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Last modified: December 15, 2000

 

 

The Service Animal Support group is an e-list dedicated to support, information, and education concerning Service Dogs in general as well as training issues and general support for persons with Service Animals.  

 
SERVICE DOGS
Legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. To be protected by federal law, the person must meet the definition of having a disability. To have the right of access with the animal to otherwise "no pets/animals" areas open to the public, the person must meet the definition of having a disability and the animal must meet the definition of service animal. Service animals/service dogs are not considered "pets."

               

We all value our independence!   Someone who is physically challenged values that independence even more, because the daily chores which we often take for granted are more difficult for someone with limited mobility.

A trained dog can improve a person's quality of life and become a valuable vehicle to accomplish this goal of independence.   This four-legged "assistive device" is capable of giving unconditional love and support and can provide valuable psychological, emotional and social support.

THERAPY DOGS
are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have "no pets" policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals

 
Most therapy dogs are personal pets, who accompany their owners to a variety of facilities such as skilled nursing homes or hospitals.  Many therapy dog visits require very simple skills from the dog.   The dog doesn't have to know a lot of commands or even perform tricks. 

A dog that lies quietly on a bed beside a patient can lower that person's blood pressure and reduce the sensation of pain.  In some settings, soft warm eyes gazing up at a person are all it takes to work magic.  Volunteering with your dog can be a family project too!

Service Animals
A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.  If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform.  "Seeing eye dogs" or sometimes known as "Guide dogs" are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind.  Most people are familiar with this type of service animal.  But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Such as Cats, Monkeys, Miniature Horses, Birds, and many more.

Companion Animal  is not legally defined, but is accepted as another term for pet.
"Social" Animals  likewise have no legal definition. They often are animals that did not complete service animal/service dog training due to health, disposition, trainability, or other factors, and are made available as pets for people who have disabilities. These animals might or might not meet the definition of service animals.

 

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