Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Service" animals

San Francisco has become a city filled with "service animals," meaning the owner has a permit that allows him or her to take their dog, cat, or snake (seriously) into restaurants, libraries, and often even rental properties that don't allow pets. In 2004 the city's Animal Care and Control Department issued 244 permits. In 2008 the number was 500, and interim director Rebecca Katz speculates that 2009 numbers are at least as high. ...

The [Americans with Disabilities Act] legislation, enacted in 1990, is so vague that it has created two classes of service animals. ...

The problem is the second classification - emotional support animals. All animals - lizards, chickens and snakes - have been designated service animals because they lend emotional support to the owner. In most cases they have no task-specific training. ...

It is terrific that your hamster makes you feel better, but you shouldn't get to take him on the bus.
--C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, on broad definitions of service. HT: Alex Tsai

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