Let’s Show Some Respect for Service Dogs and Their Owners

06/03/2020 | by nicole dawn reiber | Blog
Pssst, we are NOT service animals!

Service animals are dogs that are trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of these tasks include assisting individuals who are visually or hearing impaired, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving items and alerting the individual to safety hazards. 

Only dogs are considered service animals; other species do not qualify. Providing emotional support, well-being or companionship are not approved tasks under the legal definition of service animal. Dogs must be trained to mitigate the effects of a disability to qualify as a service animal. 

Service dogs are permitted at all public facilities and private businesses as long as the dog does not interfere with the facility’s safety requirements. Service animals must be under the owner’s control – if not housebroken or out of control of the individual, the private or public facility may ask the individual to remove the animal. The public facility or private business is not responsible for the care of the service animal.

 

They Are Not All the Same

Service animals: 

  • Are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and afforded rights to enter public establishments.
  • Are trained to assist a single person.
  • May live with owners regardless of pet policies under the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • May fly with their disabled owner in the cabin of an aircraft as part of the federal Air Carrier Access Act.

Therapy animals:

  • Provide emotional support or comfort to a number of different people in various settings (e.g., visiting hospital patients, comforting witnesses during court testimony or offering support to trauma survivors).
  • Are not considered a service animal under the law and are not covered by or afforded rights through the ADA.

Emotional support animals:

  • Provide emotional support through companionship.
  • May fly with their disabled owner in the cabin of an aircraft as part of the federal Air Carrier Access Act with adequate documentation from a licensed health care professional and with sufficient notice.
  • Are not considered a service animal under the law and are not covered by or afforded rights through the ADA.

 

The Unfortunate Abuse of the Service Dog Title

Problems have arisen because there is not a governing body regulating the use or licensure of service animals and public awareness of service animal qualities is limited. Instead of honoring specially trained dogs for the job they do, many people have purposefully and selfishly misrepresented their dog to be a service dog. Emotional support animals have wrongfully gained access to establishments under the guise of being a service animal when they were not properly trained. Bringing untrained animals into any setting puts everyone at risk and these dogs have damaged property, fought with other animals, attacked and bitten people. These are never the behaviors of service dogs who are highly trained to focus on their owners’ personal needs as well as always exhibit appropriate public behaviors.

Business owners have become skeptical of real service dogs, unscrupulous people and abuse of the “service dog” title. Confusion and frustration has led to actual service animals being unfairly and illegally denied access to public and private establishments. This negatively impacts individuals with disabilities who depend on service dogs to maintain their independence with activities of daily living. 

Most people would never intentionally harm those who are truly disabled and need special assistance. Yet in recent years many people have purchased fake certificates, service dog vests, patches and backpacks to enable their pets to enter restaurants, ride in airplane cabins or enjoy other special accommodations intended for people with disabilities. This behavior is dishonest and negatively affects people with disabilities! It’s also against the law in many states and can lead to a hefty fine or prison time. 

 

Taking Fido With You

Understandably, pet lovers may want to travel with their pets and some vacation homes and hotels allow this. Dogs are most often permitted in pet-friendly dwellings; cats less so. Usually there is a pet fee to cover the cost of the follow-up cleaning that is necessary to protect guests with animal allergies as well as the liability of allowing pets in an establishment. Telling the reservation staff your dog is a service animal to avoid the pet fee, when in fact it’s not, is illegal and more importantly, shows candid disregard for people with disabilities and their highly trained service animals. 

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Arizona Vacation Home Rentals acknowledges the importance of service dogs and adheres to all service animals laws as guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

To protect our homeowners and guests with allergies, no pets or emotional support animals are permitted in any of our homes. Arizona’s service animal law makes it illegal to falsely misrepresent your dog to be a service animal in public places and businesses. Fines are imposed for each violation.

Please contact Arizona Vacation Home Rentals directly with questions or concerns.

info@AZVacationHomeRentals.com            tel: 480.626.4072

 

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