Service dogs can have a profound impact on service-disabled veterans. For several years, we have partnered with Saving Grace K9s and All Aspects Service Dogs to provide veterans with service dogs for veterans with mobility impairments, and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). All dogs are partially to fully funded by our donors. Professional trainers work with the veterans and PTSD/TBI service dogs over a 6–8-month intensive course, plus post-graduate training. Training teaches the dog to pick up on cues veterans display when starting to experience distress or anxiety, and consequently uses a skill, such as nudging, pawing, or licking to encourage the veteran to focus on the dog rather than the trigger. The dog is also taught to provide comfort, such as a hug, or compression on some part of the body. Mobility Service dogs take approximately two years to train. Training begins as early as 6 months with basic obedience. Once they are paired with a veteran, the skill specific training begins. A few examples are, pulling a wheelchair, picking up objects, assisting with dressing, and providing balance.
Our veterans fought for our freedom and rights. When they come home, who fights for them? Thirty percent (30%) of our veterans return home affected by PTSD and TBI. PTSD/TBI service dogs are proven to reduce anxiety and stress in these veterans and are often a lifeline. These dogs are crucial to the mental and physical wellbeing of our veterans today.
A large percentage of our veterans return home with physical impairments. The inability to use a body part, loss of eyesight, or loss of hearing, challenges a veteran to live their life to the fullest. Mobility service dogs not only perform needed skills, but provide confidence, and security to embrace their new normal.
PMFF Service Dog Donation Menu
PLATINUM Sponsor ($35,000) – Sponsors a Veteran and Service Dog starting at the time of puppy selection through complete training and graduation.
GOLD Sponsor ($20,000) – Sponsors a Veteran and Service Dog starting after the dog has completed basic training.
SILVER Sponsor ($10,000) – Sponsors the final training of the Veteran and Service Dog team.
BRONZE Sponsor ($2,500) – Sponsors the complete training of a PTSD therapy dog.
Any amount helps with the training and care. Examples are:
· Wellness Donation ($1,000 to $5,000) – Veterinary care
· Dental Donation ($500) – Teeth cleaning under anesthesia
· Spa Donation ($200) – Shampoo, grooming, and nail trim
· Food Donation (any amount) – Age-appropriate food
What is a service animal?
What is a service animal?
Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. The Patriot Military Family Foundation sponsors Service Dogs for veterans with physical disabilities.
What does "do work or perform tasks" mean?
The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.
Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.
If someone's dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?
It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA. The Patriot Military Family Foundation sponsors Therapy Dogs, which are trained to recognize a PTSD episode and take specific actions to prevent or reduce the effects of the episode.
Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.
Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?
No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.
What questions can a covered entity's employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?
In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific 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 are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.
Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?
No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.
Who is responsible for the care and supervision of a service animal?
The handler is responsible for caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting, feeding, and grooming and veterinary care. Covered entities are not obligated to supervise or otherwise care for a service animal.
Can a person bring a service animal with them as they go through a salad bar or other self-service food lines?
Yes. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers to and through self-service food lines. Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories.
Can hotels charge a cleaning fee for guests who have service animals?
No. Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest’s service animal causes damages to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests.
What happens if a patient who uses a service animal is admitted to the hospital and is unable to care for or supervise their animal?
If the patient is not able to care for the service animal, the patient can make arrangements for a family member or friend to come to the hospital to provide these services, as it is always preferable that the service animal and its handler not be separated, or to keep the dog during the hospitalization. If the patient is unable to care for the dog and is unable to arrange for someone else to care for the dog, the hospital may place the dog in a boarding facility until the patient is released, or make other appropriate arrangements. However, the hospital must give the patient the opportunity to make arrangements for the dog’s care before taking such steps.
Must a service animal be allowed to ride in an ambulance with its handler?
Generally, yes. However, if the space in the ambulance is crowded and the dog’s presence would interfere with the emergency medical staff’s ability to treat the patient, staff should make other arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital.
Certification and Registration
Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.
There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.
My city requires all dogs to be registered and licensed. Does this apply to my service animal?
Yes. Service animals are subject to local dog licensing and registration requirements.
My city requires me to register my dog as a service animal. Is this legal under the ADA?
No. Mandatory registration of service animals is not permissible under the ADA. However, as stated above, service animals are subject to the same licensing and vaccination rules that are applied to all dogs.
Can service animals be any breed of dog?
Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals.
Can individuals with disabilities be refused access to a facility based solely on the breed of their service animal?
No. A service animal may not be excluded based on assumptions or stereotypes about the animal’s breed or how the animal might behave. However, if a particular service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, or is not under the control of the handler, that animal may be excluded. If an animal is excluded for such reasons, staff must still offer their goods or services to the person without the animal present.
Exclusion of Service Animals
When might a service dog's presence fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program provided to the public?
In most settings, the presence of a service animal will not result in a fundamental alteration. However, there are some exceptions. For example, at a boarding school, service animals could be restricted from a specific area of a dormitory reserved specifically for students with allergies to dog dander. At a zoo, service animals can be restricted from areas where the animals on display are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs, where the presence of a dog would be disruptive, causing the displayed animals to behave aggressively or become agitated. They cannot be restricted from other areas of the zoo.
What does under control mean? Do service animals have to be on a leash? Do they have to be quiet and not bark?
The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. In most instances, the handler will be the individual with a disability or a third party who accompanies the individual with a disability. In the school (K-12) context and in similar settings, the school or similar entity may need to provide some assistance to enable a particular student to handle his or her service animal. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may use a long, retractable leash to allow her service animal to pick up or retrieve items. She may not allow the dog to wander away from her and must maintain control of the dog, even if it is retrieving an item at a distance from her. Or, a returning veteran who has PTSD and has great difficulty entering unfamiliar spaces may have a dog that is trained to enter a space, check to see that no threats are there, and come back and signal that it is safe to enter. The dog must be off leash to do its job, but may be leashed at other times. Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.
What can my staff do when a service animal is being disruptive?
If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises.
Are stores required to allow service animals to be placed in a shopping cart?
Generally, the dog must stay on the floor, or the person must carry the dog. For example, if a person with diabetes has a glucose alert dog, he may carry the dog in a chest pack so it can be close to his face to allow the dog to smell his breath to alert him of a change in glucose levels.
Do apartments, mobile home parks, and other residential properties have to comply with the ADA?
The ADA applies to housing programs administered by state and local governments, such as public housing authorities, and by places of public accommodation, such as public and private universities. In addition, the Fair Housing Act applies to virtually all types of housing, both public and privately-owned, including housing covered by the ADA. Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are obligated to permit, as a reasonable accommodation, the use of animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks that benefit persons with a disabilities, or provide emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of a disability. For information about these Fair Housing Act requirements see HUD’s Notice on Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-funded Programs.
Do Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, have to comply with the ADA?
No. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities to participate in Federal programs and services. For information or to file a complaint, contact the agency’s equal opportunity office.
Do commercial airlines have to comply with the ADA?
No. The Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel. For information or to file a complaint, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, at 202-366-2220.
For more information about the ADA, please visit our website at www.ADA.gov or call our toll-free number @ 800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)