Public Access Alert

This information is being provided to our teams as a means of education regarding the issues of public access challenge.  The situation described below was not the average challenge, and there were some excellent questions raised.  After careful consideration of this, the Board and Administration felt that these questions were too important for our teams and thus we are sharing this information.  We wish to be clear that this is an educational case study, and the take home points are as follows:

  • Download a copy of all AZ Laws that pertain to SDs and carry them with you
  • Understand how the law applies, when uncertain, do not make assumptions- ask for help
  • Make responsible team decisions- above all, at no time should a handler take an action that would place their SD / SDIT in any jeopardy
  • In cases where you feel that your rights / the law has been violated, request a manager
  • If the manager either refuses to speak with you or fails to correct the situation, call the non-emergency police number and request that an officer respond; though they may not be able to force a business to permit access to your team, they can generate a police report that will be important in any subsequent complaints that you may file.

On Monday, March 30th, we received a communication from one of our lead instructors, the wife of a military veteran.  She is currently training a SD.  The communication we received was as follows:

“I’m needing some guidance regarding animal parks. I understand that it is difficult to get into wild animal parks, but what are our specific right‎s in these situations? I know at Phoenix Zoo, Animal Welfare act, they let you in as long as you stay on designated paths. 
 I am 3 hours from home right now having to wait outside Bearizona with (my SDIT) while my son and family enjoy it without me because they wouldn’t let me in with her – she is very well-behaved by the way. “
A representative of the FSDS contacted the park immediately and was told that there was no one there who could assist them.  They were told that the “ambassador” was not in that day and all we could do was send an email.  When informed that the team was standing outside and an email for another day would bring no relief, they would not provide further assistance.  FSDS staff was informed that there was no one there, other than gift shop personnel, with whom to speak about this.  We were informed that the individual or individuals in charge of the parks operation that day would not come to the phone.
Arizona State law clearly reads:
F. A zoo or wild animal park may prohibit a service animal, including a dog guide or service dog, from any area of the zoo or wild animal park where the service animal may come into direct contact with the animals contained in the zoo or wild animal park. Service animals shall not be excluded from public walkways or sidewalks or from any area that allows for physical barriers between the service animals, dog guides or service dogs and the animals in the zoo or wild animal park. Any zoo or wild animal park that prohibits dog guides and service dogs shall provide without cost adequate facilities for the temporary confinement of dog guides and service dogs. The facilities shall be adequate to accommodate the anticipated attendance of legally blind, deaf or persons with physical disabilities, shall be in an area not accessible to the general public, shall provide water for the dog guides and service dogs and shall otherwise be safe, clean and comfortable. The zoo or wild animal park on request by a legally blind person who is required to leave that person’s dog guide or service dog pursuant to this subsection shall provide a sighted escort if the legally blind person is unaccompanied by a sighted person.  ( )
Upon further communication with the team, the handler reported that a park representative offered two options for “reasonable accommodation” for her SDIT:
  • tie up the dog outside of the park in an unsecured area (to a tree or bench) and leave her dog there while she went inside to enjoy the park
  • confine her dog in one of their buses and leave it unattended
She refused, understanding that either one of those actions could potentially place her in violation of AZ Animal Cruelty Law.  Under Subsection A, she feared that paragraphs 1, 4 and 7 would apply and she might be charged with a Class I misdemeanor, and under the same Subsection paragraph 9 she could be charged with a Class 6 felony.
We have placed a call to the AZ Attorney General’s Office to obtain an authoritative answer to the following questions:
  • Is Bearizona in violation of the law for failing to provide adequate facilities for the confinement of service dogs under ARS 11-1024?
  • How does the law view the “reasonable accommodation” plan that the park has in place, in terms of Animal Cruelty Law?

We  are currently awaiting a call back and will provide further education to our readers once a clear legal answer has been received.

 Bearizona is located at 1500 E. Rt. 66, Williams Arizona, 86046.  Remember that a handler must make team decisions.  If a situation is not good for one member of the team, it is not good for the team as a whole.  Kudos to this exceptional handler for making a responsible, and bioethically sound decision not to tie up or confine her dog in the Arizona heat and walk away.

Keeping Your SD Well-Nourished

In the wake of continued pet food recalls, this month we review some basic information that every handler should know about proper nutrition of their SD.  We begin with the caution that a package label that reads “Made in the U.S.A.” does not guarantee that the ingredients are from the U.S.A.  It simply means that the product was assembled here, and provides no assurance that tainted ingredients from other countries are not present.

Nutrition labels– knowing what the label is telling you is important.  Some basic rules on label requirements are as follows:

95% rule– If the product has a name such as Poultry for Dogs, or Beef for Dogs then it must contain at least 95% of the product named.

25% rule– products with names such as Beef Dinner, or Salmon Dinner must contain less than 95% but at least 25% of the product named.

3% rule– those foods with names that contain the word “with”, such as “beef dinner with cheese” must contain at least 3% of ingredient ingredient listed.

Flavor rule– under this rule the product merely has to be present enough to be detectable.

Other label claims – claims that a feed is “premium”, “super premium”, “gourmet” and such are marketing strategies and should not influence your choice of feed in any way.

Be aware of pet food recalls as they occur.  Sign up to receive email alerts about recalls.  It is better to prevent a problem in the first place.  We also suggest that you stay aware of which brands are prone to recalls, and which are not.  This will help to guide your decision making process when selecting a safe and nutritious feed for your SD.

Treats are extras, and not a part of the daily nutrition plan.  Remember that treats add extra calories.  Too many treats can result in an overweight dog who will be at an increased risk for health problems.

Calculate your dogs daily caloric requirement at rest, known as the rough energy requirement (RER).  You can use the calculator on our website to determine how many calories per day your dog needs to maintain their body weight, at rest.  The key words here are at rest. This amount will need to be adjusted based on your dogs need. If your dog is overweight they will require fewer calories.  If they are underweight, or if circumstances warrant it, they may require more.  Some examples of situations that require adjustment are:

  • Puppies from birth to 4 months: 3x RER
  • Puppies from 4 months to 1 year: 2x RER
  • Active working dogs: 2-5x RER (depending on type of work and activity level)
  • Pregnant dogs: days 1-42 days gestation ~ 1.8x RER;days 43-63 days gestation ~  2x RER
  • Lactating female: 4-8x RER

Body Condition Score (BCS)– know your dogs BCS.  Knowing this number will help you understand whether or not your dogs diet needs to be adjusted.

Remember to always speak with your Veterinarian when making dietary adjustments for your dog.

Classroom News

FSDS  Youth Trainers at AZ House of Rep.

Student trainers visited the AZ House of Representatives on 3/19/2015

Both classes participated in field trips this past month, including a memorable trip to visit the AZ House of Representatives at the invitation of Rep. Heather Carter.  We are so appreciative of the time that several members of the House took to personally meet and greet our teams, including Representatives Kate Brophy McGee, Charlene Fernandez, Richard Andrade and Ceci Velasquez.  Also stopping to visit with our students was Sen. Lupe Contreras.

Both classes were also in attendance at the Armed Forces Support Group of Sun City Grand Golf Tournament.  Each year, a portion of the proceeds from this event are donated to support the FSDS mission of providing service dogs to military veterans in need.

Estrella Mountain Campus – the EM class has been working on refining for the CGC and PAT Test.  Some of the big focuses have been ignoring other dogs, leash manners, and settling quickly when arriving at a new place.  They are also working on problem solving.  The students studied airline travel this past month and enjoyed packing a mock travel bag for an imaginary trip to New York with their service dog.  The class discussed the rules of the airport and metal detectors.

Paradise Valley Campus– this past month the final pairings were made between recipients and dogs.  Recipients took their first field trip to a local store along with their student mentors, and did an outstanding job, with the dogs exhibiting may automatic behaviors.  We would like to commend students Jaymie Cardin for her outstanding performance as a team player this past month, and Laura Sullivan for her efforts to promote positive thinking and behavior in the classroom.


Outreach Program News

We are pleased to announce that effective June 1st, 2015 all Outreach Teams will be able to enjoy the same  benefits of online comprehensive education as those recipients who are awarded their dogs through our in-house training program.  This represents a dramatic improvement in our program.  All new applicants, and applicants for re-certification will be required to the SD 101: Orientation Course.  We remind teams that this is a one-time requirement and will not have to be repeated, either with the current dog or a successor dog in the future.

Many Thanks

Our sincere thanks to these wonderful people for their recent generous donations to support our program:

  • David and Brenda Golden      $120
  • Leolinda J Bowers PLLC         $65
  • R & G BBQ Concepts                $250
  • May Alering                                $50
  • Laurie Hall                                  $100
  • Eileen Joy                                    $110
  • Security Title / Laura Wood   $250
  • Linda Lee Lindsay                     $254

Graduation 2015

Mark the date on your calendars…Saturday, May 16th is our annual graduation.  Each year, we seek sponsors to help us provide tickets to our deserving recipients and students.  The vast majority of our recipients are wounded military veterans and first responders, and these individuals have risked their lives for the sake of all of us.  Many of our students are under-served, and despite limited financial means they and their families have provided food and other needed items for these dogs throughout the training process, so that someone else may benefit.  Your tax deductible contribution of $500 will sponsor a table of 10.  Please help us to provide tickets in recognition of those who have risked their lives to serve our country and community, as well as those exceptional students who have devoted the past two years of their lives to help change the lives of others.

Photo Gallery

March was a busy month for our teams.  Students participated in community leadership experiences including the annual golf tournament for the Armed Forces Support Group in Sun City Grand, Buckeye Days and a visit to the AZ House of Representatives.  Students from both campuses work cooperatively to educate the community on service dog training and disability issues.

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