Service Animals – Comfort and Help for those with Disabilities
Many people with disabilities find service animals help them navigate everyday life.
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
Many establishments don’t allow pets, but they are required to allow service dogs to go where the general public can go by the ADA. An SS Disability Lawyer explains
When most people think of a service dog, the first thing to come to mind is a guide dog for the visually impaired. An estimated 2% of visually impaired people use service dogs, which correlates to an estimated 10,000 guide dogs in the United States.
A well-trained dog can alert its owner of allergens, calm people with autism, prevent falls, detect blood sugar levels, alert the deaf of alarms, ease symptoms of mental illness, respond to seizures, or retrieve objects for those with mobility issues. Dogs can be trained to do incredible things and can be invaluable companions to those with a range of disabilities.
When a diabetic has low blood sugar, their body produces isoprene which can be detected in their breath. A dog’s sense of smell is refined enough to pick up the scent and alert their owner. This is very useful when the owner is asleep and needs to be woken up to eat.
If you have been denied disability benefits contact the experienced SS Disability lawyers at 512-454-4000
Many establishments have rules against allowing pets, but they are required to allow service dogs. Service dogs are required to be leashed and under the control of the handler. When a service animal enters an establishment, the staff are only allowed to ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what task the animal is trained to do. They cannot require documentation of either the dog or the individual.
A service dog is defined solely by its ability to perform a task that helps with its owner’s disability. There is no requirement for dogs to be professionally trained, registered or identified. There are companies that sell registrations, but these registrations do not give your animal any additional rights and are generally regarded as a scam. The ADA does not even make it illegal to say your pet dog is a service dog. However, many states, including Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas, do have criminal penalties for misrepresentation of an animal as a service animal.
Texas has laws in place to prevent harassment of service animals and criminal penalties for those who deny access to service animals. Texas also has special provisions for helping service dogs in the event of a disaster.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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