LEADER DOG PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
By Missionary Ken Wolfgang
I pledge allegiance to the harness of Leader Dog, and to my master for which I stand.
All nations under paws, with liberty, and independence for all!
NO DOGS ALLOWED!!!
Many churches, stores, etc. still try to get around local, state, and federal laws, and prohibit Service Animals from free access, to their facilities.
This occurs because of ignorance, prejudice, or an unwillingness to change old habits.
On the other hand. There are many Service Animal users who forget the responsibilities they have taken on themselves when using a Service Animal.
The following information is not meant, intended, implies, or otherwise attempts to replace the laws or regulations in your area. It is recommended that any questions regarding any laws, regulations, etc. be referred to an attorney, or local authority. This is because laws differ from city to city, and state to state.
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).
This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.
Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disadvantage.
Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disadvantages in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.
How “Service Animal” Is Defined
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disadvantages. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disadvantage. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.
Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.
Where Service Animals Are Allowed
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations such as churches that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disadvantages in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.
Service Animals Must Be Under Control
Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disadvantage prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:
1. is the dog a service animal, required because of a disadvantage?
2. what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Staff cannot ask about the person’s disadvantage, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.
When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
A person with a disadvantage cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:
1. the dog is out of control, and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
2. the dog is not housebroken.
When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disadvantage the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence. Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
People with disadvantages who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition. If a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals. If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disadvantage may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.
In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disadvantages. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are:
1. whether the miniature horse is housebroken.
2. whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control.
3. whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight.
4. whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.
We have found that many businesses and churches across the country have prohibited individuals with disadvantages who use service animals from entering their premises, in many instances because of prejudice, ignorance, or confusion about the animal’s appropriate use. This document provides specific information about the legal requirements regarding individuals with disadvantages who use service animals. It was prepared by the Task Force to assist businesses and churches in complying “VOLUNTARILY” with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and applicable state laws.
24 state attorneys general * are distributing a similar document (including state specific requirements) to associations representing churches, restaurants, hotels and motels, and retailers for dissemination to their members.
We encourage you to share this with businesses, churches, and people with disadvantages and their families in your community.
Deval L. Patrick Scott Harshbarger
Assistant Attorney GeneralAttorney General
Civil Rights DivisionState of Massachusetts;
U.S. Department of JusticePresident, National Association of Attorneys General
* Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SERVICE ANIMALS IN churches or PLACES OF BUSINESS.
Q. What are the laws that apply to my church or business?
A. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses or churches that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, churches, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disadvantages. The ADA requires these businesses or churches to allow people with disadvantages to bring their service animals onto business or church premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
Q. What is a service animal?
A. The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disadvantage. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disadvantage cannot perform for him or herself. “Seeing eye dogs” are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disadvantages in their day to day activities. Some examples include:
1. Alerting persons with hearing inconveniences to sounds.
2. Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility inconveniences.
3. Assisting persons with mobility inconveniences with balance.
Q. How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
A. Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disadvantage. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disadvantage. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disadvantage.
Q. What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my church or business?
A. The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disadvantage to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.
Q. I have always had a clearly posted “no pets” policy at my establishment. Do I still have to allow service animals in?
A. Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your “no pets” policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disadvantage. This does not mean you must abandon your “no pets” policy altogether but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.
Q. My county health department has told me that only a seeing eye or guide dog has to be admitted. If I follow those regulations, am I violating the ADA?
A. Yes, if you refuse to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disadvantages and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.
Q. Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business or church?
A. No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disadvantage as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disadvantage, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disadvantages if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disadvantaged customers for the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disadvantage for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel’s policy to charge when non-disadvantaged guests cause such damage.
Q. I operate a private taxicab and I don’t want animals in my taxi; they smell, shed hair and sometimes have “accidents.” Am I violating the ADA if I refuse to pick up someone with a service animal?
A. Yes. Taxicab companies may not refuse to provide services to individuals with disadvantages. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disadvantages and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.
Q. Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disadvantage is in my church or business?
A. No. The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. You are not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.
Q. What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?
A. You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually. Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disadvantage who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.
Q. Can I exclude an animal that doesn’t really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business or church?
A. There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal that is when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the church or business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, churches, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.
If you have further questions about service animals or other requirements of the ADA.
You may call the U.S. Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA Information Line at:
In breif simple down to earth terms.
If a Service Animal user is not doing their part a church, store, etc. may forbid the handler from entry until they have met their responsibilities or they may promit entry without the Service Animal’s presence.
By the same token, if the Service Animal’s master has their Service Animal under control, etc. then NO matter what a church, store, etc. may personally feel, or believe about the blind person, or blind people in general, the Service Animal, or Animals in general. They MUST comply with local, state, & federal laws!!!
Check out our other helpful hints!!!
Take The Lead!!!
It’s as easy as walking!
You can be a GPS for the visually disadvantaged!!!
Translate visual directions that a blind person can see!
I can’t tell time except with a digital display!!!
Help get your friend’s food out of a time warp!
Don’t Pet Me I’m Working!!!
Is this cruelty or necessity?
You be the judge!
Put those wheels to work for JESUS!!!
Think outside of doors, ramps, and grab bars!
Help those with mobility challenges reach their full potential in Christ!
What did you say???
Think outside of the signs!!!
Handy ideas for making those with hearing inconveniences feel welcome.