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First access challenge with new SDiT

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Levi

PSDiT
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 6:57pm PST 
So I took my new SDiT, Levi, to the student center tonight on campus to work with him some more. He was wearing his vest and behaving like a perfect gentleman and all was well until a man approached us and asked if he was a seeing eye dog. When I explained that no he wasn't but he was indeed a service dog, he started talking about how they aren't supposed to let animals in unless they are seeing eye dogs, when I know for a fact that that is no Texas law, and certainly not federal law. I tried to explain that while some states DO limit service dogs to seeing eye dogs, the last time I checked Texas wasn't one of them. He didn't seem convinced and asked me to talk to the information desk tomorrow but I'm not really sure what to say or what literature to give them? Any ideas?

Also, I just got my official diagnosis a couple of weeks ago so, especially since I don't really intend on taking him to class with me since he's still in training and by the time he's fully trained I'll be gone unless I go on to grad school, I haven't registered with the student disability services yet. Though mental disabilities are listed as acceptable by the university, reading their policies, "Provision of appropriate documentation is of two-fold importance: establishing that a student is a
person with a disability and thereby entitled to equal access according to federal mandates AND
establishing that a student has a need for accommodation in order to obtain equal access.
Documentation must demonstrate that the physical or mental disability creates a substantial limitation
to a major life activity. In order to be considered for accommodations, the student’s documentation
must establish a current need for the requested accommodation(s)." However, I have neglected to mention using Levi as a service dog to my current therapist because I'm not sure she'll agree with the idea or realizes how much my condition affects my daily life since I'm almost always very composed in session.

I don't want to back down because I know I have rights but I haven't had to deal with these situations before and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and honestly a bit uncomfortable at the thought of having my privacy, in my mind, violated by having to go through all these channels and people I don't know, for something that shouldn't even be an issue except people are stupid and uneducated and if I'm gone in with Levi in a wheelchair, we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion! Okay, now that I'm done with my rant, anyone have any advice for Levi and I?
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Cooper

microscopic mutt
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 7:25pm PST 
I'm afraid that in Texas SDiTs don't have public access rights unless they are from a program.
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Levi

PSDiT
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 8:34pm PST 
They ARE protected under the Federal law though, and when state and federal law disagrees, the law which gives more protection to the individual prevails, it just means I can't get any help from local law enforcement, which in Texas probably wouldn't get me much help anyways. And the fact that he's in training or that he's OT wasn't even the issue and wasn't asked, as he was behaving himself just fine. The issue was them thinking that the only service dogs/only service dogs allowed are seeing eye dogs.
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Happy

The Boy Wonder
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 9:14pm PST 
Levi actually no, only full service dogs are covered under ADA and other federal law (with the exception of houseing). Service dogs in training are covered, or not depending on what state you're in. With you being in Texas you don't have access for a owner trained SDiT.

Federal law grants access to service dogs only after their fully trained. They don't cover rights for SDiT at all. So least restrictive clause doesn't work in this case. It's sad because the gentleman Was wrong about only guide dogs being allowed (proper terminology is guide dog or leader dogs here as Seeing Eye are only for dogs from that particular school btw) but you don't have a leg to stand on to argue the point. If you try to take this to a federal level you will lose, which will also set a bad precedent for the future.

Edited by author Wed Sep 5, '12 9:17pm PST

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Gatsby

"One classy man"
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 9:28pm PST 
I am in TX as well. It is true, as a SDiT you don't have any access rights as a owner trainer in TX. I know, it sucks. I would register with your disability office at your college. That is what I am doing with my SDiT, so far I haven't had any problems being allowed in buildings on campus (except the areas that serve food because its against health codes since OTd SDiTs are not granted any access rights) and my teachers have been very accommodating about the prospect of bringing him to class with me. I'm almost done as well, but its still well worth it to go through the disability office. There may be other ways they can help you as well.

PM me please! Maybe you are close to me and we can do some training together!hamster dance
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Levi

PSDiT
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 5, '12 10:29pm PST 
Huh, well crap. I guess I really am up a creek then because while I do intend to work with a trainer, I won't have a chance until December because I'm away at college and because of the school I'm using (most others I couldn't even begin to afford), I'll still have to do most of the PAT myself (of course our trainer will sign off on our final PAT test). Unfortunately, there just aren't many dog-friendly places in such a small town - we don't even have a pet store here.

It's so frustrating to have found something that might actually help me to feel like a normal person after they've told me they've done all they can for me medically, only to have it be shut down by the very laws that are supposed to protect us. I really don't see how people in states like ours are ever supposed to get our dogs PAT test ready if we can't ever practice with them anywhere unusual. confused
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Member Since
09/07/2012
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 7:36am PST 
Hi, new member here but long time trainer. I am not in Texas so not totally certain about the laws there. My understanding is federal law does take precedence on this. Do you have a service dog ID badge? There is a federal contact number on the back of it and you can contact them about the laws.
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Happy

The Boy Wonder
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 9:19am PST 
Guest, federal law does not take precedence with a dog that is still in training. The American's with Disabilities act only covers fully trained service dogs in places of public access. If you have a dog that is in training you have to look to state law. Some states have access laws for dogs in training, other's don't. If there is no law for dogs in training then the dog is considered a pet under the eyes of the law and is only allowed on already pet friendly establishments.
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Onyx, SD

Legitimate- Mobility Dog
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 11:36pm PST 
I recall correctly, Texas law only allows access to SDITs when they're accompanied by a qualified trainer from a recognized organization, so even if a person chooses to OT under the supervision of a service dog trainer, they can only train in non-pet friendly locations at times when the trainer physically accompanies them and the dog.
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Bobby

972702
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 10, '12 12:15pm PST 
Under Texas law you only need the following first being a person with a disability second a person that is generally know to train a dog. Texas law is really funny
I know this much in Texas never say your Dog have sdit. If you disabled you are allowed to train your dog you get one free pass. I learned this from bringing this to the table in a lawsuit
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