Ask Amy: Volunteer questions about service animals

Dear Amy:

I volunteer at several public places (including a zoo) where visitors often bring a pet they claim is a service animal.

Often this is clearly a lie. For example, today a zoo visitor claimed that her cub was a service animal.

When I told her that pets were not allowed in this space, she took exception and dared me to question her about the laws governing service animals.

Management has warned volunteers like me to avoid getting entangled with these people unless the so-called service animal is a nuisance or danger.

When someone insists that their animal companion is a service animal or emotional support animal, we are told to take their animal at their word. This is mainly to avoid the threat of a lawsuit.

Would you like to remind your readers that a service animal is a specific legal entity? Pretending that your dog or any other pet is a service animal does the rest of us a disservice. It is legitimate and selfish behavior that potentially puts other people and other animals at risk.

And that’s not fair to other people who play by the rules and (reluctantly) leave their pet at home. This is part of the responsibility of having a pet.

If everyone took their pet everywhere, we’d see far more pets fighting and pooping and far more allergy sufferers sneezing.

There are many places where pets are welcome. But there are also many places where they would be better off at home.

Animals’ lover

Dear animal lover:

I sincerely believe that all beloved pets are emotional support animals, but our love for our pets doesn’t entitle us to take them anywhere.

I am happy to publish this public service announcement.

The zoo you volunteer at complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that: A person with a disability accompanied by a service animal may NOT be asked to provide documentation of a disability, to answer questions regarding their disability or to have the service animal demonstrate his work.

I assume this directive also applies to the broader category of emotional support animals.

Dear Amy:

A new friend helped me out after I got sick during a move. I really appreciated the help from him.

She has decided that I can return the favor by observing her senior cat for several days.

I said, sure, I can go to his house and feed, water and check on his cat.

However, she informed me that no, I would be keeping her cat in my house so she could have company.

This puts my health at risk. I explained that in addition to a cat’s dander, their feces really trigger my allergies.

#Amy #Volunteer #questions #service #animals
Image Source :

Leave a Comment