Service Dog - how so?

shaunAugust 12, 2009

I was in the grocery store and saw a woman with her chihuahua in the front of the cart. The cashier and I were talking and she told me it was a service dog.

What do you think this chihuahua does for it's owner? Is it possible that it would alert her if she was going to have a seizure or something like that?

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My sister's chihuahua is registered as a service dog - He is trained to alert her when her blood sugar is low which can result in a diabetic seizure.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 11:34PM
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It may depend on the state? I know people who live in a building here in NYC that has a strict no pets clause in the lease. They wanted to get an adult dachshund that had become available from a breeder. The wife is confined to a wheelchair. The condo board initially said no. They consulted a lawyer who assured them that as long as the dog was licensed in the name of the handicapped person and declared as such, it would have to be accepted as a 'service dog' proof of special training required. They got the dog and the condo had to comply with the law.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 12:46PM
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I guess that would make no sense to me...For example, I am disabled/on Social Security due to a horrible injury that broke my neck.back. If I took my dog somewhere, she has no particular training- how would a dog be considered 'service'?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 1:59PM
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This law may be peculiar to New York City where a lot of laws don't make sense! The difficulty here is getting ones self declared legally handicapped in order to qualify for things like parking permits and 1/2 fare on buses. One has to go to a special city doctor to be examined and the requirements are quite tight.

These people have been living with their pup in the condo for a couple years now. All it took was one lawyer's letter and their condo board backed down. The wife takes the dachshund in her scooter basket everywhere she goes and has never been denied entry.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:01PM
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Any animal can be deemed a "service animal" if a doctor signs a form saying the person could benefit from having it. I work for a low income housing agency, and we have a no pet policy. However, anyone can go to the doctor and have them sign a form stating that the tenants health/mental health/whatever would benefit from a pet. We are legally required to allow any person to have any pet if that form is signed. You are also not legally allowed to ask why the person needs a service animal. We have lots of "service cats" in my building. Every single person with a pet in my building has their pets for mental health reasons. Not one due to a physical disability. It's very easy to get a "service animal" and all apartments, rental houses, etc...are forced to comply with the law.

That's the law in WA state anyways.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:08PM
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See the link below for FAQs on service dogs per the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Note: the ADA is Federal Law and over-rides individual State laws.

The ADA is very flexible. I very much approve of that given the diversity of disabilities and the extraordinary ability of animals to alert their people to any number of situations. However, the ADA's very flexibility makes it subject to abuse.

I have absolutely no patience with able bodied people who want to pass off sweet little "Fluffy" as a service animal just because they want "Fluffy" with them at all times. An untrained "Fluffy" with a selfish owner can jeopardize the rights of people with genuine disabilities and the real service animals whose presence may make the difference between life and death to their owners.

Just saying.

Here is a link that might be useful: ADA FAQ

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 7:59PM
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Yeah, we had a colleague last summer who was looking for an apartment, and also wanted to get a dog.

Colleague #2 said "all you have to do is get a letter from your doctor saying it's a service animal and the landlord has to let it in." and she knew this, she said, because her sister had done it.

Colleague #1 mumbled something about starting out on the wrong foot by lying to one's new landlord.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:18PM
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