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What You Need to Know About Service Dogs

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We want to thank BetterCitiesForPets.com and AmericanHumane.org for this amazing video and everything they do for our animals. 

What You Need to Know About Service Dogs:

Thousands of Americans especially veterans suffer from serious conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. For many of these people, a service dog is their best hope to continue a normal life but there is a lot of confusion about how business owners should accommodate a customer with a service dog.

“As a business owner, I wanted to make sure that every single guest that walks through our door with a service dog that we treat them fairly and we take care of their needs.” –  Joni Cole Gray’s On Main, Franklin TN

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are two questions that business owners are allowed to ask a person with a service dog.

  • Number one: is this dog required due to a disability?
  • Number two: what service or task is this dog trained to do?

The work or tasks a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Under the ADA, you are not allowed to ask:

  • What is your disability? This is private and protected health information.
  • Do you have proof that the dog is a licensed service dog? Service dogs do not need tags vests or any documentation.

A business owner may wonder but what if a service dog is acting inappropriately such as barking jumping on other patrons or making a mess. You can deny access to the dog due to improper behavior but you cannot deny access to the owner.

Veterans would like all business owners to know a few suggestions about interacting with them and their service dog.

  • Please speak to me the person and not my dog I know he or she is cute but my dog is working and needs to focus on me.
  • Please do not feed my dog.
  • Please do not touch or pet my dog.
  • Please do not be offended if I do not want to talk about my service dog.

“Businesses should incorporate service dog training into their model for the simple reason that we would not want to turn away any guests. Someone with a cane or someone with a wheelchair we would definitely welcome them in the same with a service dog someone with a disability.” – Joni Cole Gray’s On Main Franklin TN

By following the guidelines shown in this video and training your employees to follow them as well you will be better equipped to serve all of your customers’ needs. To learn more visit BetterCitiesForPets.com or AmericanHumane.org

American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. For more than a hundred years American Humane has been first in promoting the welfare and safety of animals and strengthening the bond between animals and people. “We are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through our innovative leadership initiatives – from our “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the nation.”

Better Cities for Pets™  Pets make life better. They are our best friends, encourage healthy activity and offer unconditional love. That’s why we want to help more cities and communities make pets welcome. Mars Petcare US’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program includes advocacy, education and giving back, and involves partnering with businesses, non-profits and government to help make life better for pets.