Correcting Misconceptions About Service Dogs
Service dogs are an incredible aid to a wide range of people, some of whom are disabled, some of whom suffer from chronic health issues, and some of whom have a range of other needs. There are many misconceptions about these incredible animals, and today we’re hoping to correct some of them!
There is a pervasive idea that restrictions exist on the breeds that can qualify as service dogs. This idea is an unfounded one that may misinterpret the 2011 guidelines from the Americans with Disabilities Act stating only dogs can be service animals. There are restrictions on species but not breeds.
This misconception also suggests that certain breeds are more fit to be service dogs than others. It is categorically untrue. All dogs, regardless of breed, have the potential to be exceptional service dogs if trained professionally and seriously.
Once a person qualifies for a service dog, they can stop by servicedogregistration.org to learn more about these amazing animals and register them.
Due to the importance of the topic, several institutions have put in the work to ensure that up-to-date information is readily available. The handiest resource comes from Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical Center, which has compiled a comprehensive informational database for tracking state-by-state legislation.
This database allows curious readers to investigate the law regarding these animals in their home states. It is an invaluable resource since different states have slightly different interpretations of the ADA. However, there is agreement that misrepresenting one’s pet as a service animal is illegal. In most cases, it is solely a misdemeanor, but it is not worth the risk.
Two common misconceptions revolve around the interactions of businesses and service dogs. The first misconception is that business owners cannot question the person about the animal. This is decidedly untrue. Business owners can ask those aided by service dogs if they are required because of a disability, and they can also ask someone what tasks their animal companion can perform.
Another point of confusion comes from when businesses can exclude these animals. The ADA protects people with disabilities and their service animals from discrimination in public facilities. However, if the animal acts in a way that threatens the public’s safety, the business has the right to ask the person and the animal to leave.
In a world that is rapidly becoming more inclusive and considerate of the needs of people with various states of health, it is increasingly necessary to be aware of the rights of such vital animal companions. And in a world rife with misconceptions, it is more important than ever to be mindful of service dogs’ rights and statuses. Whether we helped you learn about the rights of businesses regarding these fantastic partners, or we cured a misconception you held about the breeds of service dogs, we hope we taught you something today!