Kaitlyn's Korner: Dogs are mislabeled - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Kaitlyn's Korner: Dogs are mislabeled

Kaitlyn Delaney

Kaitlyn Delaney

By Kaitlyn Delaney
Photo Editor

There is an ever-growing problem that I feel like I never see being talked about, and it is affecting the entire country; especially large cities.

When I was in middle school, we read a book called “Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory. The story is about how Hingson, a blind man, and his guide dog Roselle escaped the Twin Towers on 9/11. Ever since then, I have dedicated so much time to learning all I can about service dogs.

Emotional Support Dogs/Animals (ESAs) are not service dogs – not according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and not according to Michigan’s government. Do not bring them with you everywhere, it is not actually doing anyone any good.

So many people are registering their dogs as ESAs so they can bring them everywhere. Many of these dogs are not trained or exposed to this type of environment enough, and tend to act poorly. It is making it difficult for actual service-dog users to enter businesses because of these dogs.

There are many business employees in Michigan, and across the country, who are unaware of the rules of service and support animals. Service animals are legally allowed almost everywhere. ESAs and support animals can be turned away anywhere.

Because of this, poor-acting ESAs are making business owners and staff hesitant to let any dogs in, making it hard for service-dog owners to go about everyday activities. This could be changed with proper education.

Across the country, service-dog owners are being turned away, or are having trouble proving that their dogs are actual service dogs. Untrained or unproperly trained dogs are causing havoc in more and more places, because businesses are unaware.

There needs to be a way to more easily inform people that there are tools and places to find information. Business people cannot inform employees of what is allowed if they don’t know the rules themselves.

If you have the time, please educate yourself so that if you find yourself in this sort of situation at your place of work, you know what to do. Michigan.gov and ada.gov are great places to start.

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