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Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!

microscopic mutt
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 2:02pm PST 
Hey Sam! So thrilled to hear that your VA finally got its act together. I'm just sorry that you vets had to work so hard for your rights. What I posted seemed straightforward enough to me; it's kind of mind-boggling to me that a bunch of supposedly adult humans would misunderstand it.

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your celebration today!

dancing wishes party cheer
» There has since been 20 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!

microscopic mutt
Barked: Sun Sep 29, '13 9:33pm PST 
Sam wrote:

Hey Cooper! Just a note about the DOJ and ADI. The DOJ has, indeed, shown a preference now...the DOJ now requires service dogs that are taken into places like the VA medical centers to have been trained by an ADI certified trainer. It was signed into the 2010 update to the ADA.

Well... I THINK I know what you're talking about, but there are enough differences between what you said here and what I know to be true that I'm a little confused. So I'm going to talk a little bit here about my understanding of things and maybe together between the two of us we can make some sense out of this.

First, the ADA does not apply to federally-owned facilities like VA hospitals. One part of it (Title II) applies to state and local governments and another part of it (Title III) applies to privately-owned property. But federally-owned facilities are explicitly exempted from the ADA.

Both the VA and the DOJ are part of the executive branch of government.

* The VA is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is a cabinet-level department.

* The DOJ is itself a cabinet-level department.

Here is the most important thing to know:

The DOJ does not tell the VA what to do. The VA does not tell the DOJ what to do. They are completely separate.

Now, of course it's very true that the DOJ made a whole bunch of changes to the ADA in 2010. They were first published on 9/15/2010 and then went into effect 3/15/2011. But you can see for yourself that neither of the two sections that pertain to service animals say anything about the VA:

ADA Title II (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services)
http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations. htm

ADA Title III (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities)
http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulation s.htm

What I think you may be thinking of is a set of revisions that the Department of Veterans Affairs made to their regulations on 9/5/2012. Those changes related to the VA paying for certain expenses related to having an SD - but not for the cost of obtaining a dog, not for psych dogs, and only for dogs from ADI and IGDF programs.

Those changes DID NOT pertain to access in any way. What the authors had to say about that was as follows:

We reiterate that this rulemaking does not address the issue of access to VA health care facilities by individuals accompanied by service dogs, and will not be used to determine whether a particular service dog will be allowed to enter a VA facility. Comments that allege unlawful violations of access rights or raise other issues relating to access to VA facilities, therefore, are beyond the scope of this rule. Therefore, we make no changes based on these comments. A certificate [from an ADI or IGDF program] is required under § 17.148(c)(1) only to enable the veteran to receive service dog benefits, but is not required to gain entry to VA facilities. This rulemaking does not permit or prohibit the access of service dogs to VA health care facilities.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/09/ 05/2012-21784/service-dogs

So that's what I know: if they also made changes to regulations regarding access I haven't heard about it (and I think I would've). And please put the blame for that last and (IMHO) lame and half-assed rule change on the Department of Veterans Affairs, not on the DOJ. The DOJ isn't perfect, but they're generally sort of the good guys. I hate to see them taking the heat for something they had nothing to do with.
» There has since been 22 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!


microscopic mutt
Barked: Sat Sep 28, '13 12:55am PST 
I really should go to bed - for one thing, even *I* am getting tired of hearing myself talk at this point smile - but I just can't help making just one more post. Nova, I'll reply to you tomorrow.

This one is for all the owner-trainers out there.

Whenever certification is talked about, an assumption is made that goes unsaid: that certification would either involve the ADI PAT or else something very much like it.

Personally I think that that is a very bad assumption. DOJ would be making the decision as to what form the certification process could take, and to date they haven't seemed too eager to roll over and play dead when it comes to ADI. DOJ goes its own way, and there's no reason to assume that ADI would would play much of a role in developing the certification program (much as they'd like to, of course).

(By the way, I haven't changed my opinion that it'll be a cold day in hell when the DOJ mandates certification, but that's a different argument. Right now I'm playing make-believe.)

So what would a certification test look like if it wasn't like the ADI PAT? Hmmm... the main thing is that there would be some process by which a dog/handler team would be evaluated and at the end there would be a clear answer: YES, the dog is a service dog or NO, it is not a service dog.

As it happens, a process that fits those criteria already exists, and on top of that it's about a hundred million billion times as important as the PAT is. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating just a LITTLE bit on the relative importance, but you get the idea. I'm talking about the court system, and the process by which judges determine whether a dog is an SD or not.

That's the one and only way to tell if a dog is legally an SD. I've read well over a hundred court decisions involving SDs at this point in time, and I haven't seen one single reference to ADI in any of them. And I haven't seen single reference to a PAT in a court decision either. Legally, those two things don't seem to exist. Of course some judge somewhere sometime might take a PAT into consideration, but I haven't seen it even though I've read all of the SD caselaw I've been able to locate.

So here's what I've been leading up to. (Remember, this is for the owner-trainers out there.)

* If you had to go to court tomorrow and pass the "judge test" in order to get certified, many of you - maybe most - would be told you'd be told "NO, YOUR DOG IS NOT A SD". I'm not saying that that's right or wrong, just that it's the way it is.

* I'm different. If my dog had to pass the "judge test", I wouldn't have the same problem. I'd likely be told "YES, YOUR DOG IS A SD". (That's assuming that he'd completed his training by then, which he hasn't yet.)

Sorry, I know that sounds arrogant as hell, but it's true. And to make matters worse, I'm not going to tell you WHY it's true. If you want to know the answer, start here: --> http://leagle.com The answer is hiding in plain sight: it comes up in case after case. Not in every single one, but frequently enough that it's obvious after reading relatively few cases.

So if you advocate for certification, keep in mind that it very well might be more like the process judges use than it is like the PAT. And don't be so darned sure that you'd pass.

Are you still in favor of certification?
» There has since been 38 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!


microscopic mutt
Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 11:23pm PST 
laugh out loud Lucy - what, do think that people here are stupid or something? laugh out loud Anyone who's been paying attention knows that your problems with me started when I pointed out that there's no meaningful certification for owner-trained dogs. (Well, there are ADI outreach programs but I think there are only three or so of those left in the US so their impact is very minimal.) Call that turning something (what?) into a negative if you want - but it's the plain and simple truth. You also talked about taking "license exams" and I asked you what you meant by that. You weaseled out of answering, just saying that you'd taken "all the exams". And that's pretty much a "what the heck" because there's only ONE thing that people are talking about when they talk about certification, and that's the Public Access Test (PAT). And of course it's always possible that someone has taken a PAT without knowing what it's called, but that just seems like that would be a really weird thing, OK?

So it's not surprising that you don't like me: it appears that I've trampled on some beliefs that are pretty important to you. I assure you that it was through clumsiness rather than malice. And it's fine with me if you don't reply to my posts - I hardly need another BFF. laugh out loud

But know this: you really can not post egregiously wrong information here (like "The only thing that they can remove a SD from a business is AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR!" for instance) without it going unquestioned by me or someone else here. And that's not "being negative" or intended to make you feel bad. It's because the people here need accurate information - that goes for those who are thinking about getting an SD, as well as those who already have SDiTs and SDs. So try not to take things so personally, OK?
» There has since been 39 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!


microscopic mutt
Barked: Fri Sep 27, '13 9:25pm PST 
Lucy wrote:

The only thing that they can remove a SD from a business is AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR!

Oh dear... I'm so sorry, Lucy... I really hate to be the one to be the one to tell you this, but... whoever sold you your copy of the ADA ripped you off. laugh out loud

*MY* copy of 28 CFR Part 36 (that's Title III of the ADA, the part dealing with public accommodations) reads as follows:

§ 36.302 (c) Service animals.

(1) General. Generally, a public accommodation shall modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
(2) Exceptions. A public accommodation may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if:
(i) The animal is out of control and the animal´s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
(ii) The animal is not housebroken.

(See, I'm trying to keep things light and friendly this time... smile )
» There has since been 41 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!

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.
» There has since been 47 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!


microscopic mutt
Barked: Wed Sep 25, '13 8:42pm PST 
Nova wrote:

And to those who say "people who are going to break the law will break the law regardless of barriers in their way,"

That would actually be about the last thing on my mind. What I wonder about is the thought of anyone who would spend their time and energy fantasizing about creating new barriers for the disabled. Personally I find that more than a little creepy - kind of like stealing a wheelchair, or kicking a crutch out from under someone who's using it.

It's a moot point, however. Unless the entire civil rights division of the DOJ burns to the ground and comes back to life in a VERY different form, they simply ARE NOT going to go into the business of regulating dog training and behavior. big grin So fantasize away. It's not going to make one iota of difference anyway.

blue dog
Approved by forums moderator
» There has since been 57 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > ADA require paperwork!!


microscopic mutt
Barked: Tue Sep 24, '13 2:11pm PST 
Lucy wrote:

I did educate the store and alerted the store manager that if a dog behaves that way even if it has a vest like my dog and tags and so certification like mine ...

I also have taken the license exams which arent required but I did them anyways.

So. You seem to believe that your SD is already certified. big laugh I hate to be the one to break it to you but she's not - at least not in any kind of meaningful way.

Why can I say that with such confidence? Because there IS no meaningful certification for owner-trained service dogs.

Oh sure, you can spend a few bucks for a vest and an ID card from FreeMyPaws or USSDR or one of their ilk - but of course, so can everybody else. A trained dog isn't necessary; heck, dog ownership isn't even required (I've heard of people registering a bicycle and a hamster with USSDR). So if your dog's "certification" came from one of those places, you gave your money to one of the biggest contributors to faking that exists.

Then there's the ADI/IGDB model that Nova likes so much. The way that one works is simple. When a dog is ready to graduate from one of those programs, they fire up a laser printer and print out a certificate that reads something like "{Schoolname} certifies that {dogname} has met our training standards and is hereby a fully qualified service dog." There's nothing stopping you from going to Kinkos and doing the same thing; just substitute your name for {schoolname}. Or, heck, just make up your own school name! Lots of creativity possible with this one.

I'm very confused about your reference to "license exams" - could you elaborate on that? On the other hand, you previously mentioned being in California so I assume that when you mentioned tags you were talking about the California service dog tag. That's absolutely no big deal to get - all you have to do is sign an affidavit saying that your dog is an SD or SDiT. Notice this part: ---> SDiT
» There has since been 62 posts. Last posting by , Nov 1 4:27 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > HELP SD Question


microscopic mutt
Barked: Sat Sep 21, '13 8:20pm PST 
You should be able to take her with you and have one of the technicians hold her leash while the MRI is being done.

Um... no. The ADA says "A public accommodation is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal." So while medical staff may sometimes VOLUNTEER to help with your dog, you cannot rely on them to do so. It's best to BYOD (bring your own dog-holder) or else you may run a chance of having to go home without medical care that day.
» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Sep 21 8:20 pm

Service & Therapy Dogs > Access question. Antique car show NO dogs allowed

microscopic mutt
Barked: Wed Sep 18, '13 6:09pm PST 

That's what to shoot for, although it's hard to imagine anyone else doing it as well as Debi does.

(As always, remove any extra spaces that Dogster inserted into the URL.)
» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Sep 18 7:26 pm

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