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Corey Hudson Executive Director Canine Companions for Independence 4350 Occidental Road P.O. Box 446 Santa Rosa, California 95402-0446 Dear Ms. Hudson: This is in response to your letter concerning service animals under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We apologize for the delay in responding. The ADA authorizes the Department to provide technical assistance to entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding how the ADA may apply to public accommodations. This technical assistance, however, does not constitute a determination by the Department of Justice of rights or responsibilities under the ADA and does not constitute a binding determination by the Department of Justice. Under section 36.302 of the enclosed title III rule, a public accommodation must make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination. A public accommodation must modify its policies to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability, unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration of the goods or services provided. These concepts are further discussed in section III-4.2000 of the enclosed title III technical assistance manual. As defined in section 36.104, the term "service animal" includes any guide dog, signal dog (e.g., a "hearing dog"), or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. You asked how public accommodations will determine whether an accompanying animal is a service animal. The title III regulation does not permit public accommodations to require any type of identification or certification of status to be shown.
:udd:mather:1tr.hudson.servcanimals cc: Records, CRS, FOIA, Friedlander, Mather, Breen 01-01639 -2Moreover, the fact that a particular State law may require the showing of identification is irrelevant for purposes of determining rights under the ADA. However, section 36.301(b) of the title III regulation permits a public accommodation to impose legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation of the public accommodation. Thus, a public accommodation may ask that the animal be removed when such removal is necessary for safe operation. You also asked about the relationship between title III and State laws. Title III does not preempt any State law, if that State law provides protection for individuals with disabilities at a level greater or equal to that provided by the ADA. As explained in section 36.103(c), the ADA does, however, prevail over any conflicting State laws, or those laws that provide lesser protection against discrimination. For example, assume that an individual with a disability, accompanied by a monkey as a service animal, enters a hotel in a State where the State law requiring access for service animals is limited to "guide dogs." Because this provision would result in a level of access that is less than that provided by title III, the hotel may not rely on the State law as a basis for prohibiting access for the monkey. A similar conclusion would apply to the situation you are concerned about, in which presentation of certification verifying the status as a service animal is a prerequisite to granting access to a place of public accommodation under a State law. Because the State law provides a level of access that is less than that provided by title III, the ADA would not permit the hotel to require presentation of such certification. I hope this information has been helpful to you. Sincerely, Stewart B. Oneglia Chief Coordination and Review Section Civil Rights Division
Enclosures (2) 01-01640CANINE COMPANIONS for INDEPENDENCE, founded in 1975 Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People Bonita M. Bergin, Ed.D. Founder Director of Research October 23, 1991 Robert Mather Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Civil Rights Division US Department of Justice Washington, DC 20530 Dear Mr. Mather, I spoke with you the week of October 1, 1991, concerning the ADA Rules and Regulations as they pertain to service animals. As you will recall we discussed how a public accommodations was to determine what animals/dogs were properly trained and therefore should be granted access as opposed to a person merely wishing to gain access with his/her pet. In response to how was the public accommodation to make this judgement, I believe you responded the public accommodation would have to make a good faith assumption that all animals/dogs were trained and entitled to access. Therefore all animals should be granted access with no further qualifications like a special ID card or an identifying cape or backpack. While Canine Companions for Independence and other members of Assistance Dogs International are pleased that the ADA recognizes service animals, we are also concerned that the law not be abused by others. To this concern I believe your response was that the existing state laws/rules of access for service animals/dogs should be what determines access at this local level.
By our most recent count, 13 states do not have laws providing for the access of assistance dogs. What do you propose our clients do, for example in Maine or the District of Columbia for that matter? Will Federal ADA prevail? Will the passage of ADA in January 1992 make it mandatory on the 18 states to pass laws defining how a public accommodation is to determine a pet poodle from a properly trained service dog? 01-01641 In April 1991, Robin Dickson, President of Assistance Dogs International, Canine Companions for Independence and I believe several other Assistance Dog Schools/Centers submitted suggestions (see attached) that ADA regs. provide for some ID for properly trained assistance dogs. I am again making this request. Is it possible to have the matter reconsidered? If not, what action do you suggest we take or advise our clients to take in gaining as problem free access to public accommodations as possible? I have enclosed some Canine Companions for Independence material in the hopes you may become more familiar with the Assistance Dog concept and the Schools/Centers that perform the valuable training. Looking forward to your response. Sincerely, Corey Hudson Executive Director CH/law Enclosures cc: Robin Dickson, President, Assistance Dogs International Mike Roche, Chairperson, Assistance Dogs International Sub-Committee States without Service Dog Laws: Alaska Arkansas Alabama
District of Columbia Idaho Louisana Maine Montana Nebraska Rhode Island South Dakota Vermont Wyoming 01-01642April 12, 1991 Mr. John L. Wodatch Office of American Disabilities Act Civil Rights Division Department of Justice Rule Mailing Docket 003 P.O. Box 75087 Washington, DC 20013 Dear Committee Members: Assistance Dogs International, Inc. is a coalition of representatives of Guide Dog, Hearing Dog, and Service Dog organizations. Our purpose is to facilitate communication amongst members, provide opportunities for learning amoung members, and work on assuring that top quality training goes into every dog and organization that is a part of Assistance Dogs International. The purpose of this letter is to address teh issue of rights of access for all disabled persons who are accompanied by Assistance Dogs. An Assistance Dog is defined as a Guide Dog for the visually impaired, a Hearing Dog for the hearing impaired, or a Service Dog for the mobility impaired. GUIDE DOG is defined as a dog which has been trained or is being specially trained for or in conjunction with a school for guide dogs to lead in harness and serve as an aid to the mobility of a particulare blind person. HEARING DOG is defined as a dog which has been or is being specially trained by or in conjunction with a school for hearing dogs to alert a particular deaf or hearing impaired person to certain sounds. SERVICE DOGS is defined as a dog which has been or is being
specially trained by or in conjunction with a school for service dogs to the individual requirements of a physically disabled person, including but not limited to any of the following: 1. Pull wheelchair as needed 2. Retrieve/carry dropped items 3. Open/close doors 4. Provide balance/counter balance Each school for Assistance Dogs provides illegible of certification, such as an identification illegible individual illegible of disabled person and Assistance Dog. In addition: A GUIDE DOG is identified by wearing a harness. 01-01643 CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE THE CCI PROGRAM Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) has changed the lives of hundreds of men, women, and children through its unique program of providing highly trained assistance dogs for individuals with disabilities. By helping them overcome physical and social barriers, the dogs enable CCI's participants to lead more independent, satisfying lives. Most Canine Companions come from CCI's own breeding program. They are placed in volunteer "foster homes" for 16 months to be socialized and to receive initial obedience training. From there, the puppies are sent to one of CCI's regional centers for six months of advanced training. By two years of age, each dog has learned 89 commands and is ready to be matched with a participant from CCI's waiting list. The matching of participants and canines takes place through a process that has earned the name, Boot Camp. During this intensive two-week training course, participants learn the techniques to command and control their new companions, as well as how to later expand the range of commands to meet their particular needs. In addition, each participant must demonstrate the ability to provide for the dog's care and well-being before graduating with a Canine Companion. Graduation ceremonies at CCI are inspirational and emotional events,
signalling the beginning of a new phase of life rich with promise for the new participant/canine teams. For some CCI graduates, having a Canine Companion means the ability to live without a full-time attendant for the first time; for others, it is a chance to regain independence lost through illness or accident. A Canine Companion not only provides physical assistance, but offers companionship and unconditional love as well. It was early graduate teams who inspired the motto for Canine Companions Independence: "Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People." In 1975, Canine Companions for Independence pioneered the concept of the Service Dog. Since the program's inception, over 525 certified Canine Companions have been placed across the nation and abroad. National Headquarters: P.O. Box 446, Santa Rosa, CA 95402 (707) 528-0830 01-01644 COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE Q. What is Canine Companions for Independence? Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that trains assistance dogs to serve people with disabilities other than blindness, providing them with greater independence. Q. What types of dogs does CCI train? CCI trains four types of dogs: Service Dogs work-for people with physical disabilities, performing such tasks as turning on and off light switches, pushing elevator buttons, retrieving items, and pulling a wheelchair. Signal Dogs are trained to alert people who are hearing-impaired to crucial sounds, such as a telephone, alarm clock, smoke alarm or baby's cry. Social Dogs work for people with developmental disabilities by providing the loving interaction known as pet facilitated therapy. Specialty Dogs are trained to help meet the needs unique to people with multiple disabilities, such as a hearing-impaired individual who also uses a wheelchair.
Q. What does it cost to receive a Canine Companion? There is a $25 application fee and a $100 class registration fee, which includes the necessary canine supplies. These are the only charges to a CCI participant, even though the actual cost of breeding, raising and training each dog is over $10,000. Q. How is CCI funded? CCI is funded by donations, group and service club contributions, grants, and ongoing fundraising activities. Q. Who can apply for a Canine Companion? Any person with a disability wanting increased independence through the use of a dog, or a facility that wishes to institute a pet therapy program may apply for a Canine Companion. (over) 01-01645 newspaper clipping 'She's made me self-reliant' Together a boy and his dog do what he cannot do alone-live a normal life Lots of kids want pets, but some kids need them. Really need them. Such kids as Travis Stout, who is unable to move his ankles, bend his knees and elbows or even wiggle his toes. For Travis, who was born with a rare muscle condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, the actions that are commonplace for any other nine-year-old boy were all impossible. He couldn't, for in-
stance, grab a snack from the fridge, switch on a light, carry books to school, even clean his room. Then a Labrador retriever came into his life. Kosmic is Travis's dog, a highly trained canine companion able to obey 89 verbal commands. "She's my best friend," he says. Kosmic is also Travis's hands and feet... Because Travis's arms and legs are "locked," he needs help even to get out of bed. Kosmic lies down on the floor, Travis slides himself off the bed, tummy up, and across Kosmic's back. "Then I say, 'Stand,'" says Travis, "and Kosmic gets up, getting me up too." Kosmic carries Travis's books in a pack on her back. At school, where Travis is enrolled in a program for the gifted, Kosmic waits patiently. "The school principal was really great about Kosmic," says Travis's mother, 32-year-old Kay. "He said keeping Travis from having his dog in school would be like telling another child he couldn't have his wheelchair." At home, Kosmic tugs on a towel tied to the refrigerator door and fetches food from the bottom shelf
for Travis. In the Stout household, which includes dad Tom, 33, and brother Kendra, four, when Kay orders, "Pick up your clothes!" Kosmic picks them up. Dogs like Kosmic aren't trained to protect, but if a stranger approaches Travis when his mother isn't nearby, Kosmic growls. "If someone wanted to hurt Travis, they could," says Kay. "He can't run away or defend himself. I can't tell you what peace of mind that dog gives me!" Three years ago, Kay read an item in an Ann Landers column about Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization in Santa Rosa, California, that provides trained dogs for the disabled free of charge. Travis went through his instruction sessions alone, with his mother only watching. And because a disabled person's life may depend on it, the trainers must be certain that every match is perfect, so there was no guarantee that Travis would go home with a dog. But he's glad he did. "I love her so much," he says. And Kosmic loves him back. "If I go visit my friends without her, she cries until I get back. Then she leaps into the air and
licks my face. I'm never lonely. And she's made me a lot more self-reliant." That sounds like a big word for a fourth-grader, but Travis has always been bright. His mother says he was saying "please" and "thank you" at age 10 months. He spoke in complete sentences by 18 months. Now Travis loves to read, and he can even use a computer. "We're so proud of him," says his mom. "But we can't take much of the credit. Travis has been a joy from the start." Right, Kosmic would say, in a language every boy understands: the wag of a dog's tail. by Amy H. Berger For more information contact: Canine Companions for Independence P.O. Box 446, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-0446 707-528-0830 V/TDD 01-01646 Brochure Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization, brings new and exciting dimensions to the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with highly skilled assistance dogs. 01-01647
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