OPINION: Please Don’t Interfere With Service Dogs

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FRAMINGHAM – As a service dog owner I am finding it hard to go out without people distracting my dog. This is not jut by saying to her what a good girl she is but actually reaching down and petting her without my permission. This is an illegal act and can and will be enforced as such if anyone distracting a service dog causes the disabled to get injured. 

These days big box stores such as Target and Walmart (both Framingham locations have been in health code violations) allow any animal to enter because they are afraid of a lawsuit by the customer without thinking about the damage it causes us or potential injuries to a customer by a non trained dog, thus making it impossible for those of us who use a service dog for a legitimate reason.

Per the ADA, “Service Dogs are not required to wear a vest, and the business can ask only 2 questions, is that a service dog and what task(s) has it been trained to perform. If someone says for comfort it’s NOT a service dog!”

A task would be open doors, alert me before I have an episode, distract me from having a panic attack, those are a few examples of a task. 

I’m writing this because on Friday my dog was more than distracted in Walmart, the person actually had her leaning into him and had his arm around her! 

On behalf of all of us who rely on a service dog to navigate the world whether it’s a guide dog, hearing aid dog, PTSD, social anxiety, diabetic alert dog or seizure alert dog I plead for all of us, DON’T distract a service dog.

In fact act like every dog you see is a lifeline for whomever is holding the leash and ignore it.

If you’re in a business that sells food, again assume that it’s a service dog because no pets are allowed by law in facilities that sell food unless it’s a service dog. 

Kevin Cummings

Framingham

Director 

Felicia Rose Grant Program

https://www.cummingsfoundation.org/felicia/

editor

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