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Service Dog Etiquette 12 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, ADI, Delta Society, Dept of Justice, Federal Law, Guidelines, IAADP, PAALS, Service Dogs.

I recently read some  information about service dog etiquette that makes a lot of sense.

Since not everyone knows about service dogs, not everyone knows about service dog etiquette.

First – a service dog is not a pet! A service dog has at least 2 years of intensive socialization and training behind him and is an expert in what he does. Most have been bred from working dog stock and not only thoroughly enjoy, but need to work.

A person who has a service dog has a very well-trained working dog. When you meet them, remember that the dog is working. Don’t interrupt it.

Always speak to the dog’s partner first, and always ask before beginning to interact with the dog.

Don’t pet the dog or make noises at the dog without permission of the dog’s partner.

If the partner says, “No,” then the answer is, “No,” and simply agree with it and go with it. It has nothing to do with you, it has to do with the service dog and his duties.

Never offer food to a service dog! This will distract him from his job. It can even cause injury to the disabled partner.

If you encounter a service dog in training or a puppy in training, ignore it! At this stage of training, they are easily distractible and can have a whole day’s training lost if interfered with.

It is impolite to ask the partner about his disability. If you are intrusive enough to ask such an invasive question, do not be surprised if the partner refuses to discuss it. The partner is not being offensive – he just doesn’t want his privacy invaded any more than you would.

Business Owners

If you are a business person, you may not prevent a person from bringing his service dog in with him. Both Federal and State laws specify that service dogs are to be permitted into any business or location. Even clinics or hospitals.

If you don’t like dogs, or are afraid of them, simply put yourself on the other side of the person from the dog.

If the dog “forgets” his manners and barks or growls at something or someone, you may inquire as to what the problem is. If someone has been teasing, poking or otherwise alarming the dog, they should be reprimanded. On the other hand, some service dogs alert their partners to impending seizures or crashing blood sugars  by barking once or twice, and that may be the source of a bark or two.

You may ask the person to remove their service dog from the premises if the dog’s behavior is disruptive or destructive.

If another customer has a severe allergy to dogs, you might ask the person with the service dog  if you can help them outside or if they can wait outside until the person with the allergy is through. This problem has not been defined by law, however. Balancing the health needs of the allergic against the rights of the disabled with service animals will probably be worked out in courts of law in the future.

If other customers complain about the presence of the service dog, explain that the service dog is medically necessary, and that Federal law AND State law protect the rights of the person to have their service dog with them in public places.

Many disabled people with service dogs carry pamphlets or cards that explain Federal ADA laws about service dogs. Some carry information about the training their dog has gone through and any certifications it has. You might politely ask the disabled person if they have such information with them if another customer is confused and you feel you don’t have enough information yourself to help the situation.

Places To Go For More Information

Delta Society

Assistance Dogs International

International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP)


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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]


IAADP Emergency Call for Action – ADA 9 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Dept of Justice, Dog, Federal Law, IAADP, Service Dogs, Working Dogs.
1 comment so far

I just went to the IAADP website. They need support for their recommended amendments to the changes to the ADA regulations!!

Support The Assistance Dog Community –

Your Comments are Urgently Needed!

The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) represents more than 2000 disabled program graduates and owner-trainers who work with service, hearing and guide dogs to increase their independence. Seven years ago we formed a coalition with Assistance Dogs International, which represents more than 100 non profit assistance dog training programs in the USA. Other members include the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools and Guide Dog Users, Inc. Together we petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a better definition of a Service Animal as soon as the regulations for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) came up for review. All of us were very worried about the future of the assistance dog movement due to widespread misunderstandings about the service animal definition.

The good news is that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has finally proposed a new definition of a Service Animal, in an attempt to correct the problems with the old definition. Before finalizing the new Definition, its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on the ADA regulatory language is seeking comments from the public on three Questions pertaining to service animals. IAADP has also identified a fourth issue we see as critical.

This is the assistance dog community’s long awaited opportunity to try to shape a better future. Please join us! There are good things in the new definition of a Service Animal, but we also foresee serious problems and want to try to fix them before it is too late. [– MORE –].

Even if you don’t have a service dog, please look over the IAADP website and then follow their links to the ADA website for comments. When I posted mine, I simply copy and pasted the IAADP’s positions into my comments and then told them that I supported these changes. It was easy and quick.

This is really important!! Please do it!!

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]

Your State’s Service Dog Laws 13 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Law, PAALS, State Laws.

Wanna know what your own state’s legal system has to say about service dogs? Here’s a neato link!


On the left hand column, you simply select your state. All the references to animals in the legal system of that state will be listed. You can then scroll down and find “assistance” or “guide” animals and click on that reference. You can read these references in eye-straining and lid-drooping detail.

If you have or are going to have a service dog, however, you had best learn these laws. Memorize the legal references. You will need them – if not now, tomorrow or next week or next month or next year. At some point in time, I assure you, you WILL need them!! And you WILL need them for your certification tests each year!

Find a friendly attorney, and get her to help you understand the laws of your state. Print out a copy of the laws and laminate the copy at your local Office Depot or Office Max. Keep it with your Woof’s vest and always take it with you. It will be your friend when you are “interfered with” in a store or other place of business or public or private place.

Your service dog organization will help guide you in all this, but be sure to learn all the laws that pertain to you in your state. And if you move, or go visiting with your Woof, learn the new state’s Woof laws. That way you won’t get in trouble citing the wrong law in the wrong place!

Here’s to PAALS, who will be keeping me “up” on all that stuff! All donations gratefully – and graciously accepted!! 🙂

ADA – The Federal Law! 7 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Disability, Law.

Just what does the ADA have to say about service animals?? I have referred to the ADA numerous times, and have pt in URL links to the place to find the laws and guidelines about service animals.

Well, for those of you who haven’t “gone there,” or who procrastinate about clicking links, here is the information right here:

This is from http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm


1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

2. Q: What is a service animal?

A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.

3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

4. Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?

A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.

5. Q: I have always had a clearly posted “no pets” policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?

A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your “no pets” policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean you must abandon your “no pets” policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.

6. Q: My county health department has told me that only a guide dog has to be admitted. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?

A: Yes, if you refuse to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.

7. Q: Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?

A: No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disabilities if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disabled customers for the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel’s policy to charge when non-disabled guests cause such damage.

8. Q: I operate a private taxicab and I don’t want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have “accidents.” Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?

A: Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.

9. Q: Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disability is in my business?

A: No. The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. You are not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.

10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?

A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.

Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.

11. Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn’t really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?

A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal–that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.

If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA, you may call the U.S. Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

July 1996, updated January 14, 2008 Reproduction of this document is encouraged.

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So – there you go! I didn’t go back and reproduce the law, it’s soooooo dull and bor-ring for non-lawyers and non-lawmakers I figured that lawyers and lawmakers can just dig the law out for themselves and read those soporific passages to their hearts’ content!

Is this Japan? or Europe? NO! It’s the USA! 3 May 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Autism, Disability, Guidelines, Service Dogs, Working Dogs.
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I posted about this before, but I just discovered this video on YouTube that was added on April 11, 2008

“A Washington County family said they plan to sue their school district, alleging school leaders are breaking a federal law by banning their son’s certified service dog from the building.”

This is bizarre! How many steps backward are we going to have to go before we realize that our service animals are essential???

As I Said . . . 13 April 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Service Dogs.
1 comment so far

. . . on Turtle rock –

I’m awfully busy for the next period of time, and posts will be sparse.

So, I’ll be reduced to simply reporting news articles 1 – 2 times a week for the time being.

I’m sorry. I’ll be back as soon as I can – promise!!

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School Bans Service Dog For Autistic Child

Seven year old Bradley Dallatore depends on his service dog, Jiffy, to help him with his autism. The problem is the dog is banned from his school because the district superintendent says some students are allergic or afraid of the dog.

Thomas Turnbaugh from Washington County, Pennsylvania is finding himself under fire for denying the autistic student access to his certified service dog during school hours. His parents are filing a complaint the Department of Education.

Turnbaugh has even went as far as saying he would not allow a seeing eye dog in schools and would have another student aide a blind child instead. The American Disabilities Act does give protection to those that need service dogs in public areas.

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There seems to be an epidemic of this going around! We who are invested in our service dogs may need to band together and get the {shudder} ACLU in on this. There is that school in NY, now this one in PA. I’m getting pretty ticked off. And this district school supervisor says he would even ban seeing eye dogs!! Give me a break!

Service Dogs BARRED!!! 13 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Law, Service Dogs.

Disabled people want full access for service dogs
Video High
The incidents are illegal and violate the rights of disabled people. Two Bakersfield woman who are legally blind asked Eyewitness News for help after they were recently denied access to local businesses.

There are both State and Federal laws that require access for service dogs into any business or facility where their owners can go. Too often that does not happen.

Penny Valdovinos goes where she needs to with the help of “Brenda.” The guide dog gives her independence and safety, but a couple weeks ago — “Brenda” and Valdovinos were told not to enter the Food-Maxx grocery store on Ming Avenue.

“My niece and I were going in, and the security guards came and said, ‘no, no, don’t go in.’ He kept getting in front of me.” Valdovinos says she tried to go around the security guard and find the store manager — who did understand the law.

Brandy Morgan is guided by “Eubanks” — the service dog is her eyes. But recently at a local motel, when Morgan wanted a room for the night — she was told the dog was not allowed.

Morgan has ID showing Eubanks is her official aide, but she couldn’t convince the motel clerks of that. “They still refused to even listen to me, so I told them I’d have to call the cops,” Morgan told Eyewitness News.

The clerks told her — go ahead and call police. She did that, and officers got to the motel and told the clerks denying access to the service dog was illegal. By then, Morgan didn’t want to stay there.
— MORE —

{{Please let me know when this story “goes away”}}

Now, it is illegal to bar any service dog from any busines that the partner needs to enter. Period. This is both Federal and State law all over the USA.  There is not supposed to be any ID or certification needed.

Today on FOX and Friends, there was a segment about a deaf student in a New York high school whose very well trained hearing-service dog has been repeatedly barred from his school in the face of multiple court orders to the contrary! — full article HERE —

I’ll provide a link to the FOX News items when they get it up later today. I’m totally incensed about this!!! How dare a school prevent a disabled student’s SERVICE DOG from entering and assisting that student!!! I watched this dog on Fox and Friends this AM – beautiful yellow Lab – quiet, mellow, male, nudged the boy when he was being spoken to, and otherwise mellowed out. Really cool dog. No problems.

Need I say – again – that the LAWS, both Federal and State, all over the USA, state that service animals (not just dogs) may go anywhere their partners need to go. Period. End of statement.

Yea for the ADA! 29 December 07

Posted by turtlemom3 in ADA, Disability, Guidelines.
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A friend asked me about where I can take the Woof when I get him. “Anywhere,” I replied. “O surely not!” she exclaimed. “Sure – anywhere.” “Even to a restaurant?” “Sure.”

She shook her head. “How can you be so sure about that?”

I’m sure about it because the Americans with Disabilities Act says so! And each individual state has confirmed it in their own disabilities acts.

Some web places that provide authoritative and reliable information about service animals and the ADA will be found on the page dedicated to the ADA and Service Dogs.

Even restaurants, hospitals, medical offices and health clubs must permit a service animal on premises as long as the animal is not behaving in a disruptive manner (barking, growling, etc).

Yea for the ADA!!