|Barked: Wed Apr 29, '09 5:53pm PST |
"New Discrimination against People Living with a Mental Illness
For years, the U.S. has been a world leader in promoting equal access for all Americans, including the disabled. However, recently there has been a proposed ruling that will change that. You may have seen a person with a disability such as blindness use a service animal but did you know that dogs can be trained to assist a person disabled by mental illness?
The use of Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) has afforded many mentally disabled individuals to reach a new level of wellness and the opportunity to lead happy and productive lives. Service animals play an important role in helping the consumer manage and alleviate severe symptoms such as anxiety, hallucinations and mania.
However, now the rights of those who use a service animal as part of their wellness plan, are being challenged by new rulings that will provide regulations that just don't make sense. Congressional subcommittees want to make revisions to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
The ACAA prohibits discrimination by airlines against qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. Requirements address a wide range of issues including boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities.
Now, the Department of Transportation wants:
• To ask passengers about their disabilities and about the
training of the service animal.
• Provide special documentation regarding the medical need for the service animal and disclosure of the handler's diagnosis as someone who is mentally-ill.
• To require that service animal handlers, with mental health disabilities, provide the airline 48 hours advance notice before travel will be authorized.
What is most appalling is that it is ONLY people with a mental illness who will be required to show medical documentation and give 48 hours advance notice and not people with any other types of disabilities!
We must stop the discrimination NOW. Please join us in sending a letter to members of Congressional subcommittees before these new rules are put into place.
Let's never forget that our democracy is based on the principles of equality and freedom. Let's keep it that way."
If you visit the link, at the bottom you can type in your zip code and it will take you through finding your representatives and sending them a message, it's super easy! Stand up and speak for equality!
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