Dog Etiquette

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Deborah reminds you how to treat someone with an assistance dog.


a. A service animal is a medical option.  So is a wheelchair, a walker or a cane.  Federal Law protects people's needs for these animals; they are not asking for a special privilege. 


b. If you're a business owner who does not allow pets, please ask your animal-accompanied customer, "Is this your pet?"   If they say, yes, then politely ask the customer to remove the animal.  A service animal owner knows to say the animal is not a pet, and should let you know its doing a job.  They won't always have a jacket on the animal, and there is no requirement to show "proof".  If you have a complaint from anyone, you can say that the animal was identified as a service animal by its owner. 

   On the very rare occasion a service animal is disruptive or noisy, please investigate the cause of the disturbance first.  The animal's tail may have been stepped on, for instance.  A truly disruptive service animal may be removed from your premises.


b. Please don't ask anyone with a disability to tell you the nature of that disability.  It's asking them to share medical information, and very impolite. 


c. Please don't pet a service animal without the owner's permission.  The animal has work to do, and must focus on its owner.


b. Please don't make loud, indirect comments about a person with a disability or their service animal.  This is a form of bullying.