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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Discuss Topic - Misc. Thoughts

When we talk about public access rights are we talking about the rights of the handler or the rights of the service dog?

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Suzy and her service dog meet Mary for lunch at the new sandwich shop down the street. They had a very nice meal and want to step in the back and tell the staff how they enjoyed their food. The waitress says the two ladies can do so but the dog can not go with them. Suzy gets upset as she has read the law which says she can have her SD with her in a restaurant. What should Suzy do?
1) Instruct the waitress in a calm manner on the law?
2) Ask to speak with the manager to make a complaint?
3) Go home and call the local newspaper about what happened?
or 4) None of the answers look good to you -- fill in here with your answer.

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John and his service dog are going with John's buddy Mike to a Federal Court Hearing. John is stopped at the door and questioned about the dog. John explains to the security in the lobby that his dog is fully trained and must stay with him at all times. The security officer asks if John has permission from the Judge to take the dog into the court room. John insists that service dogs can go anywhere that their handler can go. The guard refuses to allow John to take his dog into the courtroom.

Who is right?
What should John do?

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
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Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 12-28-2010 at 02:51 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 03:17 PM
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When we talk about public access rights are we talking about the rights of the handler or the rights of the service dog?

It is the handler that has the right to access public places with his dog. Provided that dog is an individually trained Service Dog whose work mitigates the handler's disability.

************************************************** **

Suzy and her service dog meet Mary for lunch at the new sandwich shop down the street. They had a very nice meal and want to step in the back and tell the staff how they enjoyed their food. The waitress says the two ladies can do so but the dog can not go with them. Suzy gets upset as she has read the law which says she can have her SD with her in a restaurant. What should Suzy do?
1) Instruct the waitress in a calm manner on the law?
2) Ask to speak with the manager to make a complaint?
3) Go home and call the local newspaper about what happened?
or 4) None of the answers look good to you -- fill in here with your answer.

None of the above.

When you say "in the back", I am assuming that this means an area not generally open to the public at the restaurant, such as the kitchen, where they might thank the chef for his excellent meal. Since that area is not generally open to the public, and there would be concerns regarding violating health codes if we're talking about the kitchen, Suzy's access rights with her dog do not extend to that area of the restaurant and the waitress is well within rights to tell her the dog can not be back there.

A good compromise would be to call the chef out to the table and thank him for the wonderful meal or simply pass back their compliments via the waitress. (I believe that would also be the most commonly done, that one either thanks the chef in person when he comes out, or that one would tell the waitress to pass the compliments on to the chef.)

************************************************** **

John and his service dog are going with John's buddy Mike to a Federal Court Hearing. John is stopped at the door and questioned about the dog. John explains to the security in the lobby that his dog is fully trained and must stay with him at all times. The security officer asks if John has permission from the Judge to take the dog into the court room. John insists that service dog's can go anywhere that their handler can go. The guard refuses to allow John to take his dog into the courtroom.

Who is right?
What should John do?

This is a difficult one. As far as I am aware, court rooms fall under Title II, so they are able to ask for documentation that a dog is, in fact, a Service Dog and medically necessary for a person to carry out their business. It would stand to reason that the guard who told him flat-out that the dog is not allowed is probably wrong, but that the court can, indeed, exclude a Service Animal if there is no proof of the dog's status and training or its necessity to the disabled handler. I believe a judge can also exclude a Service Dog from his court room.

I am aware of a great number of cases where disabled handlers have been told they could not bring their dogs to court, often because they were unwilling or unable to provide any proof that the animal in question is, in fact, a trained Service Dog and the handler is, in fact, legally disabled and requires the dog.

The last such case I followed was that of Melanie Brown and her dog, Odessa. She was not allowed to bring Odessa to court after she was asked for documentation that her dog is, in fact, a real Service Dog and not just a pet, and did not provide it. A federal judge ruled that this was a reasonable request and dismissed her case against the county.

Federal judge rejects Ryderwood woman's service dog discrimination suit

I'm not sure whether this being a federal court would make a difference or not. Is the hearing they are attending open to the general public, or is John's buddy a part of the proceedings? What is John's role? Is he part of the proceedings or just there to listen to the hearing or support his buddy?

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Last edited by AbbyK9; 12-28-2010 at 03:20 PM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 04:02 PM
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We are talking about the handler's rights...the dog has none without the handler.


1. It's not the law. He can be in the restaurant..but not the kitchen.


2. This is up to the Judge's descretion.

Is there anywhere that service dogs are not permitted?

Generally guide, hearing and service dogs are permitted to accompany their disabled owner everywhere members of the public are allowed, but there are a few exceptions. For example, a member of the public would be permitted in the dining area of a restaurant, but not in the kitchen. Therefore, a guide dog would be permitted to accompany his disabled owner in the dining area of a restaurant. It is also an important distinction to note that it is the handler who has access rights and not the dog. A guide dog without his blind handler has no particular access rights of his own and neither does a hearing dog or other service dog without his disabled handler. "Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos." -- U.S Department of Justice. For clarification, contact the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA Information Line at 800 - 514 - 0301 (voice) or 800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY) In the U.S., according to the Department of Justice's Business Brief concerning Service Animals, business owners/managers can ask 2 specific questions. 1) Is this a service dog required because of a disability? and 2) What task(s) is the dog trained to perform? If these questions are not appropriately answered, the business may exclude the animal, but not the person. Though service animals of all kinds can legally accompany their disabled handler almost anywhere the handler goes, they can be excluded from areas where their presence would constitute either a fundamental alteration of goods and services available for all or a direct threat to safety. Examples where a service animal might be excluded include:
-Sterile rooms, such as operating rooms, some areas of emergency rooms/departments, some ICU rooms, some ambulances, some delivery rooms (on a case-by-case basis) -Clean rooms where microchips are manufactured -Places where food is prepared (though they cannot generally be excluded from dining areas where food is present) (by order of most health departments) -Open air zoological exhibits, such as open air aviaries (at the zoo's discretion) -Churches (at the church's discretion) -Native American Tribal Council Chambers (at the council's discretion) -Federal Courts (at the judge's discretion) -Jail or prison cells (at the discretion of the facility director) -Private clubs (at the club's discretion) -Private homes (at the home owner's discretion) So far, this discussion is centered entirely on laws of access in the United States of America. Other countries will have their own laws in place regarding the access rights of individuals accompanied by a service animal. http://servicedogcentral.org/content/faq

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 04:15 PM
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My personal views are:

Suzy and Mary should not be allowed with the service dog in the food prep area that is not open to the public. Having the wait staff and/or chef come to them is a much better solution for all involved, including the public who are going to consume the food that Suzy, Mary and the service dog are going to come into contact with.

Regarding the second scenario. In my opinion, the service dog should be allowed access, however the handler should call ahead a prepare the court for their arrival. That would just be a matter of courtesy as the service dog and handler could disrupt the proceedings.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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You guys are good - even with my little trick questions that should have been a little more descriptive.

Some hints for those who were not quite sure:

Sandwich shop at lunchtime -- probably a small establishment with more relaxed rules about customers visiting with staff.

Court -- Federal Court
Extra Info -- John's buddy Mike is the one summoned to the courtroom/ Mike is going along as a visitor.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 09:54 PM
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IMHO at the court, it would be up to the discretion of the judge whether he will allow Mike and his Service Dog in the court room, since they are there as visitors not as plaintiff or defendant in the case.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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