VHA Directive 2011-013 ... VHA Property
In the news we are again hearing about Vets protesting that their dogs are not allowed in VA Hospitals so they can further train their dogs. They claim their rights under the ADA / DOJ are being violated.
Wrong on two counts --
1) The ADA does not address SDITs only trained SDs.
2) The ADA is not the correct law to go to for handler Access Rights onto VA property.
The correct place to go for Access Rights onto VA Property or into VA Hospitals is VHA Directive 2011-013.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Washington, DC 20420
Effective March 10, 2011 Expires March 31, 2016
GUIDE DOGS AND SERVICE DOGS ON VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (VHA) PROPERTY
1. PURPOSE: This Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive establishes policy regarding Veterans and members of the public who enter VHA facilities and properties accompanied by guide dogs (also known as seeing-eye dogs) and other service dogs.
NOTE: This Directive only addresses guide dogs and other service dogs accessing VHA facilities and properties when
acting in their capacity as a service animal performing guide and service duties for a disabled individual.
a. Trained guide dogs and other trained service dogs can have a significant role in maintaining functionality and promoting maximal independence of individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are authorized to enter VHA facilities and property accompanied by their trained guide dog or trained service dog consistent with the same terms and conditions, and subject to the same regulations that govern the admission of the general public to the property.
b. Therapy animals, companion animals, emotional support animals, and pets are not considered service animals, and their access to VHA facilities and properties are not covered by this Directive.
Under Definitions is this statement: "This does not include service dogs in training."
To read in full go to
In this news video/report those being interviewed because they have been turned out of going into a clinic state they are there not for services (they did not make an appointment for treatment in the clinic) and they are there to further train their dog.
It is the duty of the organization that placed these dogs with their handlers to make sure they review laws before placement. The handlers besides having verbal training also need hard copies of the various laws with links so they can read the original documents.
On the flip side of this, I hope for their own protection that the organization has had those individuals who they placed dogs with to sign off that they received copies of the laws and understood those laws.
When reading the article or listening to the video remember in my previous post where this was stated, "Therapy animals, companion animals, emotional support animals, and pets are not considered service animals, and their access to VHA facilities and properties are not covered by this Directive."
Pay attention to where the news announcers gave the wrong information, the first handler gave incorrect information and even their attorney cited wrong laws and information.
Our vets should not be go through this additional trauma -- they need to be given the correct information from the beginning.
Veterans denied access to health clinic because of service dogs
Attorney: Rules violate Americans with Disabilities Act
UPDATED 7:06 AM EDT May 22, 2014
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —Post-traumatic stress disorder patient Ricky Royster, 53, says his service dog, Bella, calms and comforts him.
"The VA said it will make sure the men receive care and is offering advice and resources if the dogs need additional training elsewhere."
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