The ADA Says…
The Americans with Disabilities Act provides rules on service dogs as an accessibility avenue for folks with disabilities. There is a legal obligation to allow service dogs for folks who need them at public events like the conventions we serve. These rules outline a specific definition of service dog. To be classified as a service dog, the following criteria need to be met:
Asking About The Dog
The ADA puts some restrictions on the kinds of questions you can legally ask about the dog in order to protect the human from privacy violations and harassment. Luckily, the two rules about this make sense and are easy to remember:
You may not ask what the disability is or for medical documentation, nor ask that the dog demonstrate the task. Service dogs are not required to be registered or wear a particular tag or harness, and you may not require such things of a service dog team. There are also limitations on the dog and its human. The service dog can be removed if it displays aggressive behavior towards others, is out of control, or isn’t housebroken. In general, the dog shouldn’t be separated from their human, but that option should be presented to the human to allow them to make the choice that’s right for them when possible.
Dos and Don’ts
Beyond any legalities, there are some basic dos and don’t for interacting with a service dog and their human:
Service Dogs Are Cute, But…
Being supportive to service dogs is part of our role in providing first aid. Service dogs should never be separated from their human during provision of care. In the unlikely event that the human needs to be transported to the hospital by ambulance, ensure that the dog stays with them, or arrange for separate transport of the dog to the hospital.
Every congoer should be aware of service dogs and how to conduct themselves in situations where such dogs are present. Service dog teams are there to have fun, just like us!
You can find more information about the ADA’s provisions for service animals at their website. If UsagiMed is present at your convention, we encourage you to check in with your service dog. Usagi Medical Group volunteers are familiar with providing care to service dogs as well as their humans. Let us be involved in training your crew to handle these quadruped attendees!