Service animals will no longer include snakes

There’s a guy in Washington State who says he has a “service snake.” He’s just one of many people who have pushed and pulled at the definition of service animals to the point where it became ridiculous. As the New York Times pointed out in 2008: “first it was guide dogs for the blind; now it’s monkeys for quadriplegia and agoraphobia, guide miniature horses, a goat for muscular dystrophy, a parrot for psychosis and any number of animals for anxiety, including cats, ferrets, pigs, at least one iguana and a duck. They’re all showing up in stores and in restaurants, which is perfectly legal because the Americans With Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) requires that service animals be allowed wherever their owners want to go.”

Read the full NYT article here. (And note that is written by Rebecca Skloot - who went on to write The Immortal Life of Henrietta Laacks.)

But now there are new rules “restricting the definition of a service animal to include only dogs (and miniature horses, in some situations) that have been trained to work or perform specific tasks to help someone with a disability. That means animals tasked only with providing emotional support, comfort, therapy or companionship aren't considered service animals and may not be permitted in restaurants, stores, hotels or other public places.” Read the full Oregonian article here.

While the new rules may exclude some legitimate service animals, it will put a stop to people wanting to fly with their “emotional support goat.” Which people have done. Using a provision that allowed a service animal to fly for free.

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It seems strange to me that miniature horses are included, but monkeys are not. Monkeys have a lot of dexterity and would be really helpful to someone with limited use of arms and hands.
Yes, I have seen several stories about quadraplegics using monkeys. Hopefully this will be addressed.
We tend to be "public pet unfriendly" in the states. Have you been to England and had a pint while seated on a bar stool next to a Jack Russell similarly seated?

I've shared a lot of space with service animals and brook not a single opposition to them being around.

I also firmly believe more people would be happier with a parrot on their shoulder.
There was a Safeway downtown which kept having trouble with "emotional support dogs" peeing on the floor.
Heh, well yeah, that would be unpleasant. Although once my two year old was ill...and I was at that crazed mother point home all day long with kids, one was sick, I had no food, I just wanted chocolate, husband working I packed up the kids and took them down to Safeway. o_0 By the time I got to the refrigeration aisle, my cart was half full and I thought, huh, we're doing pretty good. The baby was sitting in the front of the cart and he was looking okay. All of a sudden, he turned green, leaned over the front of the cart and just vomited everywhere. It was all over the floor, splashed all over the glass doors where the milk was and you know that moment when you reach out thinking, I don't know, you're going to stop this...and he vomited into my cupped hands and then he....wait for it...turned around and vomited into the half full cart. I was a young mother. I sat down on the floor and just began to cry. It was awful. A kid grocery store worker came and I helped him mop up the floor and clean the glass and then I went up to the front and just wrote a check for a hundred bucks, grabbed some bags and took the whole mess out to my car.

Dog pee sounds so much more manageable.

There are an awful lot of people who want to personally police who "really" has a disability and a "real" service animal. The ADA was groundbreaking in addressing that, and I'm sorry to see them take this step backward. I think it also has overtones of mental illness and disability being less believable and respected than more visible physical disabilities.

If public spaces are really that crowded with service animals, don't we need more accommodation, not less?
You have a lot of good points.

On the flip side, my agent knows a lot of people who have gotten a note from their doctor so they can take their dog with them on the commuter train. And I've seen girls with those little dogs in purses who claim they are service animals.
Yeah, non-disabled people don't seem to have the same social shame about it as they would about parking in a blue-painted spot.
When I needed a service animal, I didn't know it would be temporary; that's not what the doctors had said. And it had been two years. He was in training and had passed something like 3 out of 4 or 5 "tests." I went to a mall with my animal and our trainer, a part of the training.

A security guard stopped me and told me the animal had to go. I explained I'm totally disabled, he's my service animal. I dug out our IDs that confirmed those statements as facts. And I pulled out the federal mandate on what questions the man could and could not ask about my service animal.

The end result: "Well, please take the dog out because other people won't understand." Excuse me! It's none of their damned business! They don't need to understand; the yellow vest said it all unless, apparently like the guard, they couldn't read it.

A woman in a grocery store saw my animal and said to her two (not well-corraled children) "Talk about spoiled!" After the mall incident, I had zero tolerance. I turned to Ms. None-of-my-business-but-I'll-comment-anyway and said, "Actually, he's working." She rolled her eyes, "Oh, so he's working, uh-huh." At that moment, it's good I was so very limited. Else I would've started a good match by stating something like, Yes, he keeps me from beating the hell out of uneducated smart asses like you. No, that wasn't his purpose. But I was a good girl because I couldn't back up my words. Besides... I'm a bigger person that that. I hope. I think. I believe.

ONLY after I was able to independently ambulate did I allow my dog to become a pet. And I don't take him places like that anymore. There are people who need the help a companion can provide, and the ones who push the envelope make it a nightmare for those who do. I agree there should be strict guidelines.

There are sites where you can get information on how and what training, and there are places who will train or help you train your animal as your service critter. But you've got to remember they're not going to be a pet, can't be treated like one. The mandates are necessary. But I think the intolerance is too often borne of lack of knowledge, which spills over to those who think they can abuse the ideal.
You guys have posted so many interesting comments and helped me see it in different ways.

I'm sorry you met so many crappy people.