like this across departments with conflicting interests — cf also FDA vs DEA. I would imagine whoever came up with this policy is the sort of patronage appointment who thinks Michael Brown at FEMA got a raw deal from the press…

    ck:

    No shit. Why is it any of porco’s business what picture Rebecca puts up? I seem to recall only twice that this point has been on topic, and both times it was because the blogger (in one case Shelley Batts, in the other Sheril Kirshenbaum) were bringing it up as a topic for one reason or another. Porco, who cares?

  18. #18 Selene
    January 7, 2009

    So, I understand that it won’t do me any good to contact the DOJ, but I want to do something about this if I can. I am asking these questions because I’ve never done anything like this before: Claire McCaskill is one of my senators and I want to know if you think it would do me any good to call her, and how I would go about that/what I should say. Thank You.

  19. #19 Karyn
    January 7, 2009

    As an individual with multiple disabilities, I was quite taken aback by the leaked version of the revised version of what species are acceptable as service animals. Though both my service animals have been dogs, my heart really goes out to Ann Edie and other individuals using guide horses who are about to have their legal rights stripped, not to mention the place *Helping-Hands* will find themselves in trying to service quadriplegics in their home environments.
    Though I felt there was a need to be more restrictive in their definition of what species applied to the rulings, I feel they went way overboard here and the result may make life harder for disabled individuals in the longrun.
    I strongly doubt that this was the intention of the original founders of the ADA.

  20. #20 DeafScientist
    January 7, 2009

    I was going to post in your earlier thread, that just as some people have so-called “hearing dogs” (working for deaf people), my kitten took up being a hearing cat for me. I guess she wouldn’t be considered a “service animal” in the USA now? In this particular case, she started out as a pet, so it’s a different situation, but the point remains that other species are viable service animals.

  21. #21 Metro
    January 7, 2009

    *Sigh*
    And after all that time I spent training those alligators …

    This really is kick-em-in-the-balls-and-run spite. It must be.

  22. #22 Noni Mausa
    January 7, 2009

    Who is sponsoring this? Is there a specific legislator or functionary whose baby this is?

  23. #23 Alan Kellogg
    January 7, 2009

    Rebecca,

    The DOJ doesn’t want to hear from me on this subject, the DOJ can damn well stop being stupid. We have the right to petition our government for the redress of grievances. Some government twerp don’t like it, that government twerp can go play sex games with humpbacks.

  24. #24 PG
    January 7, 2009

    By way of explanation, pretty much all federal regulations have to go through hearings and a comment period, but the public comment period for these proposed regulations ended on August 18, 2008, so we kinda missed the boat at the best time to raise a stink.

    Regarding Gordon’s comment, it seems a much better revision to the law would to require users of service animals who bring them into public places to carry certification that the animal is indeed a service animal and not just a pet. One of the people testifying at last summer’s hearings, a hotel owner, said, “And regarding the service animals, we are happy to take service animals, but we must see proof that they are certified so we can accept the service animals, and reasonable service animals. Things of that nature.”

    Is carrying certification of the animal that difficult? It seems like something that could just be kept in a wallet.

  25. #25 komponisto
    January 8, 2009

    Those interested can contact their government representatives and state senators.

    I think you meant to say “U.S. senators”, as this is a federal matter (and your link is to the U.S. Senate).

    (Though it might also be worth investigating service animal regulations on the state level.)

  26. #26 phantomreader42
    January 8, 2009

    PG:

    By way of explanation, pretty much all federal regulations have to go through hearings and a comment period, but the public comment period for these proposed regulations ended on August 18, 2008, so we kinda missed the boat at the best time to raise a stink.

    Hey, it’s not our fault the plans were in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign reading “beware of the leopard”!

    Hitchhiker’s Guide references aside, how much of this was made public for comment during the legally mandated public comment period? Did they actually make sure the public knew about it in time to comment on it, or just sweep it under the rug?

  27. #27 Ward S. Denker
    January 8, 2009

    CK, hit up Google: PETA “Pet Ownership”

    There’s quite a lot out there on the topic.

    They’ll quaver over what that means, exactly. The scoop is that they envision a world where there are no pets – they believe that pet ownership is “exploitation” of animals.

    PETA members will say that they don’t think people should be kicking their pets to the curb, but they don’t want anyone getting new pets either. They want all animals to be returned to the wild. Service animals are almost surely considered to be “exploited” under such a broad definition of exploitation.

    Needless to say, I would not be surprised if they would work to use the force of law to limit service animals in this way, under the guise of “health reasons.” PETA operates everywhere. There are surely business owners that are members. Combine them with those that merely don’t like animals and don’t like to see them around and there are probably enough to make this kind of case to the DOJ.

    I don’t have any particular axe to grind against PETA either. They have a right to say and believe what they like, but they certainly should not try to misrepresent themselves. Some of their top brass are hardliners (there are numerous quotes from them) about ending pet ownership. Most people donate money to them not knowing what they really stand for. They seem to have calmed their ranks somewhat by telling them that they mean “eventually” when they adopt this stance, but they have to be aware that most of their funding comes from people who love animals and keep them as pets.

  28. #28 Frasque
    January 8, 2009

    PETA also thinks that renaming lobsters “kittens” will make people not want to eat them. Hey, maybe we should just rename horses and monkeys “dogs”.

  29. #29 Ward S. Denker
    January 8, 2009

    Frasque, I wasn’t sure if you were kidding. They’ve been advocates of some pretty bizarre ideas in the past, but this one is really weird. It seemed like it was past even PETA.

    Turns out, I was wrong.

  30. #30 Helen
    January 8, 2009

    The DoJ held received public comments for several weeks last August. I read over a thousand individual service animal comments myself. Fewer than sixty of those comments addressed the issue of species.

    Where were all of you then? When your comments could have counted?

  31. #31 letRVoiceBHeard
    January 8, 2009

    Hmmm! This is quite interesting I must have missed the boat here. As due to the fact that the ADA Amendment Act proposal had a public comment as the last poster stated in August. (which I commented as so many others did). The subject of service animals have came up time and time again. Then on Sept 25, 2008, the President signed into law ADA Amendment Act 2008 (S. 3406) . http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080925-8.html .

    Which my understanding from the disability info. gov. that farm and exotic animals were excluded from being a service animal. The issue is are mini’s a farm animal or actually a domestic animal. This again from my understanding is due to the fact of people claiming snakes and rodents, etc. were their service animal to comfort them. Which in that fact wouldn’t qualify them as being a service animal in the first place as they were not trained to do specific tasks. While the provision for psychiatric service animals were included to make it much clearer in the courts.

    Also my understanding is that the ADA Amendment Act is effective as of January 1, 2009. http://www.eeoc.gov/ada/amendments_notice.html So I cannot figure out that the DOJ could change the domestic animals only to dogs when it was Signed Already. Apparently the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing there.

    So where was everybody in Aug 2008!! It was public knowledge about this ADA Amendment Act that was called ADA Restoration Proposal first. From schools, trainers, handlers and organizations. On their blogs, newsletters even access board about this proposal and about requesting comments from the public.

    And just to add I do have a Service Dog though I could see other types of species to a point but there has been so much misunderstanding of what could be a service animal and yet be reasonable accommodations while not alter public accommodations or cause a major (not minor) issues. (ie a snake in store would cause major panic from the general public). This would be totally different from one or two people being afraid of an animal.

  32. #32 Dani Moore
    January 8, 2009

    I also only learned about this within the last few days and I am appalled and disgusted that we are going to pass a law based on discrimination and ignorance! I have had Service Rats for the past 8 1/2 years. I have spinal nerve injuries, severe osteoporosis, diabetes and fibromyalgia. I suffer from severe spasms in my neck and shoulders that, if left untreated can actually fracture my weakened vertebra! My Service Rats lay quietly on my shoulders and alert me to the spasms when they are just barely starting and can be much more easily dealt with. Since I don’t have normal sensation, I don’t feel them until they are already pretty severe and much harder to treat. These are Velveteen Dumbo rats, that are specially bred, and trained for this work. They look more like a stuffed animal than a “sewer rat” and are far removed from their wild cousins. They are bathed a minimum of once a week and never tough the ground, or any other public surface where they could pick up germs (unlike a Seeing eye dog). They are so quiet and mellow that I am often asked if they are alive. I have only had one business ever stop me from bringing them with me after I explained what they are and what they do. Business owners and the public can see for themselves that they are clean, quiet and non-threatening in every way. They do not carry diseases and are more likely to “catch” something from being around people than people are from being around them. I can’t believe that the general public’s ignorance about domestic rats (who have been domesticated pets since the 1800’s) and lack of knowledge about their skills, is costing me my freedom to leave my home for more than a quick trip to one store and fast back home because I never know when my spasms may hit! Rats are being used in Africa and South america to detect land mines for disposal, in Africa to detect tuberculosis! They are even being tried as drug sniffing animals! their noses are almost as sensitive as a dogs, and they actually learn their tasks faster than a dog! They bond to their human partners just like a dog would.
    I have written all my public officials and would ask others to do the same!

  33. #33 Helen
    January 8, 2009

    Even in the original definition of a service animal, a service animal is an animal that is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” An animal that lies still for any reason (to keep someone warm, to detect muscle spasms, etc.) is not performing a task, nor is it a trained behavior. Ergo, it does not qualify the animal as a service animal under the ADA, no matter how disabled the person or how bad his or her suffering.

  34. #34 PaulaO
    January 8, 2009

    As for certification: the problem of that is that so many service animals are owner trained, not gotten from an agency. How would the certification be regulated? Who would be trained to be a certify-er? Who would pay for that piece of paper just so the “real” service animals are recognized?

    Yes, a piece of paper to flash around would make things easier but would it keep the fakers away or would it keep the legitimate away? The ADA has been around for nearly 19yrs and businesses still don’t get it. How would they ever learn a legitimate certificate from one I print off my printer? Or an I.D. card I make and laminate?

  35. #35 Melissa Mitchell
    January 8, 2009

    I would like to thank Paulo for his comments on certification. I was one of the comments during the comment period. I supported and still do support many of the changes ion the definition of a service animal;however, I was surprised to see the dog only suggestion. I believe we as potential partners need to consider the impact of the work on the animals. Dogs have been breed for thousands of years to live and work with humans. That said fewer than half of all dogs who begin training make it to become full fledged service dogs. The work is very demanding and for those dogs who are cut out to do it you couldn’t ask for a better life. When think about whether other animals can be trained my answer is usually yes, they could… but it is fair to the animal? Could I as their partner keep them safe? Would I be creating more problems for myself than the animal would mitigate? Can I really expect business owners to believe this animal is task trained?
    I did an Internet search and couldn’t find anything on countries beside the U.S. that allow for non-dog service animals. Could it be that at least for public access and travel sake the DOJ is trying to come in line with the rest of the world?

  36. #36 Kat
    January 9, 2009

    Helping hands monkeys are home service animals they do not go with their handler into public places. The problem is there are people bring their pet monkeys out and claiming they are SA when they could be carring deadly diseases. Monkeys are wild animals. Before they can be placed all their canine teeth must be pulled so when they bite they can’t hurt anyone. Foster families I have met have reported the monkeys do bite from time to time. Therefore they are not safe or suited for public access.

    Do your rats wear diapers? When I had pet rats (dumbos, standards, hairless, u name it) accidents were common. I’m guessing velveteen is just a fancy name for a rex dumbo. Still the argument can be made that they were not trained to do anything but sit there whereas when a dog starts to alert they are trained how to respond. The life span on rats is also impractical as it would take a while to train them since a service animal must be individually trained to fit the previous definition. How do they learn to alert you? A dog might be so much more helpful and longer lived. If you could find a dog that could alert, it could also be trained to pick up things, help you getting dressed, getting medication to stop a spasm, helping you down, etc. dogs also don’t spead disease and can’t catch anything from humands and there is very little transmitted from dog to human (I’m not saying that pet rats do either). Here’s my last question how would you feel if someones service cat ate your service rat? or even their service hawk. You wouldn’t believe what ppl are bringing into public including reptiles. I do believe rodents were already banned from flying in the cabin.

    The rats that are used in africa and south america are not rattus norvegicus which are what pet rats including dumbos are. They are Cricetomys gambianus called Gambian Pouched Rats AKA African Giant Pouched Rat. They are not true rats. They have a longer life span than domestic rats, are a lot larger, and cost less to raise and train to sniff for mines than dogs and if the mine should happen to go off there is less financial loss. The rats are considered more disposable than dogs since dogs can easily set the mines off.

  37. #37 Patty
    January 9, 2009

    I have a miniature horse as a service (assistance) animal. My horse Earl will live many more years than a dog. I will not have to replace him in 8 years (give or take a year or two). My service dog could never assist me on the hills in Vermont. My service horse has the strength and stamina to do the work that no dog could do for me.

    I gave up my apartment, to keep my service animal of choice. No matter what the government says, Earl will continue to be my service animal. I know my needs, the government does not.

    To be fair, Earl does not go out to eat or in public stores. I do not eat out either though so find that this is not a problem for me. I rarely shop and would not need him to help for that. Persons using service animals, do not have the same needs, or live in the same situations. A dog would not suit my needs. After years of having dogs I will never own one again. The life span is too short and the grief when they pass on is too large, for me to ever face again.

    Service animals are not pets and the bond is deep. Let those who need service animals, or other accommodations, decide for themselves what they need.

  38. #38 Chris Spencer
    January 15, 2009

    Hi all,

    I have done some more digging, and with a little help from a very dear friend and president of a service dog training organization, I have found out the true “force” behind the dogs only decision.

    For the past 15 years, Assistance Dogs, Inc. (ADI) has been lobbying the DOJ to limit service animals to DOGS ONLY. Apparently, due to the abuses of the ADA Laws and DOJ Rules by people pawning off their pets as service animals, they decided to listen to ADI.

    The problem is that DOJ does not have this right under Congressional Mandate within the current Law. They must realize this, which is why they have not yet released the “new” rules.

    My wife and I visited a staff person for one of our senators, William Nelson (D-FL) yesterday. First we were greeted with HUGE smiles for Confetti, and then the staffer told us she was familiar with Confetti, has seen all of the stories published and broadcast about her. All the time we were meeting with her people were coming to the door to see this little horse. They were thrilled to see her in person.

    When we got down to the reason for our visit, she was SHOCKED by what we told her regarding the DOJ. She had no idea this was going on, and she was certain the Senator didn’t either. I took in a packet of information, including the CURRENT DOJ Rules, the current FAA Rules, the PROPOSED changes to the definition of service animals, and a copy of the DVD I created and sent to the DOJ as comment to the proposed changes. I also advised her about ADI and what they were trying to do. While she couldn’t comment for the Senator, she was obviously appalled at this news.

    She is sending this package overnight to D.C. That was how important SHE felt this issue is. I strongly recommend that everyone who has a non-traditional service animal, and any other users of service animals contact their Senators and Congressmen and advise them what is going on at the DOJ – I am quite sure most of them have no idea. The important thing to stress is that although dogs are well suited for MOST services to the disabled, there are people – MANY PEOPLE – who can’t or won’t use dogs. Dogs are not well suited for assisting quadriplegics, for instance.

    The bottom line is this: disabled people have the right to choose what form of assistance they need and want. Blind people have 3 real, viable choices that I know of. The traditional and widely used white cane, also widely used guide dog, and since 1999, the guide horse.

    The guide horse is an excellent alternative to the guide dog in many ways, but there are differences in the anatomy, the personality and the thought processes. My wife considers these differences negligible, with one exception, the life span. There are reasons other people might choose a horse over a dog – allergies and religion are the two I am most familiar with, but there is one other – and that is personal PREFERENCE.

    The disabled have the RIGHT to decide what, if any, service animal they want to use, Businesses and organizations have RESPONSIBILITIES under the ADA, people with disabilities have RIGHTS and PROTECTIONS under the ADA. Businesses and organizations provide goods and services to the disabled consumer, and have a right to decide which goods and services they want to provide to disabled consumers, but they do not have the right to force a MONOPOLY on such goods and services.

    So, folks… lets contact our legislatures, federal AND state. Let them know what is going on. Voice your objections. The disabled are strong of will and full of fight. Get out there and FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ADA.

    Chris

  39. #39 Deb Thompson
    January 25, 2009

    Does anyone have any idea what it would cost to replace a service animal with human assistance? Hundreds of thousands of dollars! For quadriplegics, monkeys have been a boon to them having the intelligence and opposable thumbs to perform functions for the paralyzed, that only a human could do. Only a monkey, and perhaps parrots to a degree could perform such functions! Who could afford to hire human help on a full time basis to go everywhere with you, travel with you and be there 24/7. It would not be financially feasible. How sad, that the disabled are going to be limited further in society by taking away means that would allow them to function physically and psychologically in a world where they are at odds. Only people who are NOT disabled could be this diabolical to be so inconsiderate of the varied needs of the disabled.

  40. #40 Carol
    January 25, 2009

    What they fail to realize is there ARE jobs that, unfortunately, certain animals are better at than others – esp monkeys and talking birds.as Deb says – ONLY those who have never been affected OR had serious contact with a service animal could come up with such idiot ideas.

  41. #41 letRVoiceBHeard
    February 4, 2009

    From what I just read (Jan. 21, 2009) DOJ withdrawn its draft final rules to amend Title II and III. This action like many is in response to the memorandum from President Obama’s Chief of Staff. So they could review all proposed bills.

    This withdraw will not affect the existing ADA regulations.

    So yes now is a really good time to voice your opinion but please let’s stay to the point so our voices are heard.

    Here’s the offical link.

    http://www.ada.gov/ADAregswithdraw09.htm

  42. #42 anne
    May 29, 2009

    I have a question. I work at a wonderful mental health clinic- where we have folks from all walks of life. Several folks have a prescription from a doc (could be a psychiatrist) to have a companion animal.

    Is this considered a service animal?

    I don’t believe they are trained more than pets, yet they do provide a service of calming someone…

    Thanks for any input

  43. #43 Lesley Nish
    July 1, 2009

    I have been raising guide dogs for almost 10 years now. I absolutely believe that there are different animals that serve individual needs. My issue is with the people who bring in their pet dogs (or whatever) or people who claim that it’s a companion animal and then do not control these animals when they’re in public buildings.

    I hear so many stories from business owners or managers who tell me stories of these dogs running loose, destroying property, jumping on people, barking & causing a nusance while in their businesses. There was a woman who went into a restaurant with her dog in a scooter basket and while the woman is filling her plate, the dog is sniffing around in the salad bar. Another story of a person who set their dog down on the conveyer belt of the grocery check out and it started eating the ground beef from the next patron’s groceries.
    Its also distracting when I’m trying to train a guide dog and there’s another dog barking at it.

    I believe that there should be a requirement of all service animals to be trained & certified and that the disabled person should have to carry a card identifying the service animal as such. It would make it much easier on the business owners or managers if they could then just ask to see a card. It would eliminate the fear of a lawsuit stemming from asking too many questions to try and figure out if its a legitimate service animal. This would also eliminate all the phonies who give service animals a bad reputation.

    There’s a debate about whether companion animals are service animals. There may be cases where someone really needs the animal in public, but they should also have to be trained & certified if its determined that they are.

    Nowadays, someone just has to have their doctor write a note & then they think they can take their pet dog wherever they want. Those are the people who get the most obnoxious when you ask if its a service animal.

    Service animals give a huge contribution to the disabled community of this country. Non-disabled people should not be taking advantage of the ADA laws for their own selfish reasons.

  44. #44 online pet shop
    July 8, 2009

    My pets are my children
    As pet lovers, I’ve been through my trials and tribulations trying to locate the best online pet resource and, believe me, it’s not been an easy task! After several years of trying site after site now i find that one special place which offered just the
    right balance of information, resources, products, and, plain old ‘fun’, I finally decided that we I just
    have to create it myselves.
    Where quality is king but price reigns supreme

  45. #45 Pami
    July 20, 2009

    Hi, I have a service dog and I think only these two other breeds should be able to be out in public as a service animal. Guide Horse and PotBell Pigs. Why I think this what if someone is allergy to dogs, then they can’t have a service animal to help them in their day to day life. But Guide Horse and potbell pigs would have to wear a vests or cape on them to be out in public, because they are not a service dog, if they don’t wear it then they can be ask to leave a place.

    What do people think of this!

  46. #46 Service Animals
    November 23, 2009

    This service animal law is still pending.

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