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New ADA service animal regs don’t monkey around

Those claiming that their pet monkeys, reptiles or ferrets are service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act should take heed of new regulations set to go into effect soon.

Those regs, issued last year but delayed until the Obama administration could get its Justice Department Civil Rights Division fully in place, are set to be enforced by the end of the year.

The new clarified standards bar rabbits, farm animals, ferrets, rodents, amphibians, and wild animals – including monkeys or any other primate born in captivity – from being used as service animals.

Even Fifi, your lovable Bichon Frise, won’t qualify unless she has been individually and specifically trained “do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities” under the Act, such as retrieving a phone or medication, assisting during a seizure, providing physical support or navigation assistance. Just being cute won’t cut it. “[A]nimals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or promote emotional well-being are not service animals.” Sorry, Fifi.

More here from The Seattle Times.

One comment

  1. You suggested that the regulations as proposed last year by the Bush administration “are set to be enforced by the end of the year.” This is misleading. Alejandro Miyar, DOJ spokesman, was quoted as saying: “We are now in the process of reviewing the proposed ADA regulations and the public comments that the department received. We anticipate that we will issue final ADA rules this year.” So, it appears that the DOJ will review the proposed regulations and possibly revise the regs in light of public comments. In any event, I would be very surprised if the final regulations excluded certain animals, such as monkeys, pigs, and horses, because they can be trained to be excellent service animals.

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