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Thread: I'm disabled!

  1. #11
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Lin The ADA has not recognized Emotional Support Animals. When I had a Federal job I did refuse a woman entry with a dog she claimed was an Emotional Support Animal. I didn't make the rules, just had to follow them and at that time these kinds of animals had no protection. Are you saying that the ADA has changed and now recognizes them?

  2. #12
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Grommet, its a bit of a confusing subject. An emotional support animal is NOT the same as a service dog, so you did correctly refusing entry. Many people misunderstand the differences between different types of "working" animals. When it comes to public access, service animals are allowed places because the disabled individual has the right to be accompanied by them, the animal itself has no rights. Due to the nature of this forum, again consider the service dog like a wheelchair. It would be discrimination to refuse someone entry on the basis of using a wheelchair, and so its discrimination to refuse entry on the basis of using a service animal. Therapy dogs have no public access, thats one that comes up a lot. Much of this can be due to confusion and not outright fraud/fakery. There are some people with therapy dogs that honestly believe their dog is allowed anywhere. But therapy dogs are only allowed invited access so to speak. This is because the handler is not disabled, and so does not require the use of the dog in public. But therapy dogs can be INVITED access into hospitals, nursing homes, etc to work with the patients/clients. Similarly, search and rescue dogs are not allowed out in public where pets are not allowed unless they are actively working. Many people do not understand this, and while training a search and rescue dog misunderstand where they are able to take the dog to work on training.

    Now emotional support animals are not the same as service dogs at all, the main reason being no training is required for the status of an ESA. A service dog must be trained in obedience, public access work, and service tasks (that part being the specific tasks to mitigate the handlers disability.) ESA's are only allowed in no pet housing, and on airplanes. They are NOT allowed in public where pets are not. The reason for this is they are covered under the Fair Housing Act for housing, and Air Carrier Access Act for airplanes. Another difference is the requirement of a letter from a health professional stating that the ESA is a part of the individuals treatment for the psychiatric condition, while paperwork can not be requested for access of a service animal. To qualify for use of a service animal in public you must also meet the legal definition of disability, while to use a ESA you just need to be considered disabled by your condition on the basis of the treating physician who has prescribed the use of the ESA as a part of your treatment plan.

    To complicate matters even more, you mentioned your job was a federal one? If you were working at a government office, service animal access would not be covered by the ADA but rather section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This area is not one that I work with regularly so any specific questions to it would take a little more time as I contact others in the organization who are more familiar with it as well as double checking my info.

    Another thing to complicate matters with service animals is the difference between public and private access. For example, a court room is not considered a public space and whether you are allowed to be accompanied by your service animal is at the discretion of the judge. Similarly you cannot of course demand your service animal be brought into someones house purely because its a service animal. I also bring this up because there are different types of housing, and service animals or ESA's are not required to be allowed in all types of housing. This is where its important for the landlord to be familiar with the Fair Housing Act to best protect themselves, and the same of the service dog handler. For example, an individual who is renting out rooms in a house they are living in is not required to permit a service animal. If the individual is not living in the house and is renting out 4 or more rooms to tenants, they are required to permit the service animal. Similarly some bed and breakfast type places may not be required to permit SDs on the basis of the amount of rooms they are renting excluding them.

    Much of the exclusions so to speak fall under the requirement of requests being reasonable, and what is currently considered unreasonable under law. Similarly, some public places may restrict service dogs in certain areas if it would result in a fundamental alteration or safety hazard to those areas. Examples where this may come up is areas of a Zoo, Hospital, Drs office, etc. Again you can compare it to wheelchairs, for example a business would not be required to make an entry wheelchair accessible if it would result in a fundamental alteration thats unreasonable such as a historical building that cannot be changed and has steps directly from the street with no room to install a ramp. To go back to the OP in this thread, multiple service dogs in a single home can also come up. If there is a single individual who is disabled in the home its pretty rare that they are going to have a reasonable request to have more than one service animal, they would have to be able to prove in court if required the reasons that one dog or the other (or a new service dog entirely) is unable to meet all of their needs. However if there is more than one individual in the home that is disabled, they may very well be a multiple service animal home. There are some married posters here on the forum where both husband and wife are disabled and so if they each had their own service dog that would be reasonable.

    Monkeys as service animals were never intended to be used in public outside the home, and the reputable organizations that train and place these animals state so. They are not the social public type of animal as a dog, and there have been issues such as monkeys biting people out in public. This may be a bit unfortunate for the individuals that gain independence by the use of a monkey at home. However, everything the monkey performs at home can be performed by another individual when out in public. Similar with service dogs, of course everything a service dog is trained to do can be performed by another person however service dogs give their handlers an increased independence. Its just not reasonable for certain species of animals to work out in public access which is why the definition of service animal was changed to cover only dogs. Prior to this there were individuals who claimed all sorts of service animal species, including full sized horses and even a snake. Now even before the change in the law, of course the reasonableness of such an animal in certain places or performing certain tasks could be brought up to refuse access.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

  3. #13
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I know what you mean ... everyone wants to claim disabled 'to get away with something.' I can't believe the number of people who have told me just to tell businesses etc that Em is a service dog. She is not - she is not certified nor registered as one and is not labelled as one either ... and I'm not going to lie about it.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    There is actually no such thing as a certified or registered service dog, there is no federal or acknowledged program for either. Individual service dog training organizations may offer a certification when training is completed, but this only means anything to the individual organization and nothing to the law or for public access. There are various reasons why things are set up this way, such as giving the individuals with disabilities the most freedom to acquire and use service dogs such as owner training as well as serious issues with actually implementing such programs. The positive is the greater rights for those with disabilities, the negative is making it easier for people to skirt the laws.

    I've been told various things before as well be people online, which is always slightly amusing because it was always in reference to a pet dog I had and with them not realizing I actually already had a service dog in addition to my pet dog. But nothing makes me more upset. I think those with disabilities who abuse the rights afforded to us are even worse, because I expect us to have a greater understanding and respect of the difference such rights make in independence and ease of life. Ignorance isn't a valid excuse, but I do understand there are many people out there that truly don't understand what harm it is doing to fake a service dog. And think its even easier if you're obviously disabled, because you're not as likely to be questioned about your dog.

    While there is no certification or registration and places of business are not allowed to ask for such things or any paperwork to allow access, there are the ways to weed out fakers. You can always ask if the dog is a service dog, what kind of service dog (examples include mobility dog, guide dog, seizure response dog, psychiatric service dog etc) and what tasks the dog performs for its handler. The law requires multiple tasks that are specifically trained to mitigate the handlers disability and so I generally advise that if the individual can not easily rattle off 3 tasks the dog performs that you should be wary. If the individual cannot answer these 3 questions correctly, you are covered as for your reasons to not allow access if the individual was to take the case to court. And like I said before if its a faker its unlikely it would go to court. If a case is taken to court, regardless of which side takes it there, the individual with the service dog is going to have to prove that they: meet the legal definition for disabled, their dogs status as a service dog in regards to obedience, public access training, and service tasks. The judge has the ability to deem you not disabled or your dog not a valid service animal. There have been idiots who took things to court only to get themselves deemed as not disabled and not only not have their dog be a service dog but not have the ability to HAVE a service dog unless their disability worsens. Some judges have ruled to prevent individuals from ever having service dogs. And as I've mentioned before, some states consider faking a service dog to be fraud and have serious consequences. If the moral implications of faking a service dog won't change someone, hopefully the fear of consequences can help.

    A major moral implication being causing problems for actual service dog handlers as a result of your dogs behavior. This is another reason why I personally hold others that are disabled to a higher standing, we understand how difficult it can be to accomplish things others take for granted. No one appreciates being stopped at the end of a long day trying to run into a grocery store and get a couple items so you're able to eat dinner. When businesses have been burned by the behavior of fake service dogs, they may prevent actual service dogs and handlers from access, take a lot of time questioning you before access (may or may not include questions they legally are not allowed to ask but don't know), following you around the business to ensure your dog doesn't behave poorly, etc. Service dog handlers usually understand that when out in public they are representing all service dog handlers. Service dog fakers generally don't give a shit, and have put no thought into how their behavior is going to affect others after.

    The couple I mentioned earlier, on top of their behavior with purchasing fake certificates online (and these scams are awful because its not only fakers that use them, there are actual service dog handlers that pay them either out of lack of knowledge or in a desperate attempt to make public access easier. However these programs hurt the entire community, as businesses may believe such things are required for access and prevent valid handlers as a result) their dogs didn't meet the basic requirements of a PET. Meaning, they were not housebroken. At all. And the couple frequently did not clean up after them. It got to be that walking past their door you could smell it. Luckily it didn't last too long because they took off after not paying rent for a while. Unfortunately, I had to participate in cleaning the place after they left. If someone fakes a service dog like that and succeeds, they may burn that landlord and cause problems down the line for valid handlers.

    Not every dog has what it takes to be a service dog, in fact most don't. It was pretty crushing to me when I had to wash out my dog Emma from service training. However she will never go anywhere and has had a pretty cushy spoiled status as a pet anyway And she's probably better off for it as well, she doesn't have the drive for work as my SD Tessa did. Tessa loved to work, she got so excited as soon as she saw her working gear, and horribly upset when she didn't get to accompany me somewhere. She was partially retired at her death and it was very hard to not have her working with me all of the time. But her unexpected death before full retirement did mean that she got to continue to do what she loved until the end.
    Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

    I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

  5. #15
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    Sounds like a classic sob story. I always ask for 1st and last up front as well as a security deposit and charge a $25.00 non refundable background check fee. Also call several referances as well as a credit check and credit history.

    ^^(A)^^

  6. #16
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darty View Post
    Sounds like a classic sob story. I always ask for 1st and last up front as well as a security deposit and charge a $25.00 non refundable background check fee. Also call several referances as well as a credit check and credit history.

    I'm using the mysmartmove website...let them pay them directly. Then I got lots of spare time at work for personal bidness to call and snoop around.

  7. #17
    There is no protection for "discrimination on the basis of income". For the most part, the housing market is based on income, and if you can't afford a place you want, you need to figure out how to make more income if you want to live there...it is market driven, and market regulated. It is standard for landlords to check credit rating and verify income in the rental/lease market in the USA...and foolish not to do this.

    The exception to this would be Section 8 housing, which cannot charge more than 1/3 of your income, but I am assuming you are not renting out a Section 8 unit, correct??

    (KLD)

  8. #18
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    I have a 'friend' who has an emotional support animal (cat). I wouldn't rent to her either. She has made a business out of being "crazy". I know that she is not, but it seems it is the easiest job she could get. I have known her for a very long time, around 45 years and she confides in me about her acting job. Disgusting.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  9. #19
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    There is no protection for "discrimination on the basis of income". For the most part, the housing market is based on income, and if you can't afford a place you want, you need to figure out how to make more income if you want to live there...it is market driven, and market regulated. It is standard for landlords to check credit rating and verify income in the rental/lease market in the USA...and foolish not to do this.

    The exception to this would be Section 8 housing, which cannot charge more than 1/3 of your income, but I am assuming you are not renting out a Section 8 unit, correct??

    (KLD)
    Ahh, but in the wonderful City of Chicago they expanded the definitions of discrimination to include just that...

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/cit...eading2011.pdf

    Real fine line what you can say or not say trying to qualify a tenant. And no, while I would of course be open to consideration of a Section 8 tenant because I would not want to be discriminatory, I believe that my units would never pass an inspection for this program. Some real issues with wall outlet plates seemingly constantly just falling off. Weird.


    Quote Originally Posted by skippy13 View Post
    I have a 'friend' who has an emotional support animal (cat). I wouldn't rent to her either. She has made a business out of being "crazy". I know that she is not, but it seems it is the easiest job she could get. I have known her for a very long time, around 45 years and she confides in me about her acting job. Disgusting.
    I dunno, with my cat waking me up in the middle of the night demanding to be fed if his food runs out or he just wants a fresh can, amongst other quirks...having a hard time seeing how this could help with the emotionally fragile. Maybe I should go on line and get a therapy cat certificate and show it to Kitty?

  10. #20
    Great thread! I learned a lot. I think I need to make a flow chart though to make it easier for me to comprehend. Good idea for a Pinterest info graph . . .

    CCI has been campaigning to put an end to SERVICE ANIMAL FRAUD, I will note them about this thread.

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