ADA require paperwork!!

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

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Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 7:51am PST 
...I can't believe I lost my entire post. Oops.

Oh well, here's the short of it:

The problems I see with certification are the questions of where will the money come from and who will oversee it. Will it be funded by taxpayers? Will taxpayers be willing to fund? Will there be enough money to create enough testing/certification centers so that certification is not an undue burden on the disabled, who are often below the poverty line? Will the person seeking certification for their dog have to pay a test fee? Will this test fee be affordable or an undue burden? Is the USDA going to oversee certification or will we create an entirely new section of the federal government? Would be use an existing organization to oversee this and how will that organization be chosen? Lastly if an organization is used to oversee certification in the US, can we be sure their personal politics won't interfere? I ask that last question because some organizations oppose owner training. Owner training may have enormous downsides for most, but it's the only option that guarantees breed choice and allows for highly specific cross training.

All those questions aside, I think there's a middle ground everyone can agree to. There are protections in place against poor or false service dogs; poorly behaved animals may be freely removed by any business. I think that information alone needs to be widespread and perhaps find a way to assure businesses won't be sued at every turn. I think if a service dog(Poorly trained, bad day, or fake) is barking, snarling, soiling the floor, or eating from a plate and it's documented then there shouldn't be any problems in court. I get that businesses want to avoid court...but come on, they've already been given something to protect themselves! I only ever hear about businesses challenging teams on the basis that there is a dog involved; I'd rather hear about businesses challenging a team because the dog is ill behaved.

I think certification itself is a good idea. What worries me is where that money will come from, will money or travel issues hurt the disabled, and what body is going to oversee the certification system.

Lolly girl
Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 10:22am PST 
Certification seems to work in Europe and Canada. A person can make up all kinds of crazy scenarios, but The ADA laws have changed before, March 15, 2011, and it will change again. And like Nova said, there should be no charge for certification.
Anything to help stop fake SD's is OK my be.
Lucy Ribeiro

Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 11:18am PST 
I mean I am not saying pay for certification it could be free or something. Something has to change. I mean the main issue I see is people who think the law states that business owners "CANT ASK ANYTHING". If they do you start screaming instantly and yelling at the business owner until they back down and let you pass.

However what I find works best for now is I inform these business owners tell them if a dog is misbehaving the ADA allows you to ask them to remove the SD no matter what but you still have to provide services to the owner. However the dog in those situations can be removed and there is nothing that handler can say about it. Things like not being housebroken and peeing or pooping inside a store or business, barking being aggressive, or misbehaving in anyway that can pose a danger or a threat to other patrons.

Things like your SD jumping across the floor to attack another SD is something that can get your SD kicked out and removed. I am now always weary of a SD inside a store depending on the dogs behavior. I watch the dog and where it looks and how it acts.

Now most of the time the dog is keeping a eye on the owner and thats where it should be on the handler and the sorroundings focused on training and those dogs I dont mind passing at anytime becausee they will ignore my dog just like she is trained to do. Now the ones I see loose focus on the handler entirely and are then staring at my dog and wanting to eat my SD I will go around to another aisle and have to edit my behavior and my SD's behavior to get around a faker or just a misbehaving SD. that is not right at all. I shouldnt have to look around a corner to make sure another dog isnt there or getting ready to eat my animal. I have asked business owners before hey there is a dog over there that may be a SD or may not but the animal was barking and behaving aggressive towards my animal and the ADA states if that happens you have full and legal right to ask them to remove the animal. The worker told me there manager told them that if anyone at that store asks them a question to a person with a dog they will be written up or fired for doing it. Seems some random person with a dog came in and started screaming instantly and then called the police or threatened to and now the management scared the staff to death for there jobs.

I have only had to call the police once. However I gave the business owner about 20 minutes of my time trying to explain the laws and educate them. the main thing I would say is best for now is EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE. BE RESPECTFUL. Dont scream at them and give them a bad taste in there mouth for every team. Take it this way. They may have had a bad experience with a different team but you can be the team that changes there mind. I have done this on multiple occasions at several different places of business. They had 2 or thrree people come in with a dog that were misbehaving then saw me and my girl come in and asked me tons of questions and I explain and educate them and they turn out better for it.


My Sammi
Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 1:02pm PST 
For once the gov't has kinda gotten something right by NOT requiring paperwork. As soon as something is put into writing, everything not specifically addressed is "outside" the law's protection. As there are a multitude of disabilities, and each scenario requires its own unique mitigation, requiring something on paper becomes inherently limiting, and would result in a confusing mass of exceptions, waivers, and the abuse that comes from loopholes them good old lawers will find. As has been stated in other posts; it's all about the education. A well informed handler, (the ADA term for the person for whom the dog works), can do a lot for educating the general public...if you're so inclined. Some of us are, some aren't, and that's just fine. Lou, I lived in So Cal and feel your pain!

microscopic mutt
Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 7:36pm PST 
Nova wrote:

Cooper, I'm going to be generous and assume you're having a bad day.

Actually yesterday was a pretty good one overall; thanks for asking. But if it helps to give you some insight into what I posted last night, here is what I was working on immediately before I wrote that:

I'd gotten a message from a friend of mine that's trying to help a homeless family: mom, 10-year-old autistic son and the son's SD. They're staying in an encampment because they haven't been able to find a homeless shelter that would accept the SD. (That's where I was able to help - it turns out that homeless shelters ARE covered under Title III of the ADA, even though apparently very few know that. I pointed my friend at a couple of legal resources that may - just MAY - be able to pry open the door to a shelter. Cross fingers.)

Anyway, apparently the boy isn't in school, although the reason why wasn't clear. Something that wasn't discussed was if the family is receiving any cash income at all. (They do receive food stamps; the way that my friend met them was when they were grocery shopping.) Finally, while the dog was in generally very good shape (her nails had been recently clipped, for instance) she was also moving very stiffly, indicating that she might have arthritis and a need to be put on anti-inflammatories.

No, I haven't gone off-topic here. I've been leading up to this question:

What kind of human being could read that story and NOT realize that the mother involved is already dealing with more grief than one person should have to bear?

I mean, which do you think should be a higher priority for her, getting the SD certified or securing a safe, warm & dry place to sleep? Which do you think should be a higher priority for her, getting the SD certified or figuring out how to feed her child a couple of hot meals per week? Which do you think should be a higher priority for her, getting the SD certified or restoring enough normalcy to her life that her kid can go back to school?

See, this woman just plain has so many problems that making a test free and establishing test centers all over the place isn't going make a dent in her worries.

The least of this woman's problems at this point is the dog's need for veterinary care, because my friend is going to pay for that out of pocket on her own.

I don't actually think that the proponents of certification are bad people... but I don't understand you. Here are some possibilities I've come up with but I'm probably nowhere close. (I'll warn you in advance that I got pretty sarcastic here):

1) You live in a bubble and don't have the imagination to picture somebody having a significantly different life than you do. So since you imagine that taking a certification test wouldn't be a problem for you, you assume that it wouldn't be a problem for anyone.

2) Even though the ADA defines disability as being "significantly limited in one or more major life functions" it's never occurred to you that some people are MORE disabled than you and therefore have more difficulty doing just basic life stuff, let alone anything additional. (This is a variant on #1.)

3) For owner-trainers only: you figure that since you will certify easily (of course) everyone else can go **** themselves.

4) You assume that any certification test the certification gods came up with would 1) never ever pass a dog that really should have failed, and 2) would pass absolutely 100% of the dogs that deserved it. (This is a TOTALLY bad assumption on both counts - statisticians call these Type I and Type II errors - and like death and taxes they are absolutely guaranteed to happen, no matter who develops the test and who administers it.)

5) You believe that there exists a sum of money large enough that it would enable the DOJ to do outreach to absolutely everyone in the country that needs it. (Actually it would probably be cheaper for the DOJ to establish giant programs all over the country, enabling everyone who needed one to have a "pre-certified" program dog.)

6) You know that there is no sum of money large enough to enable the DOJ to do outreach to everyone in the country that needs it - and you're just fine with that. I mean, how many people would be affected, after all - 5K, 10K, 20K? They probably didn't really need SDs anyway.

OK, I apologize for the sarcasm there; I'm frustrated because I really DO NOT understand. And I apologize to you, Nova, for snarking at you last night. You didn't deserve that. I actually agree with you on a lot of things and am kind of befuddled that we're so far apart on this one. I just can't any possible way to implement a certification program that wouldn't hurt tens of thousands of people. And since I don't think of you as a cruel or thoughtless person, I'm having a REALLY hard time reconciling what I know of you as a person with your advocacy of something I know that would really hurt a lot of people. Please help me understand.

Barked: Thu Sep 26, '13 10:22pm PST 
Cooper, it's interesting that you brought up a homeless shelter, because I actually worked at a homeless shelter for several years when I was working in human services. So believe me when I say I understand people who have it rough in life. And although I am not disabled, my sister is. Which is why the suggestion that I was just trying to create barriers for people with disabilities sort of hurt. (But also why I could let it roll off, because I know it's not true.)

I feel for your friend. But here's how I see that situation. As an advance, I recognize that it's easy for me to sit here typing this, and it will be harder for you to hear about somebody you know personally. Having a SD requires time and money and resources. If you don't have the money to pay for a dog's vet care, you can't have a dog, regardless of whether it's a SD or not. If the dog needs anti-inflammatory meds to prevent him from being in pain all the time and you can't give your dog anti-inflammatory meds...I think we know where I'm going with this. Hopefully your friend can help that mother find some assistance for the dog as well.

Presumably your friend's friend was in a much different situation when they got the SD, as it would be really irresponsible to take on responsibility for a dog in their current situation. If you have the resources to get a SD, then you would have the resources to get a one-time certification. A quick certification process when the SD is first obtained would be negligible compared to the total amount of time and energy and resources that the SD requires. So while your friend's friend certainly couldn't deal with a certification now, she could have when she got the SD.

So you ask what kind of human being could read that and not think that the mother is already dealing with too much. I completely agree! A person in her situation should never have to deal with something like SD certification, and they absolutely wouldn't in any reasonable certification plan.

I'm going to address my take on your points one by one. I obviously can speak only for myself and other proponents of certification will likely have other takes.

1. I do believe I can imagine people living a life different than me. But, like I mentioned above, if you have the time and energy and money to take on a SD, a quick half-day certification when you first get the SD is not a considerable burden. I mean, we're not talking having people get monthly certification or yearly certification; we're talking once every 8-ish years or so. (However long your dog's working life is.) So my response to this is people can live any style of life, but having the minimum resources for having a SD guarantees having the minimum resources for completing a half-day cert roughly once every 8-10 years.

2. Again, if you are abled enough to have a SD, you should be abled enough to do a quick cert once every 8 years.

3. This one is particularly interesting. If an OT dog can't pass a cert test, that dog needs more training in order to be a SD, regardless of whether it's an OT or program dog. This is also how I see a cert organization being helpful. Rather than OTers having to fend for themselves with no guidance save for what they get on a message board, they can be referred to reputable trainers and get help. Even now if the person is trying to train their own SD and they don't have the background to do it, it doesn't mean that their SD doesn't have to be fully trained. It means they have to go seek out other resources to help them. Some are free and some cost money. Having a cert organization wouldn't change that, but it would help people connect with the resources that would be most useful to them. As it stands, people can bring untrained dogs in public as SDs.

4. Of course there will be some bad dogs that slip through and some good dogs that run into trouble! Those would ideally be minimized, but it will happen. Like I said earlier, if a test screens out 90% of the bad dogs, just because 10% of the bad dogs slip through doesn't mean the test is useless. You now have 90% fewer bad SDs in public! I call that a win. If a good dog had a bad day, then you try to cert again later. As a test would be a minimum standard, most SDs would pass with flying colors and there would only be a few exceptions. Again, I'm not saying this system is flawless. But the current system is not flawless either, with a 6-year-old child having been killed by one "SD" and countless other injuries because SDs are out there that should not be out there. That 6-year-old child's right to live at least as great as a PWD's right to have a SD of their choosing whenever they choose regardless of it has been trained. In fact, I think the child's right to live might be greater than that.

5. Money's a problem. But compared with the amount of money that we waste on other things, this system could be implemented relatively cheaply. It's not like you'd be paying somebody to go knocking on doors and asking each household if a dog lived there. It wouldn't be the certifying org's responsibility to find you and hand you the cert; it's part of taking on a SD and would be the handler's responsibility.

As somebody else pointed out, every other country in the world requires certification and don't report any of these problems...

I guess what it comes down to for me is that taking care of another living being requires a certain amount of ability. All of us here agree on that. And the ability required to care for another living being for 10+ years is so much greater than the measly half-day cert requirement that it really shouldn't be a barrier.

Somebod y mentioned that poorly-trained SDs can already be thrown out of businesses and that businesses shouldn't be afraid of court. What about a SD that was nosing items on a shelf at Target? That's the SD I saw last week. Completely in control, walking at the handlers side, but nosing some toys on a shelf and pushing them around a bit. The handler saw it but didn't seem bothered by it. We all know that that is completely inappropriate behavior, but if Target asked them to leave and Target got taken to court, it would certainly not be a clear-cut case. No, the dog was not out of control. No, the dog was not fundamentally altering the nature of the business. (Yes, you could argue that it was, but an opposing lawyer could argue equally forcefully that it wasn't.) Even with full knowledge of the ADA, businesses are rightfully scared of kicking out a dog like that.

Frankly, I am really sick of seeing displays like this, and a lot of other SD handlers are too.


Another person wrote that it would be inconvenient for a business to ask every SD handler for certification. I really wouldn't anticipate that happening. You *could* get asked for certification if there were a problem, but in general it would be just like a driver's license. You need it before you're allowed to drive, but you don't have to show it every time you get in a car. The very fact that it would be required would deter people who just want to bring Fluffy into the store; the idea that you'd need to be a certified time, like a licensed driver, would deter those people just as generally people without drivers licenses don't drive.


Happy Friday everyone smile
Lucy Ribeiro

Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 9:28am PST 
This question may be a seperate forum or not but here it goes. I dont feel any SD should be removed for any reason howeverr if you know that your a SD handler and team wouldnt you make sure to bathe your dog so they dont stink or stink very minumully unlike dogs that are pets and dont have to go into businesses.

Wouldnt that be the job of the handler to atleast make sure the pet is well groomed and smelled somewhat good? I mean I do understand it is a dog and they can and do smell at times but the funny thing is everywhere I go people compliment me on how well and nice my SD smells and feels but I spend lots of money caring for that girl.

Cooper glad to hear your having a good day thats good to hear.

Happy Friday everyone.
Lucy Ribeiro

Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 9:34am PST 
Nova in regards to the making noise of toys thing with a SD thats not the kind of behavior that can get a dog removed. Sorry I forgot to clarify it has to lead into a threatening or aggressive behavior.

Like for example a SD barking at a different person like someone shopping or showing teeth or growling or jumping and striking. Has to be AGGRESSIVE. Some SD's like mine are trained to bark in certain circumstances but those barks are directed at me and in my face only. Those are only if jumping up against me when I am having a stress related panic attack the dog is trained to jump on me and me only to try and get my focus back to being grounded and upon her. She barks as a last resort if the feeling her on me wont work then its bark like trying to shock my system to reboot. However she does also grumble very low so only I can hear her to remind me to take a medication. Things like that are signals.

The only thing that they can remove a SD from a business is AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR! I understand that grabbing a toy and making it make noise is misbehavior but thats accounted for I mean it still is a dog. However misbehaving in a aggressive manor is not allowed. It could be a danger to the other patrons and therefore the ADA will allow you to ask them to remove the dog.

Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 12:49pm PST 
Lucy, that's my point. The behavior is 100% unacceptable, but it is allowed under the ADA.

Sure, a any dog will make some mistakes, and that's to be expected and it's fine. But when the dog started licking and nosing toys, the behavior needed to be corrected the moment it started. The fact that the handler saw it and didn't think it was a problem is indicative of the fact that the handler was not ready to have a SD.
Lucy Ribeiro

Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 9:10pm PST 
Yeah Nova be that true and I do agree the behavior should have been ended immediately by the handler and that is there job to see. However the ADA will allow that. I am talking more aggressive behavior if they are being threatening yes kick them out because they could be a hazard to other people and therefore shouldnt be in a store.

Now the one that gets me is people who have a SD and dont clean or bathe them so you can smell the animal and the stank coming off it. Yes I do understand its a animal and they do stink sometimes but seeing that you have a SD shouldnt you be forced to actually clean the animal and uphold some kind of hygeine since your animal is going in front the public.
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