Beginning March 15, 2011 only dogs are recognized as Service animals under titles 2 and 3 of the ADA. The definition of a Service Animal is a dog that is individually TRAINED to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “Assistance Animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “Service Animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act. There are no certifications, licenses, or permits required for service animals. Certifications by reputable companies are completely voluntary by the Service animal’s handler. No entity may ask for proof that a service animal is in fact a service animal. However, to obtain accessibility one may be asked if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task has the animal been trained to perform. Staff of any facility CANNOT ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the animal OR ask that the animal demonstrate it’s ability to perform the work or task. A Service Animal is not and should not be confused with a Therapy Animal or Companion Animal. A Service Animal IS NOT a PET
A Therapy Animal is an animal that is TRAINED to provide comfort and affection to people in long term care, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, mental health institutions and other stressful situations to include disaster areas. They provide people with comforting animal contact whether they have a disability or not. Therapy Animals and their handlers/owners DO NOT have the same accessibility rights as a Service animal and it’s handler. It is important to remember that it is the disabled person who is protected under the ADA and not the Service animal.
A Companion Animal is any PET that provides health benefits to a person. They may help to relieve stress, but their main function is to provide company, amusement and psychological help to their humans. NO TRAINING is required, and any species of animal may be considered a Companion animal. Entities may require a doctors note stating that a person requires the company of an animal for health benefits. Companion animals and their owners have No rights under the ADA.
States may make laws or ordinances that afford their residents certain rights for Therapy and Companion animals that the ADA doesn’t cover. To find out if your state has any regulations about Therapy or Companion animals check with your local and state ordinances.
As the title of Deziz World states, Dezi and Lexi are Service Cats, altho’ not recognized by the ADA. They have been Individually TRAINED to do work and perform tasks related to my disability. Examples of such work or tasks include alerting before a Syncope episode (passing out), Driving an electric wheelchair, Dialing 911 for emergency assistance, Calming me during a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) anxiety attack, Massaging to alleviate debillitating migraines and warm muscles do to neuropathy/fibromyalgia among other duties. That being said, I love the girls more than life itself and aside from their duties as service animals I could not go on without their love and affection. You can read more about the ADA’s rules here: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
This page is not meant to be all inclusive but merely an itroduction to the 3 different classes of “working animals”. It is not meant to start a great debate or argument. It merely states the facts. We will inlcude some training stories and posts under a subheading here. These stories are not meant to be complete training manuals but merely for your reading pleasure. Hours and months and in some cases, years have gone into training some tasks the girls perform and there’s no way we can cover all that in our posts. If you have specific questions you may contact us via our contact page at any time and we will do our best to answer your questions or give you advice or help if we are able.
Thank you for following Deziz World and reading our posts and commenting. We value each of you and think of you as family. We do hope you enjoy our posts. It is our desire to make you feel at home and a part of our family through interaction. We hope to entertain you; make you laugh, sometimes cry and to give you educational posts on occasion to help inform you broaden your knowledge base about the wonderful world of felines. They are all special in their own way.