In our opinion: Good call on revision to ADA service animal rule
January 14, 2011 · 3:06 PM
It sounds like the beginning of a tasteless joke, a person walks into a Value Village with a hamster and claims that it is a service animal.
But those who depend on service animals other than dogs aren’t laughing at recent changes to the American Disabilities Act which designate canines, almost exclusively, as the only animals protected by the act.
That means that those who rely on animals besides dogs wouldn’t have the law on their side if they wanted to bring their animals into public places.
It’s not easy to tell somebody that their iguana, or ferret, or, in one case, a hamster, isn’t allowed. Especially when a person depends on that creature. As one person in reporter Kristin Okinaka’s story this week noted, if the animal helps the person, they should be allowed to go where the person goes.
But as an animal expert said in the story, dogs can be trained to help in every way any other animal can help.
In the interest of public health and safety, the new rule will ensure the law is not being abused.