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home : opinions : opinions April 29, 2016

4/23/2014 10:00:00 AM
Letter: Only service animals should be allowed in stores


I am legally blind due to a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa. I just recently received my first guide dog and I wish to thank the businesses in our area for being so welcoming to my and my guide dog's patronage.

But I'm also writing to express my feelings about how many people in our community are trying to pass off their family pets as service dogs. The majority of dogs that I have seen (I still have 10% of my central vision left, I'm NOT completely blind), are not service animals.They are completely untrained and unruly while leashed, or being coddled in baby blankets and allowed to sniff and walk up to patrons and my guide dog while my guide dog is working. That is a severe distraction to my guide dog and I'm sure it's bothersome to other shoppers.

While I'm sure these pet owners love their pets, they need to understand that people who use a certified service dog are using their them because we have to, not because we can't leave them at home alone.

When someone brings their pet to a public store and says it's a service animal when in fact it's a pet, it makes it very difficult for disabled people who rely on a real service dog to be accepted into an establishment without question. Everyone wants to be accepted and it's really difficult to walk around with my guide dog as it is without feeling that I have to prove her legitimacy.I carry our certification ID card with me at all times.

Mindi Murray

Prescott Valley

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Article comment by: Best Comment Ever

By 1 Chicago Kid:
"I really don't want to buy items that have been sniffed on..."

Made my day.

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Article comment by: Pagan Lady

On hygiene and burdening business owners with more rules:
First- hygiene-there is nothing more disgusting than a slob of a parent who plops their diapered toddler on a checkout counter. Nuf said there.
ADA requirements. That horse has left the barn, been bred, and died of old age while all the excessive ADA stuff has gone thru our FED gov.
I am disabled, i recognize the necessity of truely medically necessary service animals..
The ADA laws are a prime example of the cancer of government. AS are EPA, National Ed standards, ect, ad nauseum. They keep passing new laws to justify their reason to exist. All those FED enforcement agencies must be saved!
NO! It is not the responsibility of business owners to enforce FED regs. I have never seen dog feces, ect in any store or restaurant yet.
Until the FEDs are reigned in and States' Rights are reclaimed, nothing can be done about the plethora of misguided (however well intentioned) FED laws/agencies which now RULE us.
Leave business owners alone, they aren't nannies.

Posted: Monday, May 5, 2014
Article comment by: It Makes Sense

Accountability! Makes perfect sense, hold the business owners responsible to ensure only those animals with valid certification are allowed entry into their stores. Post large signage at the entry demanding verification of service animals. The rest of us shouldn't have to put up with failure of the business to monitor and enforce.

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: Re: laughable Really.....

Whats so funny? The fact that people are interfering with guide dog work?

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: Off Base

" I have seen dogs that are cleaner and more hygienic than some people in this community." And is that to say you're not offended by the unhygienic people??? I suspect you try to avoid them when possible! That is precisely the issue-HYGIENE! Dogs are great to have and provide the personal companion comfort needed within their homes. As such, they should remain at home or safely within the vehicle when the owners are shopping/eating. Stores should be required to ask to see the "Certification" when the owner brings a "Service Animal" within the stores. Post signs at the door requiring a certificate be shown. This alone would protect both the owner of a certified service animal and fellow patrons within the business. I believe it's time to hold the businesses accountable for NOT ASKING for validation when someone brings in an animal. People will try to get away with anything if not questioned or knowing no one will ask while the rest of us have to put up with their oblivion to the rules and law. Why not start to investigate the various businesses and their practices for service animals? I would bet we would start to see less animals running around in the stores and more shoppers.

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Laughable ...Really

Honestly - I have seen dogs that are cleaner and more hygenic than some people in this community. Get over it.

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: 1 Chicago Kid

I agree 100%. There are certain stores that I have stopped shopping at just for this reason. I really don't want to buy items that have been sniffed on, urinated on or worse. Its a store for heaven
sake, not the bark park. My greater concern however, is safety. Kids, especially little ones have no fear of animals. What happens when one of these "service dogs" chomps at a child? A service dog is just that-a dog providing service-not one who pees on the products or rides around in a cart. "Service dog" patches can be purchased on the net for just a few bucks. Most genuine service dogs will ask that you not pet them or distract them-because the are working. If you find it impossible to leave little "pookie-bear" (or big "Spike" in some cases) either stay home or hire a sitter.

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: What Type of Service Animal?

Would someone please explain to me how a small Chihuahua can be a Certified Service Animal? I have seen numerous such animals being carried, placed in carts or walked within Grocery Stores, big box stores and other similar places in Prescott and Prescott Valley. Outside of providing the owner with some sense of comfort, how are these animals validated as Service Animals???

Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Article comment by: Self Centered Individuals

Remarkable on how few fellow PV people feel annoyed with unauthorized animals walking around with unqualified owners in stores-especially those that sell or serve food. Maybe this community is comprised of a bunch of worthless thought individuals who just want to do their own thing and not consider the harm they may be doing to others. Given this Lazy Faire approach that seems prevalent in this country, explains how the current party of government is quickly locking itself into a permanent position of control within the U.S.A.
I guess you just love placing your food into shopping carts dogs have been walking and laying in. Or walking down isles in a store to find urine or worse on the floor from an untrained house dog. I believe need VALID SERVICE ANIMALS, but an over grown rat or Pekinese type dog are nothing more that noise makers and companions. If that qualifies them for service dogs, our system of logic and application is down the sewer.

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Article comment by: Legally Correct

I along with others concur with the writer. Included with the ADA law, should be a requirement there be a visible legal certification tag identifying the animal as a service animal. The businesses are afraid to say anything for fear of being sued, fellow customers keep quiet while Fi-Fi runs around with a leash licking up food, and the inconsiderate-self centered owners think its cool to bring their scrap rat with them in restaurants. Keep your unauthorized dog at home! He's yours-not mine and a Dog, not a child!

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