How do alternative service animals affect the community? A Service Animal is any signal dog, guide dog, or other animal trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. The main purposes of service animals are to guide, pick up, fetch, or act as a medic alert for people who are disabled. These animals also can “help a person with a physical or psychological disability to live more independent, healthier, happier, or more mobile life” (Persels). Service dogs are the most common service animal used to help the disabled, however with the rise of alternative service animals that just might change.
There are many different types of alternative animals like snakes, miniature horses, chimpanzees, capuchin monkey, ferrets, pigs, goats, ponies and etc. Yet there are many difficulties that alternative service animals and owners face. People who have alternative animals should be concerned about the risk factors of owning non- traditional service animals. The domestication of animals is nothing new, in fact the dog was the first animal that humans domesticated 13,000 to 30,000 years ago (Beam). However, in this day and age these animals help us more than ever.
Whether n animal is there to comfort, serve, and help people, but lately have seemed to have forgotten that you cannot use every animal for these purposes. There’s nothing wrong with having an alternative animal as a service animal however everyone should know that there’s specific type of animals that should be used. Yet, what many have failed to realize is that these alternative animal are endangering lives. Due to these non- traditional animals the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws are having conflicts about the use of alternative service animals.
Which are causing court cases to drag out for nneeded reasons. People with disabilities who own alternative service animals are conspicuous. They are choosing animals that can potentially bring harm to themselves or others. For example, in the case of Pruett v. Arizona, the woman wanted to take home a chimpanzee to use as a service animal. Chimpanzee are not exactly suitable to serve as service animals because by the time they become adolescents they show signs of aggression.
At the end of the case Pruett wasn’t giving right to have in possession a chimpanzee due to the risks and dangers of owning a chimpanzee, however because of this case an rganization started that’s called Helping Hands Monkey Helpers for the Disable. Through this organization they train capuchin monkeys, which are suitable to serve as a service animal. If anyone is going to choose an alternative service animal, then it would be best to conduct an explicit research on the animal. In another case, Assenberg v. he Anacortes Housing Authority (AHA) where Michael Assenberg claimed the his snakes were service animals the helped him with his depression and insistent to have the right to carry them wherever. Assenberg had shown proof from his doctor that he was iagnosed with depression and the his snakes help him with his depression. Regardless of that mattered the AHA wanted proof that his snakes were indeed service animals. As the court case dragged on, it was found that Assenberg snakes were found to not be service animals. Fortunately, in this case no one was injured, but that still doesn’t change the fact that snakes are not dangerous.
There have been many snake related incidences that make having snakes a risk hazard. The conflicts with the state and local laws are the primary issues that people with alternative service animal. It’s stated that “Federal supremacy requires that the ADA triumph over any state or local law that grants fewer rights or less protection than the ADA” (Adair). Furthermore to that statement “state and cities are free to provide additional rights and protections within their jurisdictions beyond those mandated by the ADA” (Adair).
As a result to these laws, a person with an alternative service animal would lose his/hers service animal due to the federal law and state law but only if that person is traveling to a different state where their certain animal is not allowed. In the event that, that ere to be a law it could lessen the court cases between ADA and state laws. In reality a law like this could never exist due to the ADA. That is to say that president Bush said “independence, freedom of choice, control of their lives, the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream” (Adair).
Another key point with alternative animals is confusing service animals with therapy animals. It’s important to realize that a service animal has been trained to help with a person disabilities and not only to comfort it’s owner. A point that’s often overlooked is whether or not the animal is egistered as a therapy animal. Many therapy animals are constantly being mistaken for service animals which is causing conflicts between business owners and the state law. With that in mind there are three different types of therapy animals: Therapeutic Visitation, Animal Assisted Therapy, and Facility therapy.
A therapy animal can be used as a motivation to lift their spirits, help for gaining and recovering physically, and help those with mental illnesses. The other thing that must be remembered is that a therapy animal must be well tempered, mustn’t shed excessively, well socialized, and love to cheer thers up (All About Therapy Animals). Under those circumstances a therapy animal shouldn’t be used as a service animal. When it come to service animals not many know about the certain laws about where they are allowed to be in public or how to handle people with service animals.
This very issue can be troubling because there are many business owners that are not aware of the law and could be faced with unwanted court dealings. As Persels stated “Service animals are allowed anywhere the general public is allowed”. However, that law does have it’s limitations when it come to safety, to assure the safety f the animal and handler “they are not allowed in a place where they may compromise the safety of the public or their handler” (Persels).
The laws that should be knowed are: having fear or allergies of animal are acceptable reasons to deny service, those with disabilities can not be asked to remove his/ hers service animal unless animal is out of control and owner fails to control animal, establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animal in public areas, even with disabilities they can not be treated less than, and staff of establishments are required to provide food or care for service animal (Persels).
These laws and guidelines from the ADA are only a few however they are helpful and can ensure an easier way in handling those with disabilities and service animals. Granted that if a therapy animal can be confused as a service animal so can an emotional support animal. A emotional support animal is defined as animals that belong to a person who is emotionally or psychologically disabled (Grieve). Emotional support animal, according to Grieve “there are currently no federal restrictions on the species of an animal in an emotional support role”; which could cause potential dangers in public outings.
A person with he means of always staying with their pets would say anything to take their animal anywhere. In the event that is to occur they would be putting the public into danger due to their careless actions. Not only are they going against the law their making people feel uneasy due the dangers of their exotic animal. All things considered one should choose animals wisely and follow the law to avoid any dangers. The situation of the dangers of having a non-traditional service animal are most likely to continuously rise. Therefore causing more and more sightings of alternative service animals and the dangers to rise as well.
The organisation of the Helping Hands Monkeys and the Guide Horse Foundations are small but is a legitimate place for non- traditional service animals (Adair). However, these organisation do support alternative service animals they are clearly trying to use these non-traditional service animals in a more civil matter. Unlike those who have made false claims that their animal is a service animal and tried to legitimize non-traditional service animals through the court system but have always failed. The concern about the risk factors of owning non-traditional service animal continues to grow ever so slowly.
However, the federal and state laws are not about to yield with the court cases to the potentially dangerous animal that owners wish to legitimize their animal. The false accusations of a therapy animal and emotional support animals being deemed as a service animal will still continue but the probability of alternative, therapy, or emotional animals being service animals is a slim to none chance. In conclusion, the risk factors of alternative service animal may never end but with the ADA, state law, and federal law people will know the risk factors of possessing alternative service animals.