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 Post subject: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:03 pm
Posts: 6
We've all been through this discussion before, but has anyone else noticed an increased volume of service dogs on board your trains?

Is there anything new with the laws?

We rain into a situation today where we had to move the entire family, due to the size of the dog. This resulted in a free ticket upgrade for that family, because our deluxe car was the only one that accommodate the seemingly small horse.

How much can we legally push back?

Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 11:22 am
Posts: 100
Location: Northeast Pa.
If you do push back over the issue it will most likely result in bad publicity for your organization. Unless the dog is barking or growling at people you may be SOL.


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:15 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1309
Which brings up the issue of how organizations plan to handle the emerging issue of 'companion animals', who are rapidly acquiring much of the privilege previously restricted to documented service animals. IF airlines "have" to let them on, what would keep them off trains?

I'd be at least thinking about being ready!

I'm tempted to put special 'accommodations' for large service animals in, say, a baggage car with a few bolted-in seats, and move them there next to the coffin exhibit. Or establish 'animal-friendly' cars or zones and just tell anyone there to suck it up if the aisle is blocked or the fur flies a bit too exuberantly.

Just make it separate but equal...

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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
There are distinct differences between service, therapy and ”comfort” animals. Service animals are the “top tier” - think guide dog for the blind, service for the handicapped or K9. Certified therapy animals, usually dogs but can be other animals, are specially trained to offer comfort or distraction to others in stressful situations. A comfort animal has no training and is basically a babydoll or teddy bear for a grownup. Some are legitimate but a fair portion are BS.

Service animals can legally go just about anywhere, therapy animals generally by invite only, comfort animals go wherever the owners think they might get away with it.

Your written policy should allow only documented service animals. Feel free to exclude all others. If in doubt, talk to your insurer. As an owner and trainer of certified* therapy dogs, I would never think of, and the certification does not allow, passing off the dog as a service animal or expecting it to be allowed anywhere, like a train ride, without prior consent and any special arrangements are made. Though usually people with service dogs will inquire in advance if it is suitable for the animal to be present if there is any question.

[Edit] *Actually, though the dog/animal is trained, it’s the handler that is certified to work with that particular animal and both you and the animal have to pass tests to be a team.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:32 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
Everything you wanted to know about service animals legal status is here: https://adata.org/guide/service-animals-and-emotional-support-animals

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm
Posts: 189
Funny this really comes at the right time for me. Today we boarded 3 doge, who their handlers claimed were therapy dogs in training. They were a nixed bag, A shih tzu, a standard poodle, and a lab mix. Now watching the dogs behave i knew this was BS, but let them on, as we were not that crowded.


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:20 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
Yeah, “therapy dog in training” means it a pet. Nothing more. The handler isn’t certified and neither have passed any tests. Sort of the same thing with service dogs. “In training” means it isn’t an actual service dog and has no legal status as such.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
One more thing to add concerning therapy dogs. Your certification must come from a sanctioning body such as Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs International, etc. And there are plenty of rules of what you can and cannot do and where.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:19 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 112
I work at a hospital and only two creatures are allowed legally as service animals in our building... dogs... and miniature horses. Three years working there I have yet to see a horse, but they are indeed allowed.

As for dogs, we first observe the behavior of the dog. Is it calm? Is it not biting or growling at other patients in our lobby? Is it not barking? Is it clean? Is it dutiful to its master? These are the marks of a true professional service dog. A little yapping dog crapping on the floor might be considered their "comfort animal" but it's own poor behavior is testament to its lack of professional training. If the dog is poorly behaved, we can kick them out of the hospital.

Any other animal, cats, birds, monkeys, etc. are instant cause to reject them from the hospital.

EDIT: A few additional things, I found the public post regarding our campus's official policy on service animals both in hospital and also in the school buildings: https://oeo.utah.edu/about-us/faq-support-animals.php

The hospital also has its own semi-permanent group of certified volunteer service dogs that are regular visitors to our hospital complex. I doubt a heritage railroad would need its own semi-permanent dog staff, but I figure its worth mentioning what our hospital does to fully explain the scope and intent of our rules and policy: https://healthcare.utah.edu/huntsmancan ... to-hci.php


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5843
A few years ago, the wife and I became puppy raisers for "Leader Dogs for the Blind", an organization out of Rochester, Michigan that was supported by Lions, International. As puppy raisers, we received a 7 week old Labrador Retriever and until the dog was about 13 or 14 months old, we took her with us as often as we could to get her used to being amongst people. This included restaurants, church, baseball games, grocery stores, airplanes (on the runway), shopping malls, train rides, libraries, auto shows, etc. When she was with us, she was supposed to pay no attention to others, but was supposed to behave. When the dog arrived at the 13/14 month age, we drove her back to Rochester where the folks at "Leader Dog" started her actual training to be a leader dog for a blind person. Not all dogs make it through the training process at Rochester; one of our dogs (Katy) did and we met the lady she eventually became a leader dog for. Our second dog (Casey) was "career changed" and puppy raisers are given first choice as to whether they would want their "puppy" back. Casey became our family dog for a number of years and though she was well trained, we never took her to any of the places we took her during our "raising" process.

Dogs are wonderful creatures and a benefit to mankind in many different ways. It would be my hope that railroad museums can find a way to benefit from how their owners feel about them.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:23 am
Posts: 162
Location: willow grove pa
Here is a link to the policy for SEPTA

http://www.septa.org/access/serviceAnimals-Policy.html
IMPORTANT: Consistent with US Dept. of Transportation ADA regulations, companion animals, pets, therapy, comfort, mental health, or emotional support animals are not classed as service animals for purposes of public transit, and cannot ride on SEPTA vehicles except in carriers. For this reason, SEPTA personnel may ask you about your animal and the services it provides to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:17 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
xboxtravis7992 wrote:
The hospital also has its own semi-permanent group of certified volunteer service dogs that are regular visitors to our hospital complex. I doubt a heritage railroad would need its own semi-permanent dog staff, but I figure its worth mentioning what our hospital does to fully explain the scope and intent of our rules and policy: https://healthcare.utah.edu/huntsmancan ... to-hci.php

Those would be therapy dogs, not service dogs. Most hospitals with a therapy dog program will partner with a certification organization. The only animals you should normally see in a hospital are service or therapy dogs. Once in a while, a hospital may make an exception for a pet to visit a patient but that usually doesn’t happen often. Too many liabilities. A certification organization will cover their teams under their insurance.

Back to the subject at hand, the only dogs that you have to allow on your property are service dogs. All others are subject to your pet policy. If you don’t have one, write one whether you do or don’t allow pets but do set some ground rules if you do.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey
https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 844
Location: New Franklin, OH
Les,

You’re on the mark about dogs being wonderful creatures. One of many stories: We were visiting a nursing home and Mackie insisted on approaching a semi-catatonic patient belted into a wheel chair in the community room. He sat in front of her and placed his head on her lap looking up at her face. The staff was amazed when she opened her eyes, raised her head, smiled at him, and put her hand on his head. He sat there until she closed her eyes and her head went back down again. It was heartwarming to provide that small amount of joy for her. Amazing indeed.

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Eric Schlentner
Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
Car Knocker, Gandy Dancer & Hog Jockey
https://orrvillerailroad.com


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1106
Location: Tucson, Arizona
When I was with TVRM, the policy on pets on the train was that pets could be transported at the discretion of the conductor. Service animals had to be permitted and the conductor was authorized to ask the passenger if the animal was certified or registered as a service animal. Pets would only be permitted if they were on leash and well behaved. Passengers were responsible for cleaning up after their pet in case of an accident. In my ten years with TVRM, I never had an issue with pets or service animals on the train.

Policies on pets should also take into consideration that many people do vacation with their pets and in many states, it is against the law to leave an animal in a vehicle during hot weather. Here in Arizona, you cannot leave an animal in your vehicle during hot weather, even if the windows are left open. Every summer has stories of animals being rescued from hot cars and owners going to jail for animal cruelty. Our largest museum in town (Pima Air and Space Museum) clearly informs visitors that it is against Arizona law to leave animals unattended in cars during hot weather and that animals on leashes are welcome on museum grounds.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Service Dogs
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 914
Location: NJ
My oldest son recently made a move from one USCG station to another, which involved moving his family and cat and dog with him. They spent two days on the road. At one motel, owned by a major chain, he was told by the front desk that the motel was not allowed to ask whether the dog was a service dog or not. I'm not sure if this is a policy of the motel chain or law, however. But I suspect it may have something to do with the ADA statues and providing equal accommodations.


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