Originally Posted by BBarHRancher
I have a 100 lbs Golden Retriever that I take everywhere so have decided to have him certified as a service dog. It doesn't take that long and I am doing it at Petsmart. I do have a disability but I understand that stores etc are not allowed to ask anything about the nature or reason for the service dog but only if the dog is certified. I would too afraid to leave my dog unattended inside or our should there be a fire or perhaps worse, aggressive dogs come upon him while leased. Best of luck and I love traveling with a large dog. Jim
There is a huge difference between a service animal and a companion animal.
The Americans with Disabilities Act provisions for service animals allow a disabled person access to Public Areas ( private areas are not under this)
most "pets" cannot make the transition from pet to service animal. Check out the Delta Society website.
A service animal(could also be a miniature horse) is trained to preform a function"service" that takes the place of the disability. Ie blind, hearing, weight bearing, mobility and recently some psychiatric disabilities. The animal provides a service that the individual can no longer do because of their disability.
Unfortunately, there are no enforcement or regulatory agencies to ensure true "service animals" are being used or trained appropriately. There are numerous websites that you can simply answer a few questions and get a service animal certification number. For a few extra bucks they will sell you a paper copy, vest and collar tag.
I don't know your situation but have seen many people go the easy route just to take their pet where it shouldn't be. ( not saying that's you) I also know 2 people that have legitimate "Service Animals" those dogs had 2 years of training through the program in the Texas prison system prior to the 12 months of service animal and handler training together before they were their animal.
The folks who claim their pet is a service animal have caused huge issues with those with a true disability dog.
Paperwork most of the posers can't produce: temperament testing to show the dog is stable in all environments,
Up to date shot records, dates of training, type of training and training agency.
Now as I climb off the soap box, I leave you with this:
Basic requirements that you should be prepared to provide if an establishment asks.
1. They are allowed to ask what is the task the animal has been trained to preform for your disability? (not asking what's wrong with you, just what the animal was trained to do)
2. Please demonstrate that task.( unless it's obvious, guide dog, etc.)
If the establishment feels that the animal is a disruption or a safety hazard they can keep you from entering with the animal. They still have to serve you.
Yes, I have had issues with folks posing as disabled and their fake service animal caused someone else harm. :(