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According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service animals must be allowed to accompany a person with a disability in areas of a facility where the public is allowed to go. This includes, but is not limited to stores, restaurants, hospitals, ambulances, hotels and lodging, public transportation, educational institutions, senior centers, homeless shelters, stadiums, auditoriums, theaters, museums, gyms, parks and more!
Currently, under the ADA and Arizona law, a business cannot ask a handler to see certification of the animal or ask about the handler’s disability (more to come on that on future #FridayFacts.) However, there are exceptions to allowing service dogs in public. Here are a few:
* If the dog is aggressive and appears to pose a threat to others.
* If the dog is not housebroken.
* If the handler is unable or unwilling to control the animal.
* If the dog creates a burden on the establishment. Example: While service dogs are allowed in the patient rooms of a hospital, they are not allowed to go into areas that need to remain sterile.
* If the dog alters the nature of the establishment. Example: At a zoo a service animal can be restricted to areas where the dog’s presence would not be disruptive to the animals on display.
Additionally, establishments are not allowed to charge a special fee or have service dog handlers pay extra costs for having the service animal accompany them in public.
International Day of Peace, recognized on September 21 every year, is the perfect opportunity to promote peace in the world around us.
Continuing last week’s theme about service dog etiquette, this time we're going to discuss the handlers. When people see service dogs they tend to get excited. After all, who can resist those brown eyes, soft ears and impeccable training? Yet that is exactly what you should do if you encounter a service dog in public.
Handlers of service dogs frequently deal with strangers asking them questions. Keep these things in mind if you see a service dog at the store, a restaurant or anywhere else:
* Do NOT ask the handler about their disability. That is just plain rude. Would you want them to ask you about your medical history?
* Do NOT talk to the handler through the dog.
* Do NOT be offended if the handler does not want to talk about their service dog.
* Do NOT be offended if the handler does not want you to touch their service dog (after you have asked first, of course.)
* DO realize that dog is highly valued and well-loved.
* DO help educate young children about service dog etiquette.
* DO pretend the dog is not there. Treat it as you would a wheelchair or any other piece of medical equipment.
"My experience with Soldier’s Best Friend has been life changing. Coping with civilian life has become more manageable. I often imagine how simple life is for my buddy Wilfred… it keeps it all in perspective. When things get to be too much, my buddy is there. From the restless nights to the difficult situations, I have something that has been an elusive possibility…. I have hope again. I consider myself fortunate to have had this opportunity. Having this service animal has given me both an outlet for coping and restored much of my confidence. Thanks Soldier’s Best Friend and the generous donors who made this all possible.”
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