Just thinking: I have been reading several discussions about service dogs and their human partners being harassed and denied access to public places. Their heartache and disappointment have made me want to cry.
I know, according to the ADA, you are not required to show any documentation or prove anything to anyone, but, according to the sad stories I've been reading, clearly, life would be easier if the legal status of the dog could be demonstrated.
Recently I had a discussion with the proprietor of my favorite U Pick It site about the work I’m doing with service dogs. She (and she’s not stupid) said she had recently turned someone with a service dog away because “The fruits and vegetables are meant to be eaten.” When I corrected her, she was visibly upset—she had been totally unaware of the regulations. I know she’ll never again turn a service dog away.
Isn’t it possible for the service dog community to come up with a simple form, card, or document to present to the uncooperative person. There is no reason to share a medical diagnosis, just the statement that you are entitled by law to be accompanied by a service dog and the simple phrase “the service dog has been determined to be medically necessary.”
Also, arm yourself with the name and phone number of the local police precinct so your opposition will see that you are serious.
The good news is that service dogs, at least here in Florida, have been receiving some positive press.
Following is a link to a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald that I wrote and the paper printed. (Mine is the second letter.)
Additionally, an article appeared in the Sun Sentinel.
I linked the article and my commentary in another post on this blog.
It’s time to be proactive and, as they say at Miami Heat games, “Stand up and make some noise.” Write letters to your local newspaper. Contact your local radio and TV stations. The topic has come of age and the papers and media are paying attention. We must keep the hammer on them.