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I don't understand why there are people who think this has shades of grey. The language in the ADA is crystal clear. If I worked in an environment where people wanted to bring cats, iguanas and whatever else I would suggest that an enlarged copy of the text of the law about what animals can work in that environment be printed out, enlarges, laminated and securely attached to all of the doors. Include a web address for non-believers. Unqualified animals that enter and then perhaps cause problems make things difficult for those with legitimate service dogs by creating a skeptical environment.
My post wasn’t suggesting there’s “shades of gray” - the OP mentioned “a CAT” as if it’s ludicrous to even think they could perform legitimate service animal duties, so I showed that they do and can.

The ADA is federal law which means it’s the minimum states must permit, but as someone replied above, individual states can have laws that allow for other animals. Think of it like marijuana: federally it’s not allowed but individual states have chosen to legalize medical marijuana or even marijuana without any need to prove a medical purpose.
 

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As an update, people have stopped bringing their pets to my workplace (and the level of people coming in angry about masks has gone down). I guess word got out that we don’t tolerate that kind of thing. But if they start coming in again, Catherine, that sign idea is a good one. We already have one for masks, so if it comes to that, it would be easy to implement.

It’s been on my mind for a while, so forgive me while I rant, but to be honest, if I would have to choose between people keeping their jobs and an animal that should not be there in the first place, the animal is gonna have to go. Now, I do respect people with both silent and physical disabilities and want everyone to treat them as equals, accommodations included, but I don’t appreciate people who think the rules don’t apply to them at the cost of so many others. Especially if the people doing so throws people who need accommodations such as service animals under the bus.

This virus has escalated those feelings, and I regularly see people who just don’t seem to care about others. I had someone straight-up tell me the other day they couldn’t wear a mask because it rubbed against their nose, and so they went without face protection altogether. Another person cursed at the top of his lungs the whole time they were there because the mask we made them wear was hot. I was worried they would punch someone. To be honest, it’s made me a little wary of who I can actually trust. Sigh... Sorry. I just need to vent somewhere.

Oh, and that cat was not being passed off as a service animal. The owner just wanted to take them into my workplace.
 

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Cats&Poodle my remark about shades of grey was not specifically addressed to be a response to you. And at this point the law has been amended to only allow dogs and miniature horses. I know the law very well since my service training of my male poodle has been all hung up in COVID issues and switching to a home work environment. Since I have health concerns that have mostly kept us at home until very recently much of his public access work has been on hold.

FloofyPoodle we were typing at the same time and you hit submit before me so I will edit to add that I totally understand how you feel these days. It seems we are destined to just have to deal with extremes. Some people have shown remarkable generosity and kind spirit and others, just well, not so much. I have heard much discussion recently about the idea that if you don't believe people are showing you who they truly are at your first meeting you haven't really watched closely enough. Masks of course also have removed a major set of communication signals like smiles and scowls. I try to be careful after having made a couple of surprising misreads.

In my neck of the woods almost every store that survived the shutdown to now be open again in some way has big signs that say no mask no ___ (service, help, entry or something along those lines).
 
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Okay, this question has been on my kind forever. What exactly does an ESA do? Are they just... There with the person? Do they have any particular training? I can see maybe helping with anxiety attacks or something, but wouldn’t that be considered a flat-out SD? Where exactly can they go in the U.S.?

The reason I ask now is that for some reason, there has been an uptick in animals brought to my (public) workplace. And animals are not allowed, unless they are legitimate service animals, for public health reasons. We recently had to tell someone to take their cat outside. A CAT. It had its own stroller and everything.
Hi. I am a service dog handler, and one of Vera's jobs is to be a psych service dog. The difference between a psych service dog and an ESA is what the dog actually does. In the US, a SD is a dog trained to preform a task that directly relates to and mitigates the handler's disability. For example, simply existing and receiving pets to calm the owner down is not a task, but the dog laying on the handler's lap and providing deep pressure therapy is a task. This is why I emphasize the word "preform". Does the dog actively do something?
Now to answer your other questions; ESAs cannot go anywhere a pet is not allowed. ESAs do not have public access rights. In public, they are considered pets. The ESA designation is really only useful or applicable when it comes to housing (and in the past, flying). Service dogs can go anywhere the general public is allowed, if the dog's presence doesn't fundamentally alter the service the place provides. What this means is someone can refuse a service dog coming into their house. To my understanding, private schools can also refuse service dogs (unless they receive certain forms of public funding). Service dogs are allowed in restaurants, but they wouldn't be allowed in the kitchen because A) the general public doesn't go in the kitchen, and B) that's a health issue. Service dogs are allowed in pool areas (ie the indoor pool area at the YMCA, JCC, community center), but they are not allowed in the actual pool water. Service dogs are also allowed at zoos, but they can restrict the areas the dog can go if it causes a safety issue for the zoo animals.

As an employee of anywhere, according to the ADA you can ONLY ask these questions to determine if an animal is a service animal:
  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

If the answer is Yes and they list actual tasks, you are required to permit them. However, they can be removed service dog or not, if the handler does not have proper control over the dog, ie barking excessively (excluding alerts), growling, urinating excessively (I say excessively because just like people, dogs can have accidents), and other unruly dog behavior.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask me, or consult Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA
 

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Okay, this question has been on my kind forever. What exactly does an ESA do? Are they just... There with the person? Do they have any particular training? I can see maybe helping with anxiety attacks or something, but wouldn’t that be considered a flat-out SD? Where exactly can they go in the U.S.?

The reason I ask now is that for some reason, there has been an uptick in animals brought to my (public) workplace. And animals are not allowed, unless they are legitimate service animals, for public health reasons. We recently had to tell someone to take their cat outside. A CAT. It had its own stroller and everything.
Hi. I am a service dog handler, and one of Vera's jobs is to be a psych service dog. The difference between a psych service dog and an ESA is what the dog actually does. In the US, a SD is a dog trained to preform a task that directly relates to and mitigates the handler's disability. For example, simply existing and receiving pets to calm the owner down is not a task, but the dog laying on the handler's lap and providing deep pressure therapy is a task. This is why I emphasize the word "preform". Does the dog actively do something?
Now to answer your other questions; ESAs cannot go anywhere a pet is not allowed. ESAs do not have public access rights. In public, they are considered pets. The ESA designation is really only useful or applicable when it comes to housing (and in the past, flying). Service dogs can go anywhere the general public is allowed, if the dog's presence doesn't fundamentally alter the service the place provides. What this means is someone can refuse a service dog coming into their house. To my understanding, private schools can also refuse service dogs (unless they receive certain forms of public funding). Service dogs are allowed in restaurants, but they wouldn't be allowed in the kitchen because A) the general public doesn't go in the kitchen, and B) that's a health issue. Service dogs are allowed in pool areas (ie the indoor pool area at the YMCA, JCC, community center), but they are not allowed in the actual pool water. Service dogs are also allowed at zoos, but they can restrict the areas the dog can go if it causes a safety issue for the zoo animals.

As an employee of anywhere, according to the ADA you can ONLY ask these questions to determine if an animal is a service animal:
  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

If the answer is Yes and they list actual tasks, you are required to permit them. However, they can be removed service dog or not, if the handler does not have proper control over the dog, ie barking excessively (excluding alerts), growling, urinating excessively (I say excessively because just like people, dogs can have accidents), and other unruly dog behavior.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask me, or consult Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA
 

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ESA have not public access rights as service animals do. The only animals recognized as service animals under the ADA are dogs and miniature horses. So cats, turtles, parrots on people's shoulders and the like may make the person feel good, but not in restaurants, on airplanes, in food stores and such please. Service animals have to have been properly trained to do at least two specific tasks that aide their handlers.
Mostly correct, but service dogs do not need “at least two” tasks. There is no minimum other than they need to be task trained, so I guess the minimum is one. And the handler has to be disabled, and the task has to relate to the handler’s disability.
 

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Sorry I can't quite address that question since I have no horse experiences, but there would still have to be at least two specific tasks. I suppose physical assistance is a major one for a service horse and getting/retrieving objects could be another.
ESA have not public access rights as service animals do. The only animals recognized as service animals under the ADA are dogs and miniature horses. So cats, turtles, parrots on people's shoulders and the like may make the person feel good, but not in restaurants, on airplanes, in food stores and such please. Service animals have to have been properly trained to do at least two specific tasks that aide their handlers.
they only need 1 task. They do not need two tasks.
 

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Guide mini horses have been used for the blind, as they live far longer than a guide dog. I wonder if they might also pull a wheel chair??

As for ESAS - for a genuine anxiety disorder, if it helps the person get out of the house and live a normally life I am fine with it. So long as the dog is trained to the same high standards for public acess you would see in a service dog :)
That is not legal. ESAs do not have public access.
 
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