Re: Letter, Sept. 17, “Service dog solution”
I would like to commend the author. His suggestion of government-issued vests and documentation is spot on. Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow these measures, as they would be considered constraints. Some people truly require service dogs to be able to function.
What I don’t appreciate is people in the food aisles of grocery stores with a pet sitting in their cart. I saw three such examples today in our neighborhood super store. In fact, there was quite the ruckus when two such carts crossed paths and the owners had to restrain their dogs from jumping out and attacking each other. Neither had a service vest.
Unfortunately, the ADA restricts public establishments to asking only two questions: Is the animal required because of a disability, and what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? I don’t believe these are asked often enough. Management is more concerned about offending pet owners who bring their non-service animal into the store than offending other shoppers who are unhappy with Fido being wheeled through the bakery, deli, and other open-to-air food areas. It doesn’t help that a great number of pet owners are bringing their animals into the stores under false pretenses since there is no way to properly ascertain if the animal is a bona fide service animal.
By the way, while psychiatric service dogs are considered service animals by the ADA, emotional support/comfort dogs are not.
Paul LaPorta, Niceville