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For Service Dog Users -- Revised ADA Official Publication

Discussion in 'Canine News/Informative Articles' started by ServiceDogUser, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    I know I'm not the only service dog user on here, so I wanted to share this with anyone who hasn't seen it yet. This is the revised Service Animal facts list for businesses. It was just posted on the website a little bit ago (and by this, I mean a few weeks). I had a heck of a time finding it off the main ADA website, so I thought others might appreciate a direct link. Here it is.

    And the text of it:

    Service Animals

    The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

    This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.
    • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
    • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
    • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
    How “Service Animal” Is Defined

    Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
    This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
    Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.
    Where Service Animals Are Allowed

    Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
    Service Animals Must Be Under Control

    Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
    Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

    • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
    • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
    • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
    • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
    • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
    • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
    • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.
    Miniature Horses

    In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.
    For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

    ADA Website
    To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,
    visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.

    ADA Information Line
    800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)
    24 hours a day to order publications by mail.
    M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
    to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.
    For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.
    Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011
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  2. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Excellent info! I'm going to move this over to our canine news section and make it a sticky.

    Thank you for posting it.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    Not a problem, and thank you for moving it. :)
  4. GingerGunlock

    GingerGunlock Notable member

    Excellent, thank you for posting this! I actually had to bring this to my boss and coworkers' attention a few weeks ago. We even had a Memo. >.>
  5. Apollo

    Apollo Novitiate

    Thats interessting, thanks so much for posting it
  6. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    Thank you for bringing it to your boss and coworkers' attentions. Most businesses have no clue about the ADA and service dogs. It is my firm belief that if there had been an education campaign, the revisions would not have been necessary. It is such a relief when a business actually knows the law.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. GingerGunlock

    GingerGunlock Notable member

    Well, one of my coworkers was prepared to run somebody out who had what I knew to be an emotional support animal, and amusing as it might have been to see a police altercation occur, I'd done a blog post on Service Animals not long previous (I have migraines, and Elka alerts me of her own accord. She is not, however, actively a "service dog"). So, I headed her off, and then discussed with my boss, and we all read the memo. Let's see if a certain someone remembers, hmm?

    That, and I really wish there was an education campaign. Considering how the use of service dogs has expanded and increased over the years, I keep feeling like this should all be common knowledge.
  8. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    Emotional support animals do not have any more public access than regular pets do. Only service animals can accompany their handlers into no pet areas. So, your coworker was correct to ask them to leave. A person who has an ESA isn't required to be disabled in order to qualify. Additionally, most ESAs do not have the level of training as a service animal. This can cause dissention about having service animals in public because most people don't realize that they're not service animals. The article I posted above states Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.. Businesses can ask Is this a service animal that helps with a disability and What does the service animal do? If the answer to the second question is something that illustrates the dog as being only for comfort, such as my dog keeps me calm, then a business can legally exclude the animal. If course, this assumes that your state or local government doesn't offer protection for ESAs.

    There is something called an in-house service dog. It's a dog that actively mitigates the handler's disability but is not used in public access. These dogs are still considered service dogs and as such are allowed to stay in no pet hotels, etc., when the handler travels. If your migraines are disabling, then Elka would be one of these.

    I completely agree! Most people still don't know anything about service dogs except "seeing eye dogs". :(:rolleyes: Just today while I was at the movies, someone wanted to know how I managed to sneak Soren in. As she reached to pet him, I told her that he's a working dog and please don't pet. She said "oh, okay" and kept petting him and then said "I've got one of those for my dog too." I was furious but managed to explain yet again that he is working. Her response was "Oh, you mean he's actually working? Did you get one of those licenses for him?" I really felt like smacking her or something because her tone clearly indicated that I obviously couldn't be disabled and therefore he's not a service dog. But I managed to not lose it and told her "No license required, but you have to be disabled." She huffed at me and left in a hurry. It's always the people who don't want to be educated (or think that they know best) that need to be educated the most. Poor Soren was a champ though.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. GingerGunlock

    GingerGunlock Notable member


    I misspoke when I said "emotional support", I meant to say "Psychological". This is somebody who literally will not be able to face leaving her house/going into public without this dog.

    I did not know about the in-house service dog, that's good to know. My migraines can be disabling, there's thankfully far enough apart (depending on the weather) that I don't have them daily, necessarily, or even weekly. Spring and fall are rough. I know Elka isn't currently suited for/trained for public access, and so I wouldn't use her for such, but so far as travelling goes, that's a good detail. I'll have to read up more on that.
  10. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    Psychiatric service dogs are great, but they still have to actively do something. Just accompanying the handler out of the house is, unfortunately, not enough to qualify the dog as a service animal. A lot of PSDs are able to alert to panic attacks, lead the handler to safety, and ground the handler. I have no idea if the service dog you're talking about does this, but without active work or tasks, it would not be considered a service dog.

    Under the ADA, if a disorder is episodic and disabling during the episode, then you would be considered disabled. Disabilities must be evaluated at the time of the episode. If the episode is disabling, then the person is disabled even if they're fine the rest of the time.

    In order to qualify as a service animal, in-house or not, Elka would have to be polite and under control in public (meaning, the hotel -- she can't be barking or anything like that), be housebroken, and actively do something to help your disability. I'm assuming that she is all of these things already, of course. ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. GingerGunlock

    GingerGunlock Notable member

    I don't know if that dog does either, as I haven't asked. I don't think the woman is "faking", though.

    Yes, Elka is a dream in the house. She just needs to work on serenity and attention outside of it!
  12. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    I wasn't meaning that I thought she was faking, just that legally even PSDs must actively do something. Just so you know (and anyone else who is reading this), your business is well within their rights to ask what the dog does. Answers can be very vague, but answers that imply the dog is just for comfort means that the business can legally exclude the animal. Additionally, if the animal is disruptive, unsanitary, has an accident, wanders off without the handler, or is otherwise unruly and the handler does nothing to control the animal, then the business can exclude it even if it is a service animal. Barking used to be included in the reasons a business can exclude a service animal, but that has been removed because many medical alert dogs bark to alert. If the dog is barking incessantly, then someone should make sure the handler is okay.

    Here is a link to the California Hotel and Lodging Association that has some training videos on how to deal with a service dog. It's pretty good and imformative, although because California law still says any animal can be a service animal, that part is incorrect regarding the federal ADA. Of course, other states may also include other animals in their definition of what a service animal is, so it is important for businesses to know their local laws as well.

    Well, no time like the present to work on that! ;) Let me know if you'd like some tips on building focus and attention while outside of the house.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. GingerGunlock

    GingerGunlock Notable member


    Thanks, I'll definitely be looking at that link.

    Attention is one of those ongoing projects. The clicker has been very helpful with that, as it gives Elka a far more precise baseline of "oh, this is correct!" I definitely welcome input! Really, it's my "fault", as it were. She doesn't pay full attention, so I take her to fewer places, so she's less used to all the things, so she pays attention to the new things, etc. Our regular walks and training blows off a lot of that energy, so she improves every time. I can't blame her for wanting to be inquisitive, and I'm happier with inquisitiveness than flightiness.

    Actually, we were on a "field trip" to Tractor Supply today, and shopping carts were not the "OH GOD what is that?!" that they were on a previous trip, and somebody asked me if I was a dog trainer. So that was cool. Overall, successful trip, I'd say!
  14. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Very informative and interesting to me! Thank you!
  15. ServiceDogUser

    ServiceDogUser Notable member

    It is so important to take things gradually but steadily. People who train service dogs say "slow is fast" and it is so true. When you put Elka in a situation that she can't pay attention in and then you ask for her attention is setting both yourself and Elka up for failure. Instead, you should very gradually build up the distractions.

    For example, if Elka were distracted by screaming children, then you would go to a play park. You would find out what her tolerance threshold is -- by this, I mean at what point she is too close to the children to pay attention to you. You must mark that distance in your mind, and for the time being, don't cross that point. Then you would start some distance from that line. Ie, if Elka reacts 10 feet from the kids, then you start 20 feet from the kids. Run through some exercises that Elka knows well, and then move. This is a pattern that you should follow, but the distances must be random. For example, you would go to 15 feet, then 18, then 19, then 14, then 12, then 15, and so on. Try to get it as patternless as possible or else Elka will look for the pattern. After you've done several rounds like this, you can go to 9 feet which is just inside the threshold for tolerance. If you're doing it right, Elka won't notice that she's inside the threshold and will still be able to pay attention to you. You continue moving randomly, and soon you'll be able to have Elka right next to the children and still paying attention to you.

    All distraction training can be done like this, but the key is to know how much is too much. When we first start taking an SD candidate out in public, it's very short trips. 10-15 minutes, and then we're done. As we gradually increase the time out, we also gradually increase the amount of distractions. In other words, we start with a really quiet store and gradually move up until the dog can handle being in the mall on a Saturday. But this process takes a long time because if you rush it, you wind up having to start all over again.
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  16. csmith4242

    csmith4242 Notable member

    I work in public transit and deal with service animals frequently and have no problem with them at all. Unfortunately there are people with pets that claim their dog is a service animal and it clearly is not by its behavior. The people have learned that if they say it is a service animal they will be allowed transport. Clearly there needs to be a way to remedy this. The city seems to be scared to death of the ADA and will take no steps in making policy.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. RiverRat

    RiverRat Jr Member

    I spent way too much time at dog parks over the last decade. I met too many people who thought it was fun to buy a "service dog" vest for their dog so the dog could go everyplace they went. There was nothing wrong with them. It was just a ploy to take their dog with them. There should be some sort of licensing for service dogs to keep the frauds under control.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. mako28

    mako28 New Member

    It's a hard line to walk. I use a service animal (TBI) and it's tough at times. (Unfortunately, Mya, my Dobi, passed away a few months ago. She was an amazing worker and friend. I'm starting up with a new Dobi next month! Lots of training! I thought I should explain the use of past tense verbs.) I don't have any obvious outward appearance for need. When I had her all geared-up the questions became personal: "What's wrong with you?" etc. Obviously I have no desire to recap my worst day over and over again to strangers. When I left her gear off, the questions usually stopped at "is she a service dog?" This was a lot easier to deal with. I never minded being asked if she was service...even though it's supposedly off limits. My "yes" and her behavior typically put everything to rest.

    I understand the desire for more regulation. People are taking advantage of it. I think it would be smarter to require that all service animals be qualified in an some advanced k9 good citizen type of thing. This way, there's no potential for unique discrimination against the handler (your disability isn't disabled enough to me!) and the cheaters would, at least, have a well behaved animal.
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