Below you will find an assortment of reference materials and resources related to Service Animals and Guide Dogs. These consists of documents and resources exploring protections outlined under the Department of Justice and Americans with Disabilities Act, links to service and guide dog accreditation bodies, and efficacious schools for service and guide dogs. Like any resource page, this will continue to grow and expand, so check back.
An objective of Blind Not Alone involves compiling resources and links related to disablement. Below are some of the other pages you might be interested in:
- Disability Resources and Links
- Veterans Benefits, Services, and Disability Information
- Department of Veterans Affairs Blind and Visually Impaired Veterans Services
- Service Animals and Guide Dog Resources and Information
Service and Guide Dog Etiquette for the Community
Service and Guide Dogs provide an invaluable service for their disabled handlers. Each may stem from a special breeding program and undergoes training for this most important job. There are guidelines people should follow when in the presence of a Service or Guide Dog promoting the safety and wellbeing for all. Disregarding these guidelines can distract the dog, which can create a dangerous situation for the dog and its handler. Aside from the Americans with Disabilities Act, KSA 39-1103 protects the rights of individuals to utilize Service and Guide Dogs. Interference is a misdemeanor in Kansas under KSA 39-1103.
- Please don’t touch, talk, feed or otherwise distract a working Service Dog.
- Do not let your pets freely roam neighborhoods, front yards, or other public spaces, something most communities, townships, associations, etc… mandate.
- Don’t treat the dog as a pet; give him the respect of a working dog.
- Speak to the handler, not the dog.
- Some handlers will allow petting, but be sure to ask before doing so. If allowed, don’t pat the dog on the head, stroke the dog on the shoulder area.
- Do not attempt to give Service and Guide Dogs commands; allow the handler to do so.
- Service and Guide Dogs team have the right of way. Don’t try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler, but please assist the handler upon their request.
- When walking with a Service and Guide Dog team, you should not walk on the dog’s left side, as it may become distracted or confused. Ask the handler where you should walk.
- Many Service and especially guide Dogs receive training to walk on the left side of paths, sidewalks, streets, etc… This is for the safety of the handler, so permit them the right away.
- Do not allow your pets to challenge or intimidate a Service and Guide Dog. You should allow them to meet on neutral ground.
These pearls of wisdom originated from the Guide Dog Foundation’s Service and Guide Dog etiquette recommendations. Please visit this link to read the original. Also, consider donating to either the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s Vet Dogs. Both provide efficacious Service and Guide Dogs to individuals with disabilities.
Service Animal and Guide Dog Protections and Regulations
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Department of Justice<
The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures all persons with a Service Animal or Guide Dog has the right to access all areas classified as Public Accommodations. The Department of Justice rulings creates the teeth to enforce these provisions. The below links and resources will help one understand these basic overarching rights for both persons with disabilities and owners or managers of areas classified as public accommodations.
2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Revised Service Animal Policies
Department of Justice’s 2015 Frequently Asked Questions About Service Dogs
Guide and Service Dog Accreditation Bodies
While the ADA does not stipulate assistance dogs must come from an accredited academy to receive regulatory protections, the international accreditation bodies offers a wealth of information for perspective handlers to private entities trying to learn the differences between legitament assistance dogs and fake ones. Its the opinion of Blind Not Alone that one attends a school accredited by one of the below organizations for their guide or service dog.
IGDF is the premeir entity ensuring that schools accredited by them produce the world’s best guide dogs. With over 80 schools receiving their approval from around the world, you know that every guide dog trained through their network is backed by a trainer and training regiment with years of research and evaluation backing it.
This page from IGDF accurately discusses whether a guide dog is right for you. The answer is not always yes, so carefully read over this page and answer the questions prior to taking the next step in acquiring a guide dog.
If you are looking for a IGDF school, here is their list.
Assistance Dogs International is the accreditation body for those schools and trainers producing effective service dogs. These includes such dogs as guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, psychiatric dogs, and numerous others. ADI’s vast network serves in numerous roles from service animal advocacy to researching new methods to train service dogs to ameliorate ones disability through a trained task.
Learn more about ADI and the full range of programs and services they provide.
Service Animal Programs
OccuPaws Guide Dogs is a Wisconsin based guide and service dog school accredited by the IGDF. Not only do they provide excellent assistance dogs, but their website is a wealth of information related to disability regulations.
KSDS serves as the top service dog school in Kansas. They help in advocating for disability rights at the state level and tirelessly works to promote positive images of legit service dogs.
America’s Vet Dogs is an affiliate of the Guide Dog Foundation, and ranks as one of the top guide and service dog schools in the country. In fact, its through their two week program I learned and received my own guide dog, Black Jack.
Different from many other schools, Fidelio raises primarily German Shepards and executes a home based training program. Many of my friends have received their guide dog from here.
Uber and Service Dogs
Over the last year, Uber received direct fire from disability and service dog advocates related to drivers denying service to service dog handlers. The ADA does apply to Uber, and they have entered into a settlement which requires Uber to educate and enforce their policies about service dog access. Keep in mind that another court case clarified that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees of Uber. This plays a critical role in how to approach issues you face. If you experienced an issue with Uber or have a question about their policies related to accessibility, below are some links to visit: