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October 4, 2022: How does the research tell us we should train our dogs? Trainer Katie Joseph gives us a clue in her simple article “Why I Use Positive, Non-Strength Training Methods”.
Can A Hotel Ask For Service Animal Paperwork
September 20, 2022 — The winner of PSDP’s 2022 Award for Excellence in Service Dog Reporting goes to Miranda Stein for her article “Why are psychiatric service dogs so unusual?” Congratulations for This $500 award encourages better reporting on assistance dogs, along with our information guide.
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From June 30 to July 15, 2022: Once again, we are fighting against the creation of harmful standards for service dogs. It’s quick and easy to help paste and send a message. Check out our best defense items!
May 29, 2022: In the service dog community, carrying a small service dog in a bag was considered “unprofessional.” Dr. Veronica Morris takes a more disability-friendly perspective with important lessons for everyone about our priorities in Disability Needs in the Comfort of Others: The Evolution of My Service Dog.
May 20, 2022: We’ve updated our popular public access test. It will now work better for different disabilities and ways of working with service dogs. Our PAT now also includes an explanation of our public access standard, so there is no need to use separate documents.
December 9, 2021: It will be difficult for people with disabilities to become the standard law for a company’s integral service dog; there are many good arguments to prove it. PSDP’s recent short video (also on our Defense page) goes even further and reveals how “service dog standards undermine their own goals”.
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November 26, 2021: Just for work and don’t want to spend your time educating everyone about service dogs? Politely hand out our updated FAQ booklet to the curious and everyone wins!
There are a few different reasons why someone in the US might ask their healthcare provider for a “service dog letter” – a letter supporting their (planned) use of a service dog. Each reason has different requirements for what’s on the card.
We will cover the requirements for a general letter, an accommodation letter and a workplace accommodation letter. People with service dogs in the United States do not need letters for any reason other than federal law. State laws can add rights to federal disability laws, but not remove them. Those who want a service dog for a program or for other personal reasons may need to obtain a letter that meets other specific requirements.
Please note that service dog users do not need to show a service dog card or ID to enter public places such as shops, hotels, hospitals etc. No letter or identification is required for public access in the US. If you show a letter, you have trained the gatekeeper to ask the next service dog team for the letter. Make life miserable for the team that comes after you! Some of the worst access challenges occur when a service dog comes after someone who shows a letter or ID to gain access, and they expect the same from you.
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It is generally a good idea for a (potential) service dog user to take the exact text of the letter to their provider’s office and ask them to put that text on their letterhead and sign it. This is important because many suppliers inadvertently make small changes, which can make a big legal difference. We also recommend not putting a specific diagnosis on the assistance dog’s letter, as it is unnecessary and can lead to discrimination or awkward conversations.
Any medical professional who treats someone for their disability can write a service dog letter. It can be a psychiatrist, therapist, social worker, general practitioner, neurologist, nurse, nurse practitioner, etc. If a person with a disability’s provider does not write the required letter, that person can ask another provider to treat them.
Although there is no legal requirement for a normal support letter in the everyday life of a service dog user, having one can be very useful if an unexpected event ends up in court. It provides a timeline of when you start using (or plan to train) a service dog. This can help prove that your dog was a service dog at the time of the incident.
The service dog user is not legally required to show this letter to anyone except in court situations. In supporting the intended use of an assistance dog by a person with a disability, the medical professional is not responsible for the behavior of an animal owned by another person. For all service dog letters, we recommend that the user of the service dog and the medical professional each keep a copy of the letter in places where important documents are kept.
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The dated letter should be on the supplier’s letterhead with contact information, include any licensing information, and read the following:
My client is the one I am treating for a life limiting disability. I support the use of service dogs for their disabilities.
If a person with a disability has a service dog, as opposed to a “service dog in training,” they do not need a letter for housing accommodations covered by the Fair Housing Act. (On PSDP’s housing page, there is information about which homes are exempt from the Fair Housing Act.) With a service dog, a service dog user only needs to answer two questions about the Fair Housing Act Americans with Disabilities (ADA). They are: (1) “Is the animal necessary because of the disability?” and (2) “What jobs or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?”.
Remember, you don’t have to tell anyone about the diagnosis (privacy matters). Instead, the service dog user can describe in general terms how the service dog helps. A service dog user can answer questions verbally, but it is advisable to follow up in writing with the immediate hosting provider. A simple email or (saved) text exchange is fine, as long as it clearly confirms the disability accommodation agreement.
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If the animal is not an assistance dog but still counts as an assistance animal, there are different rules. “Assistance animal” in the context of housing includes trained service animals and untrained support animals, all of which must assist a person with a disability to qualify. An assistance dog in training may qualify as a residential assistance animal if it helps a person with a disability.
The document linked below from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) explains the requirements for service animals. Details of service animals that are not service dogs begin on page 7.
The letter from the housing service dog must confirm that the person has a disability, although not what the diagnosis is. It must also establish a disability-related requirement for the service animal. If the service animal is not a regular pet, there are additional requirements; see the document linked above for more information.
Below is a sample letter for an assistance animal in accommodation. As with a regular letter, the dated letter should be on the supplier’s letterhead with contact information and include any licensing information. It should read the following:
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My client is someone I am treating for a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more life activities or important bodily functions. I support the use of dogs as service animals. My client’s disability causes them difficulties
[insert limit here, this could be “leave the house”, “maintain emotional stability”, “sleep”, “remember to take medication”, “social interaction”, etc.]
[Insert help provided here, whether it’s “regulating their emotions,” “responding to their medical condition,” “encouraging them to get out of the house,” “facilitating social interactions,” “regulating their sleep,” ” stop impulsive behavior or it can be disruptive.” “. , “remind them to take medicine”, “provide emotional support”, etc.]
To bring a service animal to the workplace as an accommodation for a disability, the employee must request a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation request must document the person’s disability, why the service animal is needed, what it does, is trained to do, and how it does not interfere with the workplace. Some of this information will come from the health care provider, while other information may come from the dog trainer or from the animal’s behavior, such as a trial period.
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At a minimum, a letter from a health care provider should document the individual’s disability. If possible, it would be helpful if the letter also included information about how the animal helps with the person’s disability. The portion of the ADA dealing with employment does not define “service animal.” This means that it is possible – but not guaranteed – that a person with a disability can find accommodation with an assistance animal in their untrained presence, as long as they are able to behave in the workplace.
Below is a sample service dog letter for healthcare professionals for workplace accommodations. As with general and accommodation letters, a dated workplace accommodation letter should be on the provider’s letterhead with contact information and include any licensing information.
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