Animals & Money: New ADA rules could make service animals more expensive

The Attorney General proposed some new updates wants to update the American Disabilities Act this month. The changes were greeted mostly as a boon--a potentially expensive one--to disabled people. One provision of the law actually cuts back on accomodations of people who use service animals.

The main problem with this law remains that some businesses feel like they can ignore it and exclude service dogs. I have a friend who is blind and lives in a building for the blind and a store across the street routinely harasses blind people with seeing eye dogs. We are not in some epidemic of bogus service animals, are we? The DOJ worries that we are. The proposed law claims there has been "a proliferation of animal types that have been used as 'service animals,' including wild animals." If an animal is under someone's care and control can it really be called wild? It's not like people are going into McDonald's with seeing eye deer or hearing raccoons, are they?

The new law will clamp down on animals that provide just emotional therapy, not specific physical services. That's fine. Some people were exploiting the rule--though hardly so many that it seems to warrant a federal crackdown.
The new law will also make it more difficult for animals who are not dogs to qualify for service. The law already requires that the animal "be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability."