Proposed Changes to Guide Dog Guidelines

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Oregon lawmakers want to stop people from abusing the service animal program.

Senate Bill 610 would clarify that a service animal is defined as animal that is trained to help someone with a disability, like a guide dog for the blind. It would also make it a crime to falsely pass off other animals as assistance animals.

Dogs for the Deaf say there has been a lot of confusion about the law over the past several years, and they are welcoming the chance to clear things up. They say they have heard complaints about people bringing pets into stores and restaurants and calling them service dogs.

“The dogs really specifically have to be suitable for that type of thing, and they have to be trained to be able to handle the stress of airports and grocery stores and shopping carts and all of those kinds of things,” explained Robin Dickson, President of Dogs for the Deaf.

The bill passed unanimously in the Oregon House, and it now moves to the Senate.


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  1. Paul says:

    so does this mean a service animal has to be certified? does the owner have to carry a copy of the certificate?

  2. connie says:

    according to the American with Disabilities Act.. ” Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA”

    I have seen people in McDonalds with cats roaming on their table, claiming to be service animals… under our state and federal law…they would not be allowed in eating and food distribution establishments unless they meet the above requirements…. So this would actually just bring the State of Oregon into compliance with the Federal definition of a service dog. Being it says the dog has to be trained for the functions it provides..there should at minimum be a training certificate for that dog.

  3. connie says:

    also from the ADA Service Animals Page
    “Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
    A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
    Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.”

  4. Esther says:

    I’m thrilled to hear that Oregon may be enforcing this law. It’s very frustrating to go into a grocery store and see someone carrying their small pet dog in the grocery cart. I put my food in those carts!!!! It doesn’t seem to bother them in the least that they are putting dog hair, dog saliva, and bacteria from whatever they’ve been walking in, into our grocery carts. When I once asked a clerk about the store’s rule on pets in the store or carts, she told me they cannot ask for proof that the dog is a “guide dog” and therefore have no control over the matter.

    I like my pets and I understand some people look upon them as their “kids” and “family” but they have no place in a grocery cart! I prefer to not see them on a lesh in the store either (UNLESS THEY ARE INDEED A GUIDE DOG… UNDERSTANDABLE) but it’s the grocery cart issue that irritates me. PLEASE PEOPLE, have some courtesy for other shoppers and their HEALTH!

    Hopefully the stores will enforce the GUIDE DOGS ONLY rule!!!

    Thank you.

  5. Patricia Bureau Alvarez says:

    If anyone has questions regarding service animals, give us a call at HASL Center for Independent Living 541-479-4275. We have ADA consultants on staff.

  6. Shellie says:

    only service dogs should be in stores, I hate dogs in stores that are just pets they don’t belong
    in a place where food is sold

  7. Connie says:

    also from the ADA site.. I read further into it and found this… it may help some of the confusion

    “When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (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. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.”

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