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Author Topic: Service dogs
Frank Cox
Film God

Posts: 2234
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011

 - posted 03-23-2015 10:09 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just finished reading this article:

B.C. service-animal owners to require licence as family pets increasingly passed off as guide dogs

VANCOUVER — They may continue to overrun grocery stores and airplane cabins in the rest of the continent, but a new provincial law is declaring fake service animals will no longer be welcome in British Columbia.

“I think it’s a game changer and a really bold move on the part of the government,” said William Thornton, co-founder of B.C. Guide Dog Services.

The Guide Dog & Service Dog Act, which had its second reading in the B.C. legislature Monday, would provide the province’s guide-dog owners with government-issued identification, similar to a driver’s licence.

B.C.’s current system, which uses wallet-cards issued by certified guide dog training facilities, has found itself wide open to abuse in recent years.
Facebook/Government of British Columbia

More and more pet owners have equipped their dogs with unlicensed “service dog” capes and fraudulent identification. Business owners, wary of confrontation or legal trouble, are often afraid to intervene.

Laura Watamanuk, executive director of the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, said she frequently receives calls reporting suspicious activity, such as “service dogs” barking continually or sitting in chairs at restaurants.

“We receive calls from transit, public libraries, restaurants, you name, it’s regular,” she said.

I've seen a lot of fake service dog jackets but this guy's pit bull has one sez PTSD DOG. guy is abt 80 & drunk
Wayne Wisecarver (@turkfontaine) October 22, 2014

The uncertified dogs will sometimes be backed by doctors’ notes, but Ms. Watamanuk warned “doctors don’t have the expertise to determine if that dog is of good enough behaviour to be out in public.”

Online, a cottage industry has boomed, offering service dog apparel and “no-dispute” service dog IDs.

An eBay seller of homemade “certified service dog cards” boasts “my dog flies on all major airlines with me at no charge, as well as stays in all the hotels with me at no charge.”

At, meanwhile, an ID card kit goes for $70, while an official-looking service dog cape costs $20.

Social media across North America abound with images of “service dogs,” wearing pink cowboy hats, defecating in airplane aisles or getting into fights with other uncertified service dogs.

Wonder if @9news or @denvernews wants to meet this guy at the gate? Fake service dog bugging other passengers.
Veteran Traveler (@veterantraveler) December 10, 2013

In a recent post to Reddit, a U.S. university student described sitting through a lecture while enduring an alleged service dog that “constantly whines and jumps up onto people’s desks.”

The trend has also hit Hollywood. Canadian-born actor Ryan Gosling and Man of Steel star Henry Cavill, among others, are known to fly with uncertified “emotional support dogs.”

Mr. Thornton said he rarely visits downtown Vancouver without spotting an uncertified service dog,

He outlines a few telltale signs to spot a “fraudulent: dog: The animal will be misbehaving, its cape will say “threatening things” like “legal access” or “service dog,” and the owner will become unusually loud and defensive when questioned.

“It’s just seemed to explode,” said Lynn Raloff, head of the Guide Dog Users of Canada’s recently formed fake service dog committee.

Fake service dogs are giving real guide dogs a bad name and undoing “all the fighting we’ve done,” added Ms. Raloff, who is blind and has a black Labrador guide dog.

Not only that, they are filling public places with untrained dogs prone to attack the legitimate guide dogs, she says.

“This is a very pet-oriented society … so when people see a legitimate dog they think, ‘Well why not my dog?’ ” she said. “But they don’t realize the ramifications.”

In addition to controlling guide dog certification, the new B.C. act would allow guide dogs the ability to stay with their owners after their retirement even if they live in a pet-free residence.

And, while prior B.C. disability laws governed “service animals,” the new act narrows the field strictly to “service dogs.”

Along with the rise of fake service dogs has come a wave of non-canine service animals, such parrots, capuchin monkeys, pot-bellied pigs and even miniature horses.

I've never yet had anyone try to bring a dog (or other critter) in, but as far as I know around here it's a service dog if you say it's a service dog. Never heard anything about certification and wouldn't have any idea how to check it when someone shows up in the box office line-up with a dog if it ever happened.

But it got me to thinking: How do you folks handle service dogs? What distinguishes a genuine service dog from little Foo Foo with a cute "Service Dog" hat and balllerina tutu?

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2253
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 03-23-2015 10:28 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One someone says it's a service dog, we don't even question is further. It is not worth the risk of litigation for something that I am not properly qualified to judge. I have spoken with the health department about the issue and they say they are not concerned as long as the dogs are not going around the concession area.

I am aware that some people with disabilities do legitimately benefit from a service dog - and not just seeing eye dogs. But it galls me when you know it's someone who just can't stand to leave their little lap dog at home.

I would love to see the state provide a service animal license which includes a picture of the animal and the owner, as well as the government giving businesses the freedom to prohibit unlicensed animals without fear of litigation.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12814
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 03-24-2015 06:43 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm amazed that it isn't a licensed practice already. Not just for businesses to know to allow such an animal in a public space (there are health and safety reasons here...a proper service dog is an amazing animal if you've ever seen one in action) but also as a safety concern for someone that needs said animal. How are they to know that the animal meets the needs?

I agree, that a service dog should have a license and possible photo ID on at all times. One shouldn't even need to question the site of one...again, a "real" one is clearly not an issue and MUCH better behaved than the other patrons.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-24-2015 09:36 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The problem is people who "self certify" their service dogs. Little old women who can't let their little rat dogs out of their sight for a second who claim they have them for anxiety disorder.

We once had someone come into our theatre with a service dog in training. It tried to attack the first people it saw.

We've had a few real service dogs over the years, they weren't a problem, but I still would prefer not to have them in the theatre.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005

 - posted 03-25-2015 11:55 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, good. I thought this topic was going to be about travelling cinema service guys who haven't been home in too long.

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 854
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014

 - posted 03-25-2015 04:21 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In California and possible the rest of the US it is illegal to ask for proof that it is a service dog. The thinking as I understand it is asking for proof of their disability.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 03-25-2015 08:29 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think it's illegal to ask for proof of disability. What's illegal is asking what kind of disability they have.

(At least, that's the way I understand the law in Montana to be.)

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2253
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 03-25-2015 09:18 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is from the Justice Department.
Justice Department info on service animals.


1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

2. 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 disability. 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 disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide 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 disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.

3. 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 disability. 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 disability. 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 disability.

4. Q: What must I do when an individual with a service animal comes to my business?

A: The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability 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.

5. 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 disability. 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.

6. Q: My county health department has told me that only a 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 disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.

7. Q: Can I charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into my business?

A: No. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disabilities if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disabled customers for the same types of damages. For example, a hotel can charge a guest with a disability for the cost of repairing or cleaning furniture damaged by a service animal if it is the hotel's policy to charge when non-disabled guests cause such damage.

8. 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 disabilities. Private taxicab companies are also prohibited from charging higher fares or fees for transporting individuals with disabilities and their service animals than they charge to other persons for the same or equivalent service.

9. Q: Am I responsible for the animal while the person with a disability is in my 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.

10. 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 disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.

11. Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?

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 business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, 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 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TDD).

July 1996
Reproduction of this document is encouraged.
updated January 14, 2008

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 894
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

 - posted 03-31-2015 11:05 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
^^^That's the doc we have posted in our back room and what we go by.

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