THIS is Why ADI Certification is Needed!

The definition of service animal has grown to include animals whose owners say they provide companionship

A TriMet spokeswoman says all animals can be service animals — cats, bunnies, even goats and rodents
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Oregonian Staff

Kae Seth wasn’t surprised to read that bus passenger Leroy Morley passed off his pet Rottweiler mix, Max, as a service dog. The president of Guide Dog Users of Oregon says she increasingly encounters “people who try to stretch the letter of the law” to get their pets into buses and businesses.

Peggy LaPoint wasn’t surprised to hear that Marie Kelemen’s service dog, Buddy, was a powder puff of a Pomeranian. The TriMet spokeswoman has heard of “service animals” ranging from big dogs to bunnies on Portland’s trains and buses.

“All animals” can be service animals, LaPoint said. “It could be a goat, not that we’ve ever seen a goat. But there have been rabbits. There have been cats. There have been, I imagine, rodents.”

And it’s no surprise Max and Buddy tangled on the No. 75 bus Sunday. Guide dog owners are used to other dogs sniffing, barking, nipping and otherwise engaging their animals. “Dogs are dogs,” said Joanne Ritter, spokeswoman for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which has campuses in California and Oregon.

The only shocking thing about the canine encounter was its brutal finish: One quick bite as Max exited the bus left Buddy bleeding to death on Kelemen’s lap.

Max was on a leash when he bit Buddy. That would have been fine for a service dog, which is what Morley told the bus driver Max was, but not for a pet like Max.

[– MORE –]

Because of the inherent dishonesty of a small group of people, those of us who require and cherish our service animals must ensure that external certification becomes required by law.

ADI provides a certification process for dogs trained by a member professional service dog organization. But what if the dog has been trained by the owner, outside of an organization?

Top Dog is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, just as PAALS is. Their mission, however, is to train people to train their own service dogs. At the end of the 1 year course, the service dog – partner team will be prepared to pass the ADI Public Access Test – and should do so. There is another course beyond this for more advanced tasking. Top Dog has been in existence for nearly 20 years, and is located in the Tucson AZ area. Although it mainly serves the Tucson area, other ways of training for those outside Tucson or even outside Arizona are available.

IAADP – the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners – is supporting a move by the US Department of Justice to redefine service dogs. This definition both  broadens the definition, and restricts the definition to exclude dogs that function just as psychological support. The current ADA definition of a service dog is:

Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.

For all the reasons you can glean from the article and from the linked websites, I support voluntary certification of assistance dogs. A person with a service dog can contact the ADI and with their help find a qualified person in their area to administer the ADI Public Access Test. That certification means a great deal, and helps to ensure that the assistance dog – partner team are about as well-trained and prepared for access to public places as they can be.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. arthur
    Sep 08, 2014 @ 18:33:04

    You are full of crap if you were to read the ADA and what it says about service animals there are only two on the list. One the dog and the other is the miniature horse and only if it is house trained to relieve it self outside. ADI wants everyone to believe that they are the only ones that can pass or fail a dog so it can the full monopoly on the entire world to be the only organization that is qualified to train and test a service animals qualifications. They already own Europe so why not give them America as well. Considering we the veterans that served our nation should have nothing to say about our animals and the help they give us. Again the ADA states clearly that only dogs and mini horses make the cut and then only if the mini horse is house trained.


    • turtlemom3
      Sep 21, 2014 @ 07:06:01

      Arthur, there are several things to be addressed here.

      First, most members of the general public don’t know what ADA says, and most don’t even care. They have no idea that a snake is not a service animal. Yet snakes have been passed off as service animals! As of 2012, the ADA has revised requirements for service animals.The Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals set separate requirements for the mini horse, and does not support the wider public access permissions a service dog does.

      Second, given the numbers of companies that are selling service dogs with little or no attention to what a service dog should be, some kind of guidelines need to be in place. A company that has been training guard dogs for years, then decides they’d like to get into the service dog business has no clue about service dogs. Service dogs are an entirely different thing. Similarly, the person that wants to hang a vest and patches on their pampered little darling or their guard dog and call it a service dog is giving service dogs a bad name. A well-trained service dog will not growl, bark and certainly not snap or bite. “Service dogs” trained by guard dog companies can be problematic in this regard. Many dogs trained by their owners also have difficulty in this regard. The public access test is supported not only by ADI (Assistance Dogs International), but by IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners) and by Pet Partners (formerly know as the Delta Society).

      Third, I don’t know what your problem is with ADI. It started in the US in 1985 with trainers of Hearing Alert Dogs and Hearing Alert Dog training/placement organizations getting together and agreeing to certain basic standards. This is similar to any professional organization start-up. The members start it, the members set the standards, and the members enable the standards. Medical and Nursing professional organizations are like this – and they set the standards and guidelines for practice in various specialties. Architects and Engineers have the same kinds of organizations. Many of the organizations, if not international in scope, have collegial relationships with similar organizations across the world. In a short time, ADI grew, and decided first to formally affiliate with the Delta Society and a couple years later to formally affiliate with Assistance Dogs Europe (ADEu). See the ADI History page of their website.

      IAADP was started by people who used service dogs – the assistance dog partners themselves. It, too, grew in scope and became international. I know a bit less about Pet Partners, except that they support the public access standards needed to ensure public safety and public access for assistance dogs. ADI has done very good work. Their members provide various kinds of assistance dogs (Guide Dogs, Mobility Assistance Dogs, Hearing Alert Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, Medical Assistance Dogs, and PTSD Assistance Dogs – probably others that I’m not listing). The ADI, in my opinion, is filling a needed gap/niche.

      Fourth, as a user of an assistance dog, I can input my needs and concerns to PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) which provided both my Mobility Assistance Dogs, and through IAADP – which meets jointly with ADI and maintains a close relationship with ADI – after all, it is the assistance dog partners who are the people who need and use the dogs provided by assistance dog providers. (I know, that sounds redundant, but I have been up with serious pain since 4am and I’m not a coherant as I would prefer.)

      Fifth, Veterans can, should, and do have a lot of say as to what help their dogs should give them. When obtained through a legitimate service dog organization, the vets, like any recipient, are interviewed extensively about what they need. If they want to train their own dog, they are certainly permitted to do that under ADA. Problem comes with public access and poor behavior on the part of the dogs not tested for public access. This would not be a problem if those training their own service dogs understood the need for the specific behaviors needed for public access.

      The needs of Veterans, while somewhat different from those of other citizens, are being met by several member organizations of ADI. As I am seeing it, the main problem is the vast need and the limited number of organizations and limited availability of appropriate dogs. It takes a special dog to become the service dog partner of a Veteran. Not every dog is qualified to become a service dog – of any kind – much less for a Veteran. As one among many organizations, however, PAALS is providing service dogs to Veterans with various needs. If you need one, I hope you get one soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: