Build Acceptance of Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Acts recognizes dogs as service animals because they can be trained to do specific tasks and they are not limited from traveling like hooved animals are.  Pigs are smart and can be trained, but they can’t exactly curl up at their handlers’ feet on an airplane.  Maybe one day pigs will be accepted as service animals. But first people in the United States need to understand what service animals are and that denying a service animal from a business is a violation of the ADA.

For those with service animals, unless our communities are supportive and help educate the public, it is up to us to stand up for our rights.

Service animals in the US are not “certified”

One thing that will help is understanding that service dogs in the United States are not certified.  There is no such thing as certification.  There is no agency that regulates it.  The only requirement based on the ADA is that a service dog is trained to do something specific that aids its handler with a disability or medical condition.

Today I found a webpage that used the word “certified” and I wrote this message:

Hi,
This is not a very big deal for most people, but for me with a service dog, it would be much appreciated if a word on the below page could be edited.
http://hsh.sfgov.org/services/outreach-and-homelessness-prevention/homeward-bound/
It says, “You may not travel with a pet. An exception may be made for a certified service animal (by Greyhound bus only). “
There is no such thing as a certified service animal.  The United States has no official protocol for certifying service animals through any agency.  The Americans with Disabilities Act states that businesses may ask two questions to the handler of a service dog: if the handler has a medical condition and what task is the dog trained to do.
It would be reasonable if the text of the webpage said, “certifiable service animal.”  To say “certified” indicates some kind of license, which does not exist in the US. (It does exist in Canada.) But if an animal is certifiable, a business may ask those two questions and the handler must be able to answer them truthfully.
Thank you for your attention to the matter and for helping bring about justice to those of use with disabilities.
Kiai Kim
I share this and other messages to entities with you in order to spread knowledge and promote social justice for all.  Join me in educating others wherever you see injustice against people who are unprivileged.

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