Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice issued new guidelines for the ADA which recommend limiting service animals to dogs and housebroken miniature horses. (Miniature horses are often preferred as guide animals as they have excellent vision and live three times as long as dogs.) Their decision was based on comments from business establishments not comfortable dealing with the assortment of visiting wildlife as well as the enormous amount of fraud committed by people who just want to bring their pets with them wherever they go. "Knock off" service vests, purchased doctors' notes and expensive on line certificates can all be acquired to assert that an animal is essential to the well-being of the person. In fact, the ADA requires that the animals be allowed access with challenges made after the fact.
These guidelines need not be followed by states, cities or even other federal agencies, but they certainly do not augur well for those legitimate sufferers who depend upon non dogs and miniature horses for their health as they could well be adopted and start a trend.
Perhaps if those fortunate enough not to require a service animal would behave, the new guidelines might not be enacted locally, and those needing to bring a snake out to dinner could do so and thrive. For now, those relying on excluded animals must keep an eye on local developments.
Article first published as ADA Guidelines Limit Service Animals to Dogs and Miniature Horses on Technorati.