ADA Law 25th Anniversary

On July 26th, the ADA Law celebrates its 25th anniversary, and since its inception in 1990 there have been several key events.  Under ADA Law there are four Titles:

  • Title I – Employment
  • Title II – State and Local Government
  • Title III – Public Accommodations
  • Title IV – Telecommunications

Protection of the rights for public access for service dog teams falls under Title III, and over the years this has undergone changes.  Early on, the ADA Law used the term “service animals”, but this proved to be problematic.  In March of 2011 the ADA Law was revised and the term “service animal” was replaced by the term “service dog”.  There is a notable exception that is made for miniature horses.  As a general rule, miniature horses typically weigh between 70-100 lbs, and measure 24-34 inches from the ground to their shoulders.  In order to qualify for public access the horse must be:

  • Housebroken
  • Under control of the owner
  • Size and weight appropriate for the facility
  • Unobtrusive and uncompromising of the safety standards of the facility

Though the ADA Law has come a long way, there is still work to be done.  At the present time, a business is only permitted to ask two questions:

  • Is this a service dog?
  • What tasks does the dog perform?

Thus, if a person answers the questions correctly the business must permit access.  The definition of a service dog states that the dog must be trained…however it does not specify type or duration of training, and does not require any type of certification or verification of training.  This, coupled with the growing number of bogus sites where one can purchase service dog vests and cards that state that their dog is certified, sight unseen, has led to a massive problem with fake service dogs in the community.

If you have experienced any type of public access challenge, we encourage you to take a moment to complete the online report form.  This form takes less than a minute to complete, and one submission per challenge should be made.  Types of challenges to be reported include:

  • Failure of business to grant  your team access
  • Team wrongfully ordered to leave despite dog under good control
  • Left premises due to presence of disorderly (possibly fake) service dog
  • Isolated, segregated or given different treatment than other patrons due to presence of service dog

Clear, reliable and reproducible data is needed in order to assist lawmakers in understanding the problem and implementing effective changes.  Please visit the Public Access Challenge Report Form to make your voice heard.

 Classroom News

Estrella Mountain Campus – summer is a busy time for our student trainers.  Despite the fact that school is out, these students have committed to attend summer sessions between the first and second year of training to ensure that their dogs continue to progress.  This past month, students took several field trips, including a trip to Lowes and the Tanger Outlet Mall.  These trips are essential to teach the dogs to work with distractions and understand the behavioral expectations in public.

Paradise Valley– this class graduated in May, and we are excited to announce that in August we will start a new class on this campus.  Applications are currently being accepted.  Participation is open to students enrolled in AAEC High School on the PV campus.  For more information on how to enroll your child in this program you can contact the main office at the school.

EAMT Students Make History in Arizona

It is official!  The results are in and the Emergency Animal Medical Technician (EAMT) class was a huge success.  FSDS student trainers made history this past month, becoming the first group under the age of 21 in the history of Arizona to ever be permitted to participate in this high level of training.  The EAMT training program was established in 2001 by the Arizona Humane Society, though their first ambulance became operational in  1958.  Today, EAMTs respond to over 10,000 calls a year to assist injured animals.

Students who are currently enrolled in, or recently graduated from the FSDS / AAEC youth-based SD training partnership program were permitted to participate.  Not only did they participate- but they had a 100% pass rate, with 9 students scoring 90% or greater.  Of those 9, 6 scored 95% or greater.  This is a remarkable achievement.  Our students ranged in age from 15-18 years old.

The performance of these students really speaks to the type of training that is taking place as well as the maturity and determination of our students.  Make no mistake- though we do provide the students with the education necessary to become competent service dog trainers, this is a math-science program cleverly disguised in a fur coat.  We have found that magic formula that makes math and science both relevant and appealing to students and makes them want to come to class and continue to learn.

Community collaborations between the right groups, for the right reasons are a winning proposition.  AAEC has done an extraordinary job of providing the students with a strong foundation in math and science skills.  Our training program provides a solid foundation in canine anatomy and physiology, terminology and canine first aid and CPR.  The Humane Society has put together an innovative and exceptional EAMT class and their professional staff was able to adapt the teaching styles to meet the needs of young learners.  The results were remarkable.  As this was a pilot program, this opens the door to future classes of students.

Our sincere appreciation to the AZ Humane Society, led by Dr. Kat Croteau DVM for her guidance and efforts to arrange for this pilot program for our youths.  Joining Dr. Croteau in the classroom was Dr. Nancy Bradley DVM, also from the AZ Humane Society.   This intensive program was a combination of didactic education plus hands on skill training.  Students relied on the knowledge obtained from prior math and science classes, and applied prior knowledge to the application of new skills.  They were taught IV skills, intubation, medication dosage calculations and much more.  After completion of this class, students were permitted to visit the Second Chance Animal Hospital to interact with the EAMTs and observe surgeries.  The class was hosted by AAEC High School and met on the PV campus.  Many thanks to the entire staff at AAEC High school for their hospitality.

We Are Pregnant!

The FSDS has reserved a litter of puppies from Golden Angels Kennels.  These beautiful, purebred puppies will be born to Aries X Packer, an AKC Champion who holds titles for “Best of Breed” and “Best of Opposite Sex”.  She is OFA certified for hips, elbows, cardiac and eyes and was mated with “Pilot”- also fully OFA certified.  The puppies are due on August 4th, so stay tuned for more information and the first official photos when available.

 A Million Thanks

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Ron Coslett and members of the Armed Forces Support Group (AFSG), as well as Tom Flether of Thunderbird Automotive for their support of our program.  AFSG has been a long time support of the FSDS training program, and on graduation day this year presented the FSDS with a check for $12,500 to support our mission to provide service dogs to military veterans.  They are in turn supported by Thunderbird Automotive and owner Tom Fletcher.  This past month, Thunderbird Automotive indicated to AFSG that they wanted to make a direct program contribution to some of the groups that AFSG supports.  He was connected with the FSDS program by AFSG, and made a generous $4,000 donation this past month.  These monies will help us to continue our mission of providing service dogs at no out-of-pocket cost to military veterans in need.

Wellness Tip

Summer has officially arrived and we urge all teams to be proactive about protecting your dogs from heat-related illness and injuries from hot pavement.  Some practical tips for safety are:

  • Limit outdoor time on hot days
  • Carry an ample supply of ice water and a travel bowl with you whenever you leave the house
  • Make certain that your dog is wearing thermal working booties when outdoors
  • Do not permit your dog to sit down on hot pavement, this can cause burns
  • Think twice before asking your dog to retrieve objects from the hot pavement, as they can suffer burns to their lips and nose
  • Remember that dogs can get sunburn- protect your dog from over-exposure to direct sunlight
  • Provide a life jacket for your dog when on boating trips or trips to a lake or pool
  • Watch your dog around water- do not leave toys in a pool as these are a temptation for dogs and young children

Have a safe and happy summer!

Photo Gallery

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