Is the Word *Certified* Important? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Is the Word *Certified* Important?

This thread follows somewhat along with some of the posts in another thread dealing with proof or documentation of if a dog is a Certified Service Dog.

A press release that I recently received from the State of FL, Division of Emergency Management mentioned Certified Service Dogs are allowed into emergency shelters.

I am now in the process of sending out emails and making phone calls to explain that was an incorrect statement to have made. Certification per Federal Law is not required in the U.S. It is also not required per FL State Law.

Requesting or demanding such paperwork is in itself against the law. The word *Certified* is in fact a big deal to many. Many of us feel strongly enough on this that we (Assistance Dog Advisory Project along with other individuals in the SD community) are also in the beginning stages of trying to get bills introduced into several states' making it illegal to sell certification of sight unseen dogs or passing of unsuitable SDs by placing certain legal requirements on those individuals, organizations, or businesses that certify Service Dogs.

Part of the email that I have already sent to various emergency organizations is the following:

A point of clarification on a Press Release of May 26 from the State of FL, Division of Emergency Management.
http://www.floridadisaster.org/eoc/PressReleases/Pet%20Preparedness%20Press%20Release%205%2026%2020 11.pdf

Quote:
Certified service animals for persons with disabilities are exempt from any restrictions at emergency shelters and lodging facilities.

The term *Certified* in this context is incorrect and articles, emails, or Press Releases using this term may lead to confusion at emergency shelters or during needed evacuations. In this press release the word *certified* should not have been used in making this sentence.

I then went on to quote Fed and State Law with links to original sources.

Certification is not only not required by U.S. Law but there are no official certifying agencies at either the Federal or State Levels.

So the use of the word *Certified* may not seem important to some but it is to those who show up at a shelter or possible evacuation and are asked to show their papers/tag/certification ID.

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 #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 09:04 PM
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 10:39 PM
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How are folks at an emergency center supposed to distinguish between a legitiment service dog (whatever that means!!) and someone just bringing their family pet into the shelter and claiming it is a service dog?

Seems like those folks are between a rock and a hard place to me (who admitedly does not know anything about it).
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 11:45 PM
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By being educated about the law and knowing what you can and cannot ask, and knowing what the proper responses should be. By federal law you cannot ask for certification or require it. If a specific state requires it, that's different. However Florida where this is happening doesn't. And if the specific state doesn't have laws, then it falls under the federal laws.

Its really best for those in this type of situation to know the laws. Which is part of the purpose of the Assistance Dog Advocacy Project, we educate others. This enables them to protect themselves against fakers as well as make things go more smoothly for legitimate SDs.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 11:48 PM
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I just want to make sure I understand...

There are no agencies that certify whether a dog is or is not a service dog...is that right?

A service dog, however, does often need extensive training...true?

Maybe a better way that people should be wording it is instead of "certified service dog" say "trained service dog".

IDK
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2011, 11:55 PM
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There are no federal agencies that certify service dogs. There are individual organizations that certify their service dogs, but it just means they passed the requirements at THAT organization and doesn't mean the dogs meet federal guidelines. There are also scam organizations that you can sign a paper saying your dog meets the federal guidelines, pay a fee, and receive a certificate to certify your dog is a service dog. Thats what we want to stop, force any organization that certifies the dog to stand behind that certification.

The federal laws were set up this way to allow the maximum benefits and protection to the person with a disability, allowing for owner or privately trained SDs. Correct, they need extensive training in obedience, public access, and service tasks. Referring to them as trained service dogs is much better Darn pesky wording and semantics, but it really makes a big difference here! Many places thing its ok to ask for certification, and then people with valid SDs can end up turned away from businesses and restaurants.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 12:02 AM
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It seems that if there ARE NO certification requirements, or any "official" certification organization that is capable of certifying (even with no requirements) a dog as a "service dog"; then how is anyone, esp. a business owner supposed to know who with what "service dog" is allowed to come into the organization?



And even more so, is there anything to stop me from just "training" my own GSD to assist me and just declaring him to be a "service dog"?

No, I am not thinking of doing that but I am curious as to what if anything is there in this law to stop anyone from doing so?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 12:04 AM
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I guess that it really doesn't matter since the creators of this law decided that no one could ask anything about the "service dog" anyway. Or perhaps I have misunderstood what I have heard and read about this law perhaps?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
I guess that it really doesn't matter since the creators of this law decided that no one could ask anything about the "service dog" anyway
They can ask
1) Are you disabled
2) Is your dog trained to mitigate your disability

http://www.ada.gov/svcanimb.htm

Remember a handler can be taken to court where they will have to prove to a judge that they are "legally" disabled and that their dog has been trained and is needed for their disability.

Part of education includes working with business owners and telling them what their rights are.

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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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 06-02-2011 at 01:27 AM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2011, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
They can ask
1) Are you disabled
2) Is your dog trained to mitigate your disability
ADA Business Brief: Service Animals
Remember a handler can be taken to court where they will have to prove to a judge that they are "legally" disabled and that their dog has been trained and is needed for their disability.Part of education includes working with business owners and telling them what their rights are.
Thanks, I was not aware of the above. Who can take the handler to court? The govt. or does the business owner have to do it.


How would a person prove they are disabled? I assume with a Dr. statment. But then how would the owner prove that the dog has been trained to mitigate their disability, esp. when the dog can be trained by the owner?

Esp., with the case that was on this site where the dog climbed on the boy and used a device to help with a seisure (I think!). Since the dog wouldn't do anything unless he sensed a seisure, would he?

Thanks!
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