Dogs in the World?

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PhillNYC's picture
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Dogs in the World?

Trying to resolve my own opinion here, I guess.

I've been reading about Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals (two different things.) Service Dogs perform tasks, lead the blind, pick up items, get help, etc. they can go in restaurants and all.

ESAs are certified by your Psychiatrist. Autism, severe anxiety, those sorts of things. I have an ESA, certified by my Psych and Therapist. He's a tiny lap dog. 5 pounds. My constant companion, especially in NYC crowds, and on airplanes! Our ESAs aren't allowed to go everywhere like Service Dogs are. Just airplanes, apartments, and hotels. They have to be trained and all too.

Anyhow. I've been noticing (I feel) abuses of this at WDW.

I once ran into a nasty lady with her mean lap dog.mNo tether, just sitting there in her lap. She wheelchair-bumped me in Fantasyland. When I spoke to her, the dog growled and barked at me. She said, "He's my emotional support dog! He's mad at you!" I explained that I had one too, but I would NEVER ... EVER bring him on rides or in my lap loose. (That didn't go over well. I should have just shut up.)

I've seen this a few times - dogs on rides and such. I don't mind a trained Service Dog on a tame ride, I really don't. But not if he/she can't handle it. I saw a lap dog on a dark ride at one point, scared silly.

So. As an ESA owner, I'm bothered. Big time. I guess we all have to be responsible for what we think is appropriate and right, but I can't help feel like the law and Disney's rules are getting abused. Would I take my pup with me on a walk in the parks? Sure. IN HIS PUPPY BAG! Maybe ... Maaaaaaaybe I would take him on something very tame like Nemo. But never loose. Never without a tether. Never simply in my arms. Most often, he's at Disney Doggy Daycare anyway.

Anyhow. I think I wish WDW would ask for people's certification letters from their Psychiatrists. NOT just a general practitioner or Therapist. I offered mine once, but after a glance, they said, "oh, no. It's fine." And I wish they would require puppy carriers.

But ... I guess ... Law suits.

Thoughts? Am I being over-sensitive?

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This is the what Disney says: Trained service animals are welcome in most locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests who use service animals must retain control of their animals at all times and must keep them on a leash or harness while visiting.

It goes on to state which rides are a no go and which are caution: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/service-animals/

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The difference that I'm reading is in the word "Trained". A service animal has been trained to do a job; an emotional support animal has not. Technically, ESA's are not allowed in the parks or at the resorts.

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My family and I own a restaurant and have a few service and ESA animals come in. As a business owner you have to walk a very fine line. You can ask for written proof if the animal is not in a vest however you cannot ask the person why they have the animal. I work with a local group who train dogs for the blind and when they come in no one questions them. But I do have one customer who has a small dog that is an ESA animal. People always come up and ask if she can have the dog in our place. I can tell you I have had people try to bring in dogs that don't have the proper paper work and that is never fun to deal with. I am sure Disney does not push the point to much for fear of a lawsuit. I feel bad for the animals because some of the rides must be very scary and stressful for them. There will always be people who take advantage no matter where they are and than they ruin it for everyone else. I bet your pup likes the doggy daycare at Disney, I have heard it's great.

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We were staying at OKW resort. I saw three dogs, none of them on the leash, and none looking like they were service or ESA dogs. It was the first time I have ever seen dogs anywhere in Disney. It surprised me.

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There is a lot of BS going on with these dogs. You can buy those harnesses that say service animal on them. I see young girls with their lap dogs in the park all the time.

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The Colonel wrote:
There is a lot of BS going on with these dogs. You can buy those harnesses that say service animal on them. I see young girls with their lap dogs in the park all the time.

I was going to say the same thing. Those service animal vests are all over the place for twenty bucks. I guess there's always going to be someone to find a way to con the appropriate rules.

jhugo wrote:
My family and I own a restaurant and have a few service and ESA animals come in. As a business owner you have to walk a very fine line. You can ask for written proof if the animal is not in a vest however you cannot ask the person why they have the animal. I work with a local group who train dogs for the blind and when they come in no one questions them. But I do have one customer who has a small dog that is an ESA animal. People always come up and ask if she can have the dog in our place. I can tell you I have had people try to bring in dogs that don't have the proper paper work and that is never fun to deal with. I am sure Disney does not push the point to much for fear of a lawsuit. I feel bad for the animals because some of the rides must be very scary and stressful for them. There will always be people who take advantage no matter where they are and than they ruin it for everyone else. I bet your pup likes the doggy daycare at Disney, I have heard it's great.

Our tiny one LOVES the Disney Doggy Daycare! It makes me feel good, especially after he's been on a plane for three hours. Anyhow, agreed. I don't get it. Do they think an ESA dog is into horribly loud noises, things that pop out at you, etc? NO. I've had him in restaurants on vacations other places, but I always have the original cert from my Psychiatrist on me, and I get a new one every year. And he stays in his soft carrier. And we try to sit outdoors and away from others.

Anyhow. People can really be jerks.

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This discussion is very interesting to me. I have never taken notice of a guest who had an animal in the parks outside of the one off service dog in the typical vest/harness wardrobe. How many times would everyone else say that they've encountered this? I feel uneasy around dogs, so I would certainly notice if there was one nearby. I'm not afraid of dogs per se, but I don't trust them entirely and I am very cautious around them. When I was a kid, we lived across the street from a family who had a dog and the dog got randomly spooked one day and bit the owner in the back of the leg and tore out his calf muscle. I don't run screaming from dogs, but I would definitely never own one. I take notice if there is a dog around and with the owner's permission, I may pet the dog and play with the dog, but I keep an eye on the rascally fellow just in case. My point is, I'm unlikely to walk by a dog and not notice it and having never seen this before, I'm curious if others see people bringing their non-service dogs to the parks as new trend?

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I'm on the same page as you alicemouse only I'm absolutely petrified of them so I would certainly notice them and I can honestly say I think I've seen a couple in all the times I've been but only walking around with appropriate harnesses etc but I've never seen them on a ride I wouldn't have thought it was allowed at all incase they had a bad reaction to anything on the ride

I don't have a problem with dogs being in the park as I completely understand they they support people in a lot of ways but I've never noticed there being a considerable amount and never any without any leads on

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I had never noticed dogs before until our visit last year. I noticed two service dogs for the blind and I saw someone with a small dog in a baby carriage. There was no vest or leash on the small dog. The problem I see is that if these dogs are not actually trained to be service or ESA dogs they could bite someone. A dog that is stressed does not always react well. I foster and train dogs for a rescue and you may think your dog is ok but given the noise and crowd level at Disney anything could happen. Why put your pet in that situation.

VelcroPooh

What are the ones that detect seizures and diabetic stuff classified as? I really don't know. Are they considered service dogs? The reason I'm asking is I'm wondering, because I know many of these are more like a lap dog size than a service dog size?

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As a side note, we noticed security using sniffing dogs in the parks and buses on our recent visit. Not sure what they're looking for in particular but this is the first time I'd seen them. We probably saw 4 in total. They were yellow labs or goldies.

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To my knowledge, most rides at Disney have a dog box. It is for for service animals and ESAs. It is a kennel for the dogs while their owners are on the rides. Not sure how it works. I just assumed that if a service animal comes through a ride that the animals automatically gets put in the box. Not sure how animals get into the parks or what documents are needed. I know at resorts we aren't supposed to ask why they have the animal. I asked my managers and that what they told me.

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We saw a woman with three little dogs while staying at Pop Century in October 2012. If they were truly service dogs or ESAs, it is unlikely that she would need three of them. She was staying in one of the buildings that was the furthest from the main building and prying eyes.

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KenJ wrote:
As a side note, we noticed security using sniffing dogs in the parks and buses on our recent visit. Not sure what they're looking for in particular but this is the first time I'd seen them. We probably saw 4 in total. They were yellow labs or goldies.

My guess would be explosives and associated paraphernalia. They're certainly not USDA dogs like you see in the airports, as they'd be alerting to everyone's lunches and snacks, and I can't imagine why Disney would be using drug dogs throughout the parks (not that I advocate drug use, but I don't think the cartels are running mad drug rings out of the Magic Kingdom). With the couple of "explosions" that happened at DL with the dry ice and all of the media reporting on active shooter situations, I'm sure Disney has stepped up the security to prevent any sort of situation.

My dream job is Chief of Disney Security!! laugh

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Oh, and they also had little jackets on the had "Do Not Pet" written on them. Srsly.

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Disney certainly has a history of not wanting to create trouble with with people who have disabilities ... Or others who claim to. Admirable, I believe. They're stuck in a tricky situation.

But, I hope they'll start enforcing the leash or carrier rules a little more stringently. NO dog should EVER be unrestrained. There should always be a Service Animal harness, or a leash or closeable soft carrier or carriage with a tether for ESL dogs.

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VelcroPooh wrote:
What are the ones that detect seizures and diabetic stuff classified as? I really don't know. Are they considered service dogs? The reason I'm asking is I'm wondering, because I know many of these are more like a lap dog size than a service dog size?[/

My daughter has epilepsy and used a seizure dog which was classified as a service dog when she was little. It was a lab though and once we had a collie. We took the dogs everywhere but they wore an I'm working for my kid seizure dog vest, collar and leash. They were always tethered to us. We took toodles ( the lab) into a park but never on rides. She did go in the shows with us in case the lighting triggered seizure activity.

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O.K. folks. Let's talk about what really is and what is NOT a service dog....

First off, a service animal is one that is fully trained! They are NOT pets. A service dog may have a harness or vest, or may just be on a leash under full control of the disabled person or in the case of a situation such as a child, under the care of the parent or attending adult.

A service animal is an animal that needs to be with you at ALL times. If you can carry it in a crate or PET carrier, or can leave it at doggy day care when it suits you it is not a service animal. Only psychiatric trained animals, as in cases such as severe PTSD, are considered service animals by definition under the ADA federal law. These psychiatric dogs are highly trained animals. Also dogs ...some times small ones... that are trained to detect epileptic attacks, or severe drops in blood sugar, are also considered service animals, as they detect and can prevent a medical emergency. These animals never would be left at doggy camp or doggy day care simply for convenience of going on a few attractions.

Emotional support animals that comfort you in times of stress are not designated service animals. They are not allowed at Disney, Disney World Resorts, restaurants, trains, planes, hospitals or any other such place. Letters from counselors, psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs mean absolutely nothing.

Service animals are trained for almost any situation. They are not afraid of crowds, they are not afraid of loud noises, they are not afraid of the dark, they do not growl at people. They are capable of going with their handler anytime, anywhere.

There is a growing problem being created for the disabled by people who are bringing their cute, cuddly, companion with them everywhere they go in their pocketbook, or backpack. Also by people who think that just because their doctor suggested they get a dog for emotional support, their cute, furry companion suddenly is designated a service dog.

Not so people. I am retired, living in the DISNEY area, I have Parkinsons disease and I have a mobility service animal that goes everywhere with me. She is highly trained, and is by my side 24 hours a day. She walks calmly by my side wherever we go, weather it be a trip to Disney or a trip to the supermarket. Without her I could not walk without falling. Yes, she goes on some rides with me....within reason, certainly not a roller coaster... she lays by my side when we watch fireworks, she lays quietly under the table when we go to restaurants. She does not wear a vest or a harness as she is a Northen bread dog and a vest is too hot for her, and my hand cannot hold a harness due to tremors. Her leash is wrapped tightly around my hand, and her collar has a tag that has the US Federal Law printed on it.

So to all of you who talk about emotional support dogs, and what people with a highly trained service dog should and should not do, I suggest that you read up on Federal Law to see what is and is not considered a service dog.

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There are people who are allergic to dogs as well as those who have a fear of them. For every person with a dog there are probably several who are made ill, inconvenienced by it, and uncomfortable with it. There is so much shenanigans going on with these dogs now that the best solution is probably to ban them from the parks and resorts.

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The Colonel wrote:
There are people who are allergic to dogs as well as those who have a fear of them. For every person with a dog there are probably several who are made ill, inconvenienced by it, and uncomfortable with it. There is so much shenanigans going on with these dogs now that the best solution is probably to ban them from the parks and resorts.

They wouldn't be able to do that though would they? Surely it would go against a disability act if they were a working dog?

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RobynPrincess wrote:
The Colonel wrote:
There are people who are allergic to dogs as well as those who have a fear of them. For every person with a dog there are probably several who are made ill, inconvenienced by it, and uncomfortable with it. There is so much shenanigans going on with these dogs now that the best solution is probably to ban them from the parks and resorts.

They wouldn't be able to do that though would they? Surely it would go against a disability act if they were a working dog?

I've been reading a lot on the subject lately and it seems that Disney is within their authority to ban emotional support dogs because they have no particular training or special licensing. Bona fide service dogs are (and IMO should be) an entirely different story. There seems to be an anecdotal increase in people claiming that they have an emotional support animal and business are reacting to those emotional support animals as though they are trained service dogs. Some people who wish to travel with their pets are exploiting the fact that no federal law exists to regulate ES animals. I actually read an article that one lady had written about how to save money flying with your dog by declaring that it was an ES animal. The few who are trying to scam the system for their benefit are doing everyone a disservice. It's very easy to understand the situation when you see a blind person accompanied by a dog. It's not easy to tell if the person with the dog sitting on their lap needs the dog to detect seizures or low blood sugar or if they are just enjoying a new "loophole" of sorts that allows them to bring Fifi into public situations. Personally, I think that Disney should (if they have not formally already) ban emotional support animals. Their lack of training puts other guests at risk. Unfortunately, the allergy situation is a little more difficult to resolve because I'm not aware of any measures that are taken to try to employ hypoallergenic dogs as certified service animals.

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One of the issues causing a problem with these people gaming the system (which as we have seen recently is that Disney eventually catches on and puts their foot down) is that under ADA a business is not allowed to interrogate its disabled guests about the need for their animal. That's overall is a very good thing. However, the dishonest people are making it difficult for businesses to regulate who does and does not get to bring in their animal and as Skye mentioned that is making it much more difficult for people with trained service animals.

alicemouse wrote:
Unfortunately, the allergy situation is a little more difficult to resolve because I'm not aware of any measures that are taken to try to employ hypoallergenic dogs as certified service animals.

Standard Poodles and Labradoodles are both considered to me "hypoallergenic" dogs and are booth used as service animals. They are frequently the choice for disabled persons who also have dog allergies. I'm partial to the standard poodle and when the time comes that I need a service animal that is what I hope to have.

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They can't interrogate the guests but they can demand certification for the animal. The certification of service dogs needs to be tightened up so that only true service dogs are allowed in the parks and resorts. Every time you go you see more and more of them. Where do they go to the bathroom?

I know people with dog and cat allergies and they have reactions to the so-called hypoallergenic breeds.

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The Colonel wrote:
Where do they go to the bathroom?

While walking through Epcot in October, I saw a doggie bathroom area. I can't remember exactly where, but it was in Future World.

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The Colonel wrote:
They can't interrogate the guests but they can demand certification for the animal.

No, no they can't. It violates the ADA.

The only thing that a business is allowed to ask is if the dog is required because of a disability, and if so what the dog is trained to do. They then must take the answer of the person at face value.

HOWEVER, if that dog becomes unruly or poses a direct threat to other persons they can ask that the dog be removed. A real service animal isn't going to be misbehaving though because they are highly trained to be calm in all situations. The department of justice does not consider fear or allergies valid reasons for denying access.

http://www.ada.gov/svcanimb.htm

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Well that's that then. I guess whatever ailments require a dog trumps allergies in the pecking order of disabilities. Anyone who wants to bring Fifi to the park can do so.

The ADA as necessary as it is, is a very flawed piece of work. The twelve empty handicapped parking spots in front of my building are evidence of that. There are times when it defies common sense. But for any politician to challenge any aspect of it is political suicide. So we are stuck with it exactly as it is. Get used to dogs in the world I suppose. I'm certainly going to start bringing King Louie with me. He'll love the pool at SAB.

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The Colonel wrote:
The ADA as necessary as it is, is a very flawed piece of work.

I don't disagree, but it's what we have.

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The ADA laws are so alien to me, here you have to have proof of disability everywhere. Anyone can ask for it, if you don't have proof of your disability then you don't get what it is that you're after (be it discounts access etc). There's no problem with them asking either, no one minds, not all disabilities are visible after all. Maybe eventually the ADA will change. Would stop a lot of abuse of the system.

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I think the dog should have to tap a "Magic Collar" and scan their paw on park entry. I don't think they should be able to book FastPaws though.

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