Letter: Don’t ruin it for service dogs
A very good friend of mine has need of a service dog to help him through his daily life. This dog has a number of outstanding skills acquired through years of rigorous training. Under federal law this dog has the right to remain with his human partner wherever he may go. Without him the gentleman in question would not be able to lead a mostly independent life.
That being said, many are ruining this luxury for him; people who claim their dog is a service dog when in fact it is not, or otherwise people with emotional support dogs or therapy dogs (which are not required to be professionally trained) who insist they bring their dog to lunch. If your dog is not a certified, card-carrying service dog, then it is not protected under federal or state laws in public places where otherwise animals are prohibited.
I love dogs, I would love to take one with me wherever I go, but there are laws that govern such things. So the next time you decide to take your uncertified dog into a public place that prohibits pets, especially one where it is a health code violation, please remember you are not only putting that business owner at risk just so you could have Toodles out to brunch, but you may be endangering those with serious or life-threatening allergies.
If you have any more questions concerning your dog’s rights and freedoms or the differences between service animals and emotional support or therapy animals, you can visit a number of websites including http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm, http://pleasedontpetme.com, http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm, https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet as well as your local government offices. Please refrain from taking advantage of local businesses or exploiting such an amazing benefit put in place for those who truly need it.
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