Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | February 13, 2008

The Human-Animal Bond

 

Bandit -Helpful Dog of Week

Bandit -Helpful Dog of Week

A significant component of the mission for Second Chance Humane Society is promoting the human-animal bond. This bond has powerful and transformative effects amongst both people and animals. And it is this bond that allows people with disabilities to navigate through their lives more fully with the assistance of service animals.

 

Service Animals make it possible for thousands of individuals to continue living independently and integrated amongst society. Unfortunately many people don’t understand the support that those with disabilities gain from animals and become an obstacle to such human and service animal partnerships.

Friends of SCHS, Linda Ivey (“Ivey”), and her service dog Owl, are familiar with how people become such obstacles. Ivey is committed to educating others toward greater awareness and in “recognizing we are as civilized as we treat our most vulnerable”. She shared with SCHS this synopsis of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which includes rights of persons with disabilities who use service animals:


”Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks.  Service animals are working animals, not pets.

Under the 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.

A person with a disability may be asked what tasks the service animal performs but may not be asked for special certification or ID cards for the animal and may not be asked about his or her disability.  A person with a disability may not be charged an additional fee to be accompanied by a service animal nor isolated, segregated, or treated less favorably than other persons.”

Ivey also has experienced that many people are not quite sure how to act around a service animal.  “In general, if you keep in mind that it is the person that you need to address, you will do well.  Paying attention to the animal and then noticing the person can make the person with a disability feel uncomfortable.”

Ivey also shared that when meeting a person with a service dog, “remember that the dog is working and one should not do anything to interrupt the service dog while it is performing its tasks”. She offered the following service dog etiquette:


1.  Speak to the person first.  Do not aim distracting or rude noises at the dog.
2.  Do not touch the service dog without asking for, and receiving, permission.
3.  Do not offer food to the service dog.
4.  Do not ask personal questions about the handler’s disability, or otherwise intrude on his or her privacy.
5.  Don’t be offended if the handler does not wish to chat about the service dog.
6. If you don’t like dogs or are afraid of dogs, place yourself away from the service dog.  If you are a business person, discreetly arrange for someone else to wait on the person.
7. If people complain about the dog being present in a public environment explain that federal law protects the right of the person to be accompanied by the service dog in public places.

Additionally, it is a felony to interfere with a disabled person and their service animal.  This includes ones own “off leash” dog interfering with the safety and mobility of the individual and the service animal.

 Ivey and Owl are willing to present further information on this topic they are passionate about to schools and other organizations that would like to become better informed.

 Bandit, the SCHS shelter pet of the week, has a gentle nature, readiness to learn, and eagerness to please, some of the components of a potential service dog. He is eagerly awaiting his new forever home.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Voucher Program, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other pet questions. For more information on SCHS, or to visit our shelter pets online, go to: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org. Responses or question regarding a Pet Column can be sent to: vol-ed@secondchancehumanesociety.org

 

 

 

 

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