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The Ultimate Service Dog Guide!

Discussion in 'Advice' started by Pawtism, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    Here it is! The ultimate service dog guide (it's long, you've been warned hehe). The result of years of education and training on the ADA (with a focus on service dogs for obvious reasons), and the culmination of many, many posts here on the subject. Title III of the ADA: Public Accommodations is what requires us to take service animals. So, what is a service animal? A service animal is a dog and in some rare cases, a mini horse, that has been "task trained" to assist with a disability. Mini horses do have size restrictions including in their granting of public access that will render them effectively not accessible for most ride share drivers (unless you're driving something pretty big). o_O So for the purposes of this thread, I'm going to focus only on the dogs.

    Just know that it's really not Uber/Lyft doing this, it's Federal Law (in the US), and they are only following, and ensuring you follow, the law. This is actually a 28 year old law, and drivers themselves were liable to follow it from the beginning. Uber tends to have bigger pockets than individual drivers, so ultimately they are the ones who the lawsuits started coming after. To protect themselves, they have to also protect the drivers, by forcing compliance. Hence, you violate the ADA, you get deactivated. :( As drivers, we have to accept that we are taking our personal property (our cars) and making them public (by going online). If you don't want to do that, then don't drive ride share. This link will be your friend throughout this post: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

    The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. By substantially limits, we're talking about something that is a really big deal here, not just something that someone has but they muddle through. For example, I have allergies, but they don't rise to the level of a disability, while they are certainly annoying (especially since I'm allergic to dogs and have to be with one pretty much 24/7), I can take an Allegra and muddle through the day. :oops: On the other hand, as my name implies, I have Autism (Asperger's Syndrome), and it does rise to the level of a disability (without accommodations, I likely wouldn't still be employed, probably wouldn't have nearly as many degrees as I do (I barely got through my BA program without accommodations, and it took me 5 years on a 4 year program), and wouldn't be able to get by in the "everyday world". :confused:

    By "task trained" they mean that the service dog has to be trained in tasks (at least 2, although some states call for 3 to get their state protection too) that mitigate (lessen, counteract, etc) their disability. This task training usually comes after the Public Access training (which is why they behave so well in public). "Emotional Support" is *NOT* a task. :rolleyes: The ADA (and currently every state law I can find) specifically prohibits ESA (Emotional Support Animals) as "Service Animals" (although FL made an attempt to add them that failed). First, ESAs don't have to be just dogs (and as we mentioned before the only service animals that most drivers are going to need to worry about are dogs). Second, the ADA specifically states that "animals that provide comfort just by being with a person" do not qualify. You hear about pigs flying and living in people's apartments because of the ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) and the FHA (Fair Housing Act), neither of these affect public access (nor ride share drivers). :mad:

    They must perform an actual task (take an action) to mitigate the disabilities. For example, being Autistic, there is nothing that really keeps me from going to the fridge and grabbing a soda currently. I actually have some other issue that will one day make that a problem, but right now, it's not one of my "disabilities". So while to someone who has no legs for example, a dog getting something from the fridge would count as a task that mitigates one of their disabilities, my dog getting a soda from the fridge for me (I wish hehe), doesn't count as a task that mitigates my disabilities. :cool: My dogs tasks are medical alert, body blocking, and deep pressure therapy (she actually has a few more, but this post is long enough as it is hehe). :oops:

    Service dogs are used for a wide variety of disabilities and haven't been "just for the blind" for at least 20 years now. In the last 10 years or so, their use has started really accelerating. There are guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, autism dogs, ptsd dogs, etc. I expect that list to only get longer as more and more studies are being performed as to what service dogs can actually help with. Maybe one day, technology will come along that will replace the service dog. I know things are already being worked on, but until that day, this is where we're at. Personally, I look forward to my personal robot that can take care of my tasks, but alas, I still have a dog. ;)

    Service dogs and in most states, Service Dogs in Training (check your state or if you really can't find it for your state let me know and I'll locate it for you, Service Dogs in Training are typically dogs who have completed their Public Access training, but are still working on their "tasks"), must be taken (no if's, and's, or but's). People have tried to get around this for almost 30 years now, no one who has gone up against a legitimate service dog has succeeded. If you can think of it, they've tired it. Allergies, phobias, religion, it's all failed. Ignorance of the law is never a defense for it. Sure you can explain away intent, but discrimination claims don't need intent, they only need to show that the effect of discrimination happened.

    The bottom line is simple. If you are SO allergic to or so afraid of dogs that you literally can't function around them, they get you so sick or afraid that they substantially limit your ability to drive (which is a daily activity) then you also have a disability, and unfortunately that disability prevents you from being able to be a ride share driver (as you're unable to complete the basic duties, which including taking service dogs). :oops: Now, if you were an employee, the ADA would have you covered and they'd have to give you another position that you were able to do instead. But alas, we aren't employees, we're independent contractors, and as such, we can't complete our contracts so we're just deactivated. :eek: It's not pleasant, but there is the cold, hard truth. As for religion, well we have a strict separation of church and state in this country. Thus, that is automatically a fail argument, the law can't consider religion (pro or con) when it's considering service dogs (yes, it's been tested in case law, yes, it's failed, many of the cases are up in Minnesota, you're welcome to google it).
     
  2. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    You can not ask for any documentation. The reason is simple, there is no legitimate documentation to give. With about half of service dogs being owner trained, the documentation would come from the owner anyway, so how is that any different than asking them? o_O Anyone who does show you some, is almost certainly a fake. There are registration sites where people can get "credentials" that are certifying literally nothing. Because there isn't any legitimate credentials, it's unfortunately not illegal for them to make these fake ones (because they aren't actually forging anything). :rolleyes: After all, I could certify that certain foods don't contain "death crystals", because there is no fraud there. "Death crystals" aren't a real thing. If anyone is ignorant enough to think it is, and pay me to certify it free of it.. win for me. If anyone shows you "documentation" it's almost certainly a fake (real service dog handlers know better).

    The ADA does give you an even better way to catch the fakers though. They allow two (2) questions (and ONLY these two questions) to be asked. 1. "Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?" and 2. "What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?" The first one is pretty easy to lie to (unfortunately there are people of such low moral character as to do so). The second one though, this is where you're going to catch your fakers. Anyone with a real service dog knows the two questions you can ask, and will be prepared for this. The fakers won't. :D They'll say "you can't ask me that!" (yes, you can). Or, they'll say "emotional support" (not a real service dog, you are not required to take an Emotional Support Animal, and as stated before if it's anything but a dog, you don't have to take it). :mad: If they list actual tasks instead, then they've almost certainly got a real service dog (and not taking it would be a major mistake). :cool:

    That being said, service dogs (even legit ones) can still be kicked out on two conditions (three really, but the third is almost never a legitimate reason, so it's almost never actually mentioned). 1. If it "is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it". Out of control is probably the most common legitimate reason. Case law has set this to mean a great many things. The obvious stuff is that the dog is barking (more than just an alert), growling, lunging at people, biting, etc. The slightly less obvious is things like not physically restrained. A service dog still has to be leashed, tethered, etc unless that prevents them from doing their immediate task, in which case they can be off long enough to perform their task then have to be back on again. They also have to remain under effective voice control during that time.

    For an example, let's say I was wheelchair bound (I'm not yet, thankfully), and I need my dog to go push the automatic door button. I can release her off the leash so she can run go push it, but then I need to be able to call her back (or stop her mid task with my voice, if a threat emerges or something), and put her back on the leash when she's back. Where this winds up getting a lot of people (especially fakers) is things like shopping carts. Service dogs are *NOT* allowed in shopping carts and putting one there, is considered out of control and reason enough to be asked to leave (if you won't correct it when asked). The same applies at seats/tables in the restaurant. Service dogs are *NOT* allowed on the seats/booths or up at the table. This kind of behavior infuriates most real service dog handlers. :mad: Four (paws) on the floor is the general rule (with an exception for a chest carrier, or something like that, for some smaller diabetic alert dogs that literally need to smell your breath, or have similar tasks).

    The second reason is if they aren't housebroken (pretty obvious, but it's a rule). The third? If the presence of a service dog would fundamentally alter the goods/services being provided. This is the core reason why there are a very few areas that service dogs are not allowed (burn units, ORs, etc), there are a few other places (churches come to mind), but that doesn't impact drivers so I won't go too much into them. A famous recent example is a lady who wanted to take her service dog on an open air ski lift chair, after they even offered to drive her up... :confused: she lost, no service dogs on open air ski lifts, deemed a safety issue (they'd have to enclose them to be safe, and that would be a fundamental alteration to their business). Anyway, on the off chance that someone has researched enough about this (and still has low enough moral character) to lie effectively to the second question, and the dog is in control, then you'll have to take it. :(

    A real service dog will not be an issue at all, so stressing out about it is really an exercise in futility. They are typically trained to sit on the floorboards unless it's a small car and a big dog in which case it will have to go on the seat. Just have a blanket or towel available and that is going to solve the issue of hair and such for you. Bottom line, you wouldn't question if someone in a wheelchair actually needs the chair would you? If someone with glasses actually needs the glasses? Same with service dogs. It's a medical aid device (technically durable medical equipment, they're actually tax deductible). :cool: If someone comes along with a service dog, and you are genuinely in doubt if it's real or not, simply ask the two questions. Between their reaction to (and answers of) that, and the dog's behavior, will tell you far more than any fake documentation from the internet ever could. ;) People with disabilities are already going through enough, and people with service dogs already get more than enough unwanted attention drawn to them, why make life harder for them, you know? :oops:

    If that isn't reason enough, then perhaps this is. In most states it's an actual crime to refuse or interfere with a service dog, typically a misdemeanor (which you can be arrested for, and would go on your record). :eek: For those worried about people faking service dogs, in about 20 states so far, it's a crime (also usually a misdemeanor) to fake a service dog. With all the backlash from the fakes, I'd expect that list to grow too. While the ADA is one thing to worry about (their fines are steep), they really can't arrest you, but your state can (if it's one that has a law making it a crime). o_O I can't imagine the "what are you in for" chat goes well when others are saying things like assaulting a cop, or attempted murder, and you tell them you refused a service dog. :oops: Criminals, as hard core as they are, tend to not take kindly to people who mess with children, the elderly, or the disabled. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  3. Iann

    Iann Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Yacolt, Washington
    How do we deny a non service animal after they fail the 2 questions?

    I'm all for helping people in need. I have a issue with people faking it.
     
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  4. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    The most common will be "emotional support", so I'd simply say "I'm sorry but emotional support animals aren't service animals, and I only take service animals." Then make sure to document it to Uber/Lyft right away (they tend to believe whoever contacts them first initially anyway), and offer them video footage of her saying "emotional support" or whatever (they probably won't even need to see it). I can tell you that real service dog handlers really despise the fakers too (they are a threat to our highly trained dogs).

    This is a video another member made (and posted here), if he wishes to identify himself he's welcome to but I'll not say his name directly. He handled it very well though.

     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  5. Julescase

    Julescase Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Pawtism you are a Service Animal information GOD.

    Thank You for all you do. And thanks for being you, boo!

    :)
     
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  6. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    Thanks! I didn't intend it to be quite so long, but I also wanted to make sure I was not only giving the info but explaining it in a way that drivers could relate to. You can imagine my surprise when I tried to post it and it said I couldn't post anything over 10,000 characters. o_O :eek: :oops:

    Ah well, hopefully it will serve as a good resource when some of those service dog questions do come up for people. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  7. Ribak

    Ribak Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Great information. What treats do you recommend? I give them recess peanut butter cups....and they really love be them. For some reason, the pet owners are not too happy with the gesture.
     
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  8. tohunt4me

    tohunt4me Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new orleans , la.
    " A HAPPY CUSTOMER CAUSES NO TROUBLE"

    Take all dogs if you can.

    I never had a dog puke in my car.

    Do you put baby aspirin in them ?

    Chocolate is supposed to be Toxic to dogs.

    Although i have witnessed a dachsund that ripped open a 3 pound bag of hersheys kisses and ATE THEM ALL !
    Foil included.
    With no ill effects.
    Dog was mentally deranged as it was before and healthy and happy.
     
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  9. Ribak

    Ribak Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    No asprin.

    Where did you get the chocolate info.....sounds like fake news to me. However, you have a lot of credibility in my book, so I will stop giving away the candy to the pets.
     
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  10. tohunt4me

    tohunt4me Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new orleans , la.
    Its the Caffeine & Theobromine in Chocolate which is toxic to dogs.
    It affects their central nervous system which is highly sensitive to these 2 chemicals.
    One Reeses cup should be harmless.
    But this is why owners may give a look.

    One Pound of chocolate is toxic to a 20 pound dog. ( i thought the levels were lower) The tables do not show over how long a time period for consumption of these amounts.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  11. Ribak

    Ribak Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    YIKES!!!! Thank you for sharing this useful info.
     
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  12. tohunt4me

    tohunt4me Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new orleans , la.
    Peanut Butter is Good for dogs.
    Now too much consumption of sugars may also be bad for dogs teeth
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. Stevie The magic Unicorn

    Stevie The magic Unicorn Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North of Disney, West of Orlando
    Driving:
    Taxi
    Fake documentation is INCREDIBLY easy to fake

    5 minutes and a google search was all it took..

    SeeingEyeUnicorn.png

    It has the governors signature, it's back dated for realism, and it has the state seal...

    The suggestions to ask the two questions is a much better idea than asking to see paperwork.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Cableguynoe

    Cableguynoe Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Monterey Bay
    If someone takes the take to make and carry fake documents, they deserve the damn ride with the dog.
     
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  15. Fuzzyelvis

    Fuzzyelvis Well-Known Member

    Location:
    houston
    Driving:
    UberX
    Well you explained everything beautifully but new members will still keep starting threads--this needs to be a stickie if it's not already, and I wish there was an easy way for someone not familiar with the site to be automatically directed here anytime they use the words "dog" or "pet" or "service animal" in a post.

    You do have to be careful with fat intake. Pancreatitis is common in dogs and usually set off by a high fat meal. So some peanut butter is fine (it's fun watching them lick, and lick, and lick...) but too much can be a problem like any high fat food. Weight issues aside.

    Pancreatitis is incredibly painful and can be fatal. Basically it digests itself.
     
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  16. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    Yeah, I guess I'm mostly hoping that as newbies do ask questions or whatever someone will link this in their thread so they can read it. :)
     
  17. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Dallas
    Driving:
    UberX
    If you get a scofflaw, write them up, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    I've refused to accommodate several dozen fake service animals. I suspect that because I immediately log off and write them up, I've never had any issues with Uber. I make sure I video every single interaction for my protection, but haven't yet had to use this evidence. I let Uber know I had video, too.

    I carry a copy of the ADA's Requirements cheat sheet in my log book, with the important sections highlighted. It's amazing how when I pull it out, and begin reading the pertinent sections out loud, the liars sometimes just slither away. I still write them up. Every. Single. Time.

    https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

    The few that passed the two questions, that did anything else that indicated they were scofflaws (i.e., produced fake documents, or their dog misbehaved enroute, or they smuggled a second dog - yes, that's happened), are also written up, and automatically 1-starred. I've collected cleanup fees on almost all of them. I know how to get it done.

    I have two family members who are disabled, and I work during the day with a disabled attorney (all of these disabilities are readily apparent, too, there's no mystery). I have no sympathy for scofflaws and liars who abuse the system. They can burn.

    For giggles and grins, I also carry a one page print out of the criminal penalty for fake service animals. It's a $300 fine in my state. It's very easy to swear out a criminal complaint at the police station, which is my next stop if I get any d-baggery at the point of their criminal attempt, including any threats of retaliation by false report on their part.
     
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  18. Pawtism

    Pawtism Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    The Gamma Quadrant
    Some people are surprised, but I actually like it when fakers are brought to heel (pardon the pun hehe). Fake service dogs are a threat to highly trained service animals, it only takes one attack to ruin years of training. Thankfully I've not personally had that happen yet, but some of the people I serve have had that happen. It's a real problem because you can't just train up a new service dog overnight. It typically takes at least a year (and that's in a hurry).

    I think those two questions are really the crux of it all, the fakers don't know what to do with the second one. It's almost funny watching their wheels try to turn to process it. I'm glad there are people out there who keep a copy of the ADA reference available (I can just imagine the fakers slithering away hehe).
     
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  19. DrivingForYou

    DrivingForYou Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Driving:
    Lyft
    I (perhaps more than most) really appreciate this great recitation of the law.

    Nevertheless, I tend to believe (now more than ever) that Uber will still deactivate drivers even if it is not a legitimate service dog, and the passenger complains. Uber will do nothing to determine if the passenger was "faking", and simply deactivate the driver.

    Uber considers drivers as replaceable as rolls of toilet paper. Use 'em up and get another.

    Uber has no advocacy for drivers, no real appeals process, nor recourse for drivers to follow.


    As such, on the subject of service animals, and animals in general, I take all dogs, cats, etc.. I carry a beach blanket in the trunk and cover the seat before I allow them in the car. If the dog seems like a real danger, such as a pit bull, then I might ask the two questions while videotaping with my phone, and proceed from there.

    I've found my open animals policy leads to tips, and it's really no issue.
     
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  20. tohunt4me

    tohunt4me Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new orleans , la.
    That is because UBER is uselesss and ineffective on behalf of drivers.
     
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