aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

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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