Thursday, 28 October 2021
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Letter to the Editor: Know how to treat service dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) supports the basic guidelines for encountering a service dog. U.S. law states a service animal is a dog trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Do not approach, talk to, offer treats or try to pet any service animal. If a service animal is working, distraction can easily keep the animal from missing signals that its owner’s body is sending. Service dogs perform many tasks you won’t necessarily see and impose no health risks to you.

Teach your children to never approach a service dog, or any animal, without the owner’s, and your, permission. Never let your pet approach a service animal. The service animal may perceive this as a threat and act accordingly. This is protection, not aggression. The service animal is not there to help socialize your dog.

According to ADA guidelines, a service dog is not required to wear a vest or have any documentation. It can accompany its owner anywhere the general public is allowed.

An entity, such as store employees, may ask two questions: Is the dog required because of a disability? What task is the dog trained to perform?

The public is not entitled to this information. Many people are private about their disability, but many service dog owners enjoy educating the public.

Service dogs are well behaved. Training is positive, and they receive regular veterinary care. When not on duty, they are well-loved.

Enjoy being in public with service dogs but please realize the difference.


The Bark Box

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