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Thank you for your comments about my nephew. I have learned that when the Lord puts him on my mind, to call him. 

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On 1/25/2019 at 2:13 PM, mptjelgin said:

I think that they were generally aware of this guidance from the ADA.gov website:

The fact that vests were ever even mentioned tells me that they weren't really up on what the standards for service dogs are.

 

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But the problem becomes, what to do you with the answers? Most people would respond (1) Yes (2) None of your business, and then where does that leave the staff/volunteer?  

If it were me, I'd say, "We allow only service dogs that are trained to perform a task on behalf of a person with a disability, and we have to ask what those tasks are in order to determine whether to allow your dog in as a service dog.  If you won't tell us what those tasks are, then your dog is not allowed."

Sure, they could give you some sort of b.s. answer, but taking "None of your business" as a response and letting the dog in is not at all what the ADA requires or even anticipates.  And it gets the word out that "none of your business" works, which makes everybody start using it. 

If people were made to straight-out lie about what tasks the dog is trained to perform, their consciences might start to kick in and they'd stop with the charade.  But if all they have to do is "kind of" lie by slapping a vest on the dog or saying "none of your business," then frankly, I don't blame them for doing it; it's our fault for making it easy for them to do that.

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23 minutes ago, Blues said:

If people were made to straight-out lie about what tasks the dog is trained to perform, their consciences might start to kick in and they'd stop with the charade.  But if all they have to do is "kind of" lie by slapping a vest on the dog or saying "none of your business," then frankly, I don't blame them for doing it; it's our fault for making it easy for them to do that.

People are straight-out lying about their dogs being Service Dogs whether they are asked to come up with a reason or not. If their consciences aren't kicking in already, asking them to lie about one more thing isn't likely to do it. I had the pleasure of watching a "Service Dog" take a crap in the airport concourse a couple of weeks ago and the  owner just walked away. I saw another pair of "Service Dogs" get into a fight in another part of the airport. These folks are shameless...

I don't disagree that the NWR staff could have been a bit more forceful with their questioning, but our experience was that folks were very happy to lie to get their dogs in, and the threshold at which no additional questions can be asked is very low. Plus, the fear of legal action is very high, right or wrong. Their wishing for the dogs to have vests was because it cut down on other visitors quizzing us as to why some folks were allowed to have dogs and others were not. 

But let's continue with your scenario:  The volunteer says "If you won't tell us what those tasks are, then your dog is not allowed." and the person either comes up with a BS answer (all good then, right?) or says tough and walks on down to the beach. The next step is to contact local law enforcement (no LE on staff at the refuge) and wait for them to show up and act. If you've spent any time working or volunteering at a National Wildlife Refuge you already know that this is not something that they are willing to spend resources on. 

I very much wish that there was some sort of certification required for service dogs to minimize this type of abuse. I understand that many airlines are starting the crack down and hopefully something is in the works.

BTW - I DO blame these folks for lying about their dogs. It is too easy to do so, but that doesn't mean that they are blameless. 

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1 hour ago, mptjelgin said:

People are straight-out lying about their dogs being Service Dogs whether they are asked to come up with a reason or not. If their consciences aren't kicking in already, asking them to lie about one more thing isn't likely to do it.

I think it's a lot easier to lie by saying, "None of your business," than to lie by articulating tasks the dog has been trained to do that are related to a disability.  And I also think there might be a different level of guilt experienced by someone who just woo-hooed his way through the questioning by saying (and getting away with) "None of your business" compared to someone who actually had to lie about having a disability and that the dog has been trained to do X to compensate for it.

Many people don't even consider themselves to be lying if they believe they have a valid reason (like Lance Armstrong).  So they can say, with all honesty, "This is a service dog," because they think the dog performs a service for them.  But it could be different for them if they are made to utter actual words about a disability and training that they know not to be true. 

And people might lie about that without compunction.  But I highly suspect there is not an insignificant number of people out there who are doing it just because it's easy to get away with, and they'll stop when businesses start pushing back.

One thing for sure--as long as "none of your business" is accepted as a response, nobody is going to stop.

 

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7 hours ago, Blues said:

But I highly suspect there is not an insignificant number of people out there who are doing it just because it's easy to get away with, and they'll stop when businesses start pushing back.

Our local Walmart has signs now at both entries stating bonified service dogs only, yet last time we were there I saw 2 fluff-balls in shopping carts and one a on a leash, all of which were trying to find new friends and ignoring the owners. A true service dog will ignore those around them while working. 

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3 minutes ago, TXiceman said:

oh, Kirk, don't you know that these are 
Emotional Support Animals"?

Ken

Maybe the owners should be institutionalized if their emotions are all that fragile . 

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That's also a pretty awful thing to say to my friend with diagnosed PTSD and actual support dogs from serving our country for 21 years.

 

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3 minutes ago, Carlos said:

That's also a pretty awful thing to say to my friend with diagnosed PTSD and actual support dogs from serving our country for 21 years.

 

Who / what are you referring to ? 

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There was a story on our news last night.  It was from someplace in Florida.  A guy has a 4 year old trained gator and he takes it around to nursing homes as a "comfort animal".  It showed different elderly folks holding this 4 foot plus gator in their arms and snuggling with it.  Sweat!

It now will only be a matter of time before I see one in a shopping cart at Public wearing a service dog vest!

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58 minutes ago, TXiceman said:

If they are truly emotional support animals, they should be properly vetted and wear a service vest.

Ken

 

Vests have absolutely zero to do with the validity of a service animal.  Also emotional support animals are not service animals, and their validity is not legally documented in any way that I can find.  It's a shrink and patient agreeing on what might help.

 

Q8. Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?

 

A. No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.

 

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Our local Walmart has signs now at both entries stating bonified service dogs only, yet last time we were there I saw 2 fluff-balls in shopping carts and one a on a leash, all of which were trying to find new friends and ignoring the owners. A true service dog will ignore those around them while working. 

I questioned this with the store manager once and was told they can post the sign but they can't question the abuser.  What gets me that some people think its cute and fawn over the animal. Yuk!

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Comfort Dogs, Comfort Kittys, Comfort Birds and heaven only knows how many sparrows overhead pooping on the produce are just becoming power for the course in most large chain grocery stores we've frequented lately. = Couple that with the drooling/sucking children all over the metal and handles of the carts, and the list goes on = Double, Triple Quadruple YUCK!   

We adore our trained domestic dog (a handful all trained the same over the years), but they know their place not allowed on carpeted areas, furniture or upstairs/beds, no barking unless to alert and we respect not all folks are akin to animals.   It's inconsiderate and irresponsible owners that are the problems, not the animals sadly.   Heck, even when we book very rarely into a CG we insist on not being in the pet area due to negligent priors leaving deposits behind!

We absolutely respect true service dogs, monkeys and other genuine "service animals" and the increased quality of life they bring to their owners.   The rest has all got waaaay out of control.   Sigh ............   Signs of the times  

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You make a good point, I'd rather be around most dogs than most babies.

What exactly is the "waaaay out of control part?"  I'm just not seeing rampant crap/pee in the aisles, or people being mauled, or whatever is so out of control.  What exactly are the problems being caused in the rest of the country?  The West seems to have dogs that don't cause problems.

 

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:56 AM, TXiceman said:

If they are truly emotional support animals, they should be properly vetted and wear a service vest.

I can't tell--are you aware that there's a difference between emotional support animals and service animals? 

 

On 1/28/2019 at 11:58 AM, Carlos said:

It's a shrink and patient agreeing on what might help.

Or, more commonly, a person who wants to bring his dog with him everywhere paying someone to sign the paperwork prescribing an emotional support animal, and then using people's ignorance about the laws relating to service animals to be able to take their pet wherever they want.

 

22 hours ago, FULLTIMEWANABE said:

We absolutely respect true service dogs, monkeys and other genuine "service animals" and the increased quality of life they bring to their owners.  

Under the ADA, monkeys can't be service animals.  Only dogs and miniature horses.  This was explained upthread. 

 

On 1/28/2019 at 1:54 PM, 2gypsies said:

I questioned this with the store manager once and was told they can post the sign but they can't question the abuser. 

Well, they're wrong, and should be told they're wrong.  Not only can they question someone, the ADA actually states the exact questions they can ask!  Sheesh.

And the thing is, business can generally let in any animal they want--there are no laws that I know of, other than health codes, that say you can't allow animals in your place of business.  So if Home Depot wants to allow pets in, that's their call.  But just do it because that's what you want your policy to be, and don't get all balled up in service animals vs. emotional support animals vs. pets.  Because that makes the people who are passing their pets off as service animals think it's one more place where their ruse is working.

 

 

 

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On 1/27/2019 at 11:15 PM, Blues said:

I think it's a lot easier to lie by saying, "None of your business," than to lie by articulating tasks the dog has been trained to do that are related to a disability. 

You seem to be well versed in this subject, and I wonder what your thoughts are on a couple of things:

1. Do you think that the law is working well as written?  That is, are the two specific questions that you are allowed to ask by the ADA guidelines enough to prevent abuse, if the businesses/entities actually asked them?

2. Along these lines, if I ask the two questions and get the following answers, what am I supposed to do:

  • Me: Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?  Response: Yes
  • Me: What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?  Response: My dog provides me support when my condition manifests itself. 

Ok, now what?  The law specifically states that the individual cannot be asked for any documentation on the dog, asked that the dog demonstrate its task, or be asked for any information regarding the nature of their disability. Any reasonable follow-up to the vague response above would seem to creep into one of those three "can't ask" areas. 

I presented an intentionally vague answer along the lines of what I think someone who is gaming the system might say. But as I read the ADA documentation, there is essentially nothing that can be done beyond asking the two questions and accepting whatever answer you get. 

It seems to me that the way the law is currently written it is impossible to actively weed out the people who are intentionally misrepresenting their dogs. Couldn't (shouldn't?) there be some type of standardized documentation program to make this clearer? I would imagine that most folks who are using a genuine service animal have all manner of documentation regarding the animal itself, training received, etc.  It seems like some sort of documentation system would go a long way toward clearing this up. I am aware that any type of documentation can be forged, but once someone does that there is at least a paper trail and a basis for prosecution. 

 

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Training can vary.  When we were working on an epilepsy alert dog, there really wasn't a full outside training facility for it and a lot was up to us.  The doctor gave us a letter, but heck, I could have made it on my computer also. The trainers could write letters, but there was no established documentation process at the time, and I don't think there is now.

One of the risks here is creating more costs and challenges for a person who already has challenges and high costs.  And again...exactly what problem are we solving?  Aside from emotional outrage that people are skirting the rules, what damages are being done?  What damage would be saved by making people who need animals spend even more and be questioned more often?

I don't mean that we shouldn't, but I'm just openly asking.  Every change should be met with an evaluation of the cost/benefit.

 

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2 minutes ago, Carlos said:

.exactly what problem are we solving? 

I agree that there needs to be a cost/benefit discussion, as any documentation requirement would certainly present some headache for those forced to comply with it. 

I think that the overall problem is the devaluing of the concept of Service Dogs in general. If a significant percentage of "Service Dogs" are in fact fakes, then the perception of Service Dogs suffers, and eventually the entire program becomes suspect. 

In my particular case a lot of dogs were entering a sensitive area of a National Wildlife Refuge where dogs shouldn't have been.  I imagine that the number of visitors with genuine service dogs was very low, but we had dogs on the refuge most days. And as other visitors inquired as to why so many dogs were in the "No Pets Allowed" area and had it explained that the dogs on the beach were "Service Dogs" (when they clearly were not), the overall concept suffers. And, I would imagine that some of those folks might just decide to join the party with their own "Service Dog". 

And if you've flown domestically in the past few years you have likely been exposed to poorly behaved pets in terminals and on commercial flights that are flying under the guise of being a service animal, or perhaps an emotional support animal, and to the general public, that is becoming an issue as well. 

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I only fly a couple times a year any more, and haven't seen any problems like that at all.

The point about the general perception of service animals is a strong one.

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I'm starting to see more stories like this regarding airlines and other industries. This seems specific to Emotional Support Animals as opposed to Service Animals, but I'd wager that many folks think they are one in the same. 

Airlines Cracking Down

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It seems to me that those of us non pet owners deserve some consideration as well. I'm all for legitimate service animals, but I'll be danged if I'll patronize a business who cares so little about me that they let all manner of animals in. I grew up on a large farm and never did we allow animals on the living quarters. They may not be actively defecting, urinating or attacking, but just their presence is unpleasant and uncomfortable to me and my family. I tolerate human germs, but we all know what dogs do with their tongues. Home Depot is one thing..but any place that serves or sells food is not a place I need to see live animals. That is truly gross and gives me the sense that all the food there is contaminated. End result - I go out less and less. There are no dogs at Amazon. Jay

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I can't even think of the last time I saw any animal in a restaurant.  Been that long.  Whatever, restaurants serve 99% junk food and you're better off cooking at home.

Do you assume that a service dog is more hygienic than a regular dog?  Do they get taught to wipe afterward?

 

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11 minutes ago, Carlos said:

I can't even think of the last time I saw any animal in a restaurant.  Been that long.  Whatever, restaurants serve 99% junk food and you're better off cooking at home.

Do you assume that a service dog is more hygienic than a regular dog?  Do they get taught to wipe afterward?

 

Of course they're not in any way more hygienic. I'm just willing to tolerate that discomfort for someone who truly needs that kind of support. Not willing to tolerate people who have no respect for others. I recently stayed in a new and quite expensive hotel and was rudely awakened at 5:00 a.m. by barking dogs in the hallway. I rather doubt that person in the room directly across the hall was disabled and needed a support animal --- and I'll never stay there again.

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