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It has been estimated that there are approximately 20,000 service dogs in the United States. Legitimate Service Dogs are allowed to access most public businesses and modes of transportation. Service Dogs range from Guide Dogs for the blind, Hearing Dogs for the deaf, Mobility Dogs, Seizure Detection dogs etc. Many of these dogs are trained by professional, non-profit organizations. Others are privately trained or ‘owner’ trained dogs. All are recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as legitimate service dogs. The State and Federal laws that allow service dog access are purposely vague. It is not necessary for a service dog to wear any identifying vest or harness. The handler is not required to show documentation that ‘proves’ the dog is a legitimate service dog. Unfortunately, the ambiguity of the law has created a loophole and more and more pet dog owners are bringing their pet dogs into public businesses and mis-representing their pet dogs as service dogs. This is illegal, but it is very difficult for business owners and staff to know if the dog is legitimate or not.
This is a growing problem and I have the expertise to guide municipalities and businesses about the ADA and State laws regarding service animal access. I will be happy to drive to your business or government location and provide a professional in-service presentation about service animal access. I will provide written materials for staff to reference.