The Department of Justice is muddying the waters of the disabled and the use of service animals in the new definitions for what a service animal must be. In the past people have used animals of all types. Everything from a gerbil to a donkey for a wide range of disabilities including mobility, psychiatric, seizure alert, diabetic and hearing dogs.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
New Service Animal definition injures the disabled
Our current definition for service animal under the ADA is, “Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, *or other animal* individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”
The new definition is, “Service animal means any *dog* that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”
I, for one, agree with the definition that service animals should just be DOGS. I would love to have your thoughts on the subject as I am sure there are many opinions out there.
I welcome your comments and concerns. Please comment below.
Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at www.alaskadogworks.com