Service animal registries being built to root out fakes


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/09/service-animal-registries-bein.html


#2

I’m going to need a comfort Boa just to get over the trauma of the idea of these registries.


#3

Unless federal regulations require registration with accredited registries, it won’t do much good. There are already fake registries which will issue a certificate to anyone who pays. Airlines, hotels, landlords, stores and restaurants basically have to take someone’s word about the legitimacy of a claim an animal is a service or comfort animal.


#4

Boas are not necessarily reassuring.


#5

The service will be free.

Then it’s likely a good thing.


#6

What is needed is a clear differentiation between

“service” animals, trained to help with specific medical conditions and trained to behave properly in confined public spaces like an aircraft cabin, and

“comfort” animals, aka “I want to bring my pet on the plane”.


#7

There is a clear differentiation in the laws, however the airlines allow ESAs onto airplanes so they are the ones who need to make stricter rules about which animals they allow. The database will not help unfortunately, as it is against federal law to require service dogs to have any kind of certification. It’s against HIPAA laws to require it. Any entry in the database would be strictly voluntary on the part of the service dog pair, but that wouldn’t prevent a legitimate service dog who wasn’t in the database from boarding a plane.


#8

I expect this to go the way of CA disability plaquards, which is to say totally corrupted by doctors paid to certify them, and maybe to the extent of being used by other friends and family members.


#9

This is in direct opposition to the ADA, which stipulates that airlines, hotels, etc. CANNOT ask for any kind of proof of competency for a service dog.

The ADA stipulates that the ONLY questions that may be asked are (this is copypasta directly from ada.gov)

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.

In any case, even if all KINDS of registries are defined (and there are legitimate ones already) it is ILLEGAL for an airline, hotel, or anybody else to REQUIRE membership in any of them. The only way to fix this is to change the ADA requirements.

Note this specifically does NOT include ESA or Comfort animals, for which the rules are much grayer and the airlines can demand all KINDS of things like letters from doctors and stuff like that.


#10

It appears from your quote that the ADA only requires the acceptance of dogs as service animals, certified or not. That would be a good start.

Where do I sign up, who do I vote for?

How about demanding that “comfort animals” take some other mode of transport.

Seriously, I am an old fart pushing fifty five and back in the '80s and '90s when I flew several times a month I would not DREAM of inflicting my dog on fellow passengers. Board her during my vacation, or drive. End of story. The self-entitled pet owners of today can just take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.


#11

Our family volunteers for a true service animal company, Guide Dogs for the Blind. We keep their dogs at our house. We could legitimately claim that these are service dogs; we could legitimately claim that these dogs are specifically trained–they even have an official neckerchief. We could even claim moral superiority because we are volunteering. But the dogs we take care of are part of the breeding department and are not actually serving a blind person, thus Guide Dogs asks us to not make use of these advantages. Why? Because they want to keep the category of service animal sacred. They want the category to mean something.

If you need a service animal to get alone in a world that isn’t designed for you, that can be hard to navigate, you don’t need the BS caused by others crowding in on your categories.

In brighter news, a past coworker of mine had a legitimate physical disability and a legitimate handicapped placard. However, she refused to park in a handicapped space if, in a specific instance, her disability wasn’t going to hamper her. She would leave it free for someone else to use. I like knowing there are people in the world like her.


#12

Good on them, but that tiny horse has already left the barn.


#13

This is horse hockey because under the ADA, only dogs and miniature horse can legally be classified as service animals. So from that standpoint any other animal can only be classified as “emotional support animals.”

Under the ADA it is ILLEGAL to ask for any certification or paperwork, but airlines can ask for it for emotional support animals.

My feeling is that these two groups are only doing this for publicity and as a way to make money.


#14

Ok, first of all, the original ADA requirements were written with an unfortunate bias towards service DOGS. There are other animals that perform very well as service animals and their owners have a right (and have fought for that right) to have them. There is an addendum to the ADA that stipulates that “dog” refers to other animals, too-- I didn’t bother to find that quote and didn’t want to modify the quote I included.

Before you try to change the ADA requirements you must realize that those requirements, and their anonymity, is to protect those who have disabilities. As someone who has suffered from discrimination based on my disability, I can tell you that there is a reason why some disabled people wish to remain anonymous. The law preventing discussing the actual disability is part of that.

Don’t get me wrong-- the laws are being abused. There are other issues dovetailed with this one, however.


#15

I believe that the ADA has been amended; there are a couple of situations where paraplegic veterans have successfully fought that certain breeds of monkey qualify as service animals.

Sorry, this is IIRC, I don’t have time to go dig out the quote.


#16

I’m planning to move to the other side of the planet permanently in the next couple of years. I own a dog. The dog is not a service dog and I’m not the type to pretend such things normally. From what I have read dogs that don’t fly in the cabin, that get placed down below often die. By the time I leave she will be 12. Do I abandoned her after being with me faithfully for a decade. Do I risk her life down with the luggage for 20+ hours. Or do I lie and say she is a service dog once to get her there in the safest manner possible? She’s is very well trained so I know she would behave but there is still the issue of what happens when she eventually has to go to the bathroom?

I don’t want to disturb other travelers. I don’t want to get my dog killed. And I’d sooner abandon my (grown) children than my dog.

I did just do a quick search. There are a couple cruises out of CA that take 60+ days. No idea what it costs.
Edit: After a quick scan of some cruises it seems only service dogs are allowed.

Anyone have experience with international dog traveling?


#17

In that case it makes sense to require a legitimate credential from a physician who has treated the disability and from the agency or trainer who supplied the service animal. That should be acceptable at the time of boarding without your having to discuss your disability with the airline personnel.


#18

:hugs: :hugs:


#19

There’s specialized pet shippers. You can start with: https://www.ipata.org

@Bobo may have some ideas here as well.


#20

Indeed:

Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.

https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm