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Mathias, Rosemary G.
Assisting passengers traveling with service animals :
training module /
prepared by Rosemary G. Mathias.
Washington, DC :
42 p.,  leaves ;
Performing organization: University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research.
Also available online.
People with disabilities
z United States
University of South Florida.
Center for Urban Transportation Research.
t Center for Urban Transportation Research Publications [USF].
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
Assisting Passenger s Traveling with Service Animals Training Module Project ACTIO N 700 13th Street NW Sui te 200 W ashington, DC 20005 T el: 2 02-347-3066
Assisting Passengers Traveling with Service Animals Training Module January 1997 Prepared by: Rosemary G. Mathias Center for Urban Transportation Research College of Engineering University of South Florida 4202 E F owler Ave. ENB 118 Tampa, Florida 33620 Tel : 813-974-3120 Prepared for: Project ACTION 700 13th Street NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20005 Tel: 202-347-3066
Acknowledgments The author thanks the following individuals from the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), who participated in the preparation of this report: Lisa Argiry, Julee Green, Sheryl Stire, and Vicki Zambito. Thanks also to R. Benjamin Gribbon, for proposing the project, and to Robert Carlson of Project ACTION, who provided assistance throughout the project. Special thanks to Alison Schultz of Canine Companions for Independence (CC I ) Southeast Regional Training Office and Susan Duncan of the Delta Society National Service Dog Center, for their insight and advice relating to training service animal teams. Finally, thanks to the many transit agencies and service animal training schools that provided materials for this study. This document is disseminated under sponsorship o f Project ACTION of the N ational Easter Seal Society in the intere s t o f information exchange N either Project ACTION, the National Easter Seal Society nor the F ederal Transit Administration assumes liabil i ty for its contents or use the reof. The contents of thi s repo rt ret1ect the opinion of the author . I
Service Animal Project Steering Committee Margaret Ager Canine Companions for Independence Southeast Regional Office Orlando, Florida Marilyn Baldwin, Commissioner Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged T allahassee, F lorida Valerie Barber-Simpson Casselberry, Florida Marion Gwizdala Nationa l Federation ofthe Blind of Florida Brandon, Florida Carala Jewell Tampa, Florida Catherine Kelly Florida DOT Tallahassee, Florida James P. Liensenfelt Space Coast Area Transit Cocoa, Florida AnneN. Schwarz KETRON Division of The Bionetics Corp. Malvern, Pennsylvania .. 11 Kelly Shawn Community Transportation Association of America Washington, DC Project Manager Robert Carlson Project ACTION Washington, DC REVIEWERS: Federal Transit Administration Arthur Lopez Office of Civil Rights Washington, DC Service Animal Organizations Alison Schultz Canine Companions for Independence Southeastern Regional Office Orlando, Florida Susan Duncan, RN Delta Society National Service Dog Center Renton, Washington
Executive Summary A wide variety of animals are now being trained to assist individuals with disabilities. In addition to guide dogs, which assist persons who have vision impairments, dogs and other animals are being tr ained to assist persons who have hearing impairments, mobility limitations, seizure disorders, mental impairment s, and other disabilities. Recognizing the important role that service animals play in helping persons with disabilities to be more independent, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its implementing regulations include provisions specific to their accommodation. Included in the ADA regulation s is the right of a person traveling with a service animal to enjoy equal access to public and private transportation programs. This project represents nearly two years of research into service animal training policies and practices, public transportation policies and practices, and a review of pert inent laws, regulations, and litera ture. The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) contacted a variety of service animal training centers for information. Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. (CCI) and the Delta Society National Service Dog Center provided invaluable advice throughout the project. Southeastern Guide Dogs provided additional assistance Two documents were produced: Assisting Passenge rs Traveling with Service Animals: Final Report and Assisting Passengers Traveling with Service Animals: Training Module. The Final Report documents the project and describes the issues relating to service animals and t h e ADA. The Training Module is a self contained guide for public transportation personnel to use to train their employees on how to assist passengers traveling with service animals. Every effort was made to describe clearly what is requ ired by the ADA and what is not. Nonetheless, because this is an evolving topic, not e very issue is complete! y clear, nor do the "experts" agree in every case on how to handle passengers traveling with service animals. One th ing is clear, h owever: "If i t looks like a service animal, and the handler says it is a service animal, then welcome the service team aboard." Ill
Table of Contents Introduction .......... ... .. .. ... . . ......... ............ ... . . ... ............... .... .................. ..... ......... 1 Overv i ew o f the Issues ...... .. ............. .. .......... ...... ..... ... .............................. ........ ........ 3 T . I rammg nstructwns ............. ....... ... . . ...... ..... ......... .............. ... .......... ............. .... 5 Train i ng Slides ......... ............... .......... ...................... ... . .................. ... ... .... ... ....... 7 Trai ners' Script ..... ........... ... ......... .... ... ... ........ ...... ...... ............. ... ........... ... ............ 1 5 Samp l e Transit Policies . ... .................. ........ ... ... ...... ................. ... ........................ 39 v
Introduction Recognizing the imp ortant role that service animals play in helping persons with d i sab ilities to be more independent, the Am ericans with Dis abili ties Act of 1990 (A DA) and its implementing regulations inc lu de provisio ns specific to their accommodation. I ncluded in the ADA regulations is the right of a person travel ing with a service animal to enjoy equal access to public and private transport ation pro grams. This Training Modul e was prepared for publi c t ranspo rtation provide rs to use to train per sonne l on how to assist passengers traveling with service animals. It is a companion document to the report, Assist ing Passengers Traveling with Service Animals: Final Report. The Final Report includes supplemental information abou t requirements of the ADA, service animals and assisting passengers trave ling with serv ice animals. The Final R eport sho uld be r ead prior to training. Both documents are available through Project ACTION. The Training Module provides background information about the ADA service animals, and what per sonnel shoul d expect from passengers with d isabilities who are traveling with se r vice anima ls. A set of20 slides is included that highlights the training materi als. Also included are train ers' notes which describe each slide and may be used as a basic training script. The training module may be taught alone or as part of a passenger sensitivity or assistance techniques course Use of I
these training materials will help to satisfy training requirements included in the ADA (49 CFR 37.173). This course was pretested at workshops hosted by the Regional Public Transportation Authority (Phoenix), Phoenix Transit System, and the Arizona Transit Association; and at the T echnology Sharing Workshops preceding the 15th National Conference on Accessible Transportation & Mobility in Orlando, Florida, sponsored by the Transportation Research Board. Good luck. Please feel free to provide feedback, anecdotes, and insights to Project ACTION or the author of this report. Clearly there is much more work to be done on this topic. 2
Overview of the Issues Putting policy into practice is not always easy, and implementing the service animal provisions of the ADA is no exception As civil rights law, the ADA takes precedence over laws, regulations or ordinances. For example, a state l aw requi r ing a photo identification tag for service animals would be in violation of the ADA. Likewise, a public health ordinance banning all animalsinclud in g service animals--from a health center, also conflicts wit h the ADA; service animals must be allowed access .. The only exception appears to be a quarantine law in Hawaii, which prohibits travel from the mainland with an assistance animal. This law has caused obvious concern and debate among se rvice animal users Public transportation and taxi operators do not have to change their pet policies as a result of the ADA. Some systems prohibit pets on board transit vehicles. Others allow pets to be transported, and some systems even charge a fare to carry pets. T hese policies are unaffected by the ADA. What has changed i s that all public transportation providers and taxi operators must now allow access for persons traveling with service animals trained to assist them with their disabilities and may not charge an add i tional fee for carrying a service animal. At the same time, a person who has a disability and wants to travel with his or her pet, which is not a service animal, is not covered by the ADA service animal provisions and is subject to the same pet policies as other r id ers. 3
One of the most difficult issues is how to identify a s ervice animal. Without standard certification or identification requirements, there is no way to guarantee that every animal that is claimed to be a service animal is, indeed a service animal. There is considerable debate within the service animal industry about this point and there is concern that poorly trained animals will negatively impact access rights for persons with well-trained service animals. Likewise, public transportation operators are concerned that someone will c laim that a pet is a service animal which could lead to safety issues. Another issue is that there is some disagreement about whether animals used to provide emotional support for persons with mental disabilities should be considered service animals. However, emotional support animals trained to help prevent an individual who has a mental impairment from having a serious anxiety attack, for example, are considered to be service animals. In contrast, therapy animals or facility animals not specifically trained to assist a particular person with a disability are not considered to be service animals and are not afforded access rights under the ADA 1 At this point, the best advice continues to be, err on the side of the ADA, which grants access to service animals. If in doubt, ask the person: "Is this a service animal?" If the answer is, "Yes," then welcome aboard the service an imal team! 1 Access rightS depend on whether the person has a disability and is prot ec ted by the Americans with Disabilities Act AND wbetber the animal meets the definition of a service animal. 4
Training Instructions Prior to teaching this course, trainers should read and be familiar with the companion document for this project: Assisting Passengers Traveling with Service Animals: Final Report, available through Project ACTION. That document includes additional information about the ADA, service animals, and transit policies and procedures. This training modu le has been developed so that public transportation agencies may use the materials to provide in house t raining on the topic of assisting passengers traveling with service animals. A set of20 slides is available for trainers to use to illustrate this information. Trainers' no t es that correspond to each s lid e are provided in this document Also included are a few examples of good and bad service animal policies gathered in 1996 from pub lic transit agencies. You may want to use these examples to test the knowledge of trainees following the tra ining session. As always, live animals and real people make for better training. Therefore, it is helpful to include a service animal team or service animal trainer as part of your training program Also, there are a number of videos available that help to show how service animals are trained and used by persons with disabilities. Finally, if possible, this Training Module should be customized to include information on your system's policies and procedures for transporting servi ce animals. 5
Training Slides Copies of Slides Prepared for this Training Module Follow 7
S l ide No. 1 Assisting Passengers Traveling with Service Animals Project ACTION National Easter Seal Society Slide No. 3 Service Animal Service a nimal means any guide dog, signal dog or other animal ind iv idually tra ine d to work or perform tasks for an in div i dual with a disability inc lud i ng but not limited to ... 9 Slide No. 2 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public and pri vate en ti ties provid ing public transportation shall permit serv ice animals to accompany ind ividuals w i t h d is abilit ies in vehicles and facilities. 49 CFR 37.167 Slide No 4 Service Animal (cont'd) guiding individuals with impaired vision alerti ng indiv i duals w i t h Imp ai red hearin g to intrude rs or sounds .
Slide No.5 Service Animal (cont'd) providing minimal protection or reduce work pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items 49 CFR 37.3 Slide No.7 Not Just Retrievers ... Many breeds of dogs are used as assistance animals Commonly used breeds may vary by region & training center e.g., Corgis, Dalmatia n s, Poodles, Collies, Retrievers, Shepherds, mixed breed & others 10 Slide No.6 Service Animals: Dogs Guide dogs (llQ1 "Seeing Eye dogs") Mobi lity I assistance dogs Hear ing or signal dogs Seizure-response I alert dogs Emotional support dogs Slide No 8 Photo: hearing dog under bus seat
Slide No.9 Other Examples of Service Animals Cats hearing, seizure-alert Monkeys mobility assistance Pigs -subst itute for dogs Birds seizure-alert Slide No. 11 Common Equipment Optional, but J1Q1 required: collar (or harness) & leash harness with handle backpack or cape identification tag I I Slide No. 10 Identification No standard certification or registration for service animals you may llQ1 requ ire proof of a disability or an animal's training If in doubt, you may ask: "Is this a service animal?" Slide No. 12 Training A service animal is trained to perform specific tasks related to assisting a person with a disability there are no "official" training standards for service animals
Slide No. 13 Behavior Service an i mals shou l d be under the control of their handlers ( l eash or carrier) Service anima l s are trai n ed to behave well in public service an i mals shou l d be clean & free of fleas, ticks or other pests Slide No. 15 Problems A specific serv i ce animal that i s destructive or poses a t h reat to others may be denied access do not assu m e an ani mal i s a threat based on past experiences with other animals contact dispatch for assistance 1 2 Slide No. 14 Photo: service dog under bus seat Slide No. 16 Passengers Ma n y people with service animals can boa r d & alight without help from the driver ask if t h e perso n needs ass i stance Some passengers with service animals may have hidden d i sabilities" (e.g., ep il epsy)
Slide N o. 1 7 Boarding & Alight i ng Service animals usually board and a l ight with the i r handlers Dogs ass i st i ng someone in a wheelcha i r may board fi rst and al ight after the passenger For safety reasons, service anima ls shou l d not ride on lifts S lide No 19 Photo: guide dog b oa r ding va n 1 3 S lid e N o. 1 8 Phot o: servic e dog j um p ing off bu s S lid e N o. 20 Rememb e r I f i t looks like a service animal ... And the handler says it's a serv ice ani m a l ... Then welcome the servic e animal team aboard
Trainers' Script Suggested Trainers' Script Corresponding to Slides Follows 1 5
Slide N o 1 Ti tle T rainer s S cript This training module was develop e d for Project ACTION by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The goal of this training module is to provide useful information to assist public transporta t ion providers on how to transport persons who hav e disabilities traveli n g with service animals. I t ma y be used alone or wit h othe r passenger assista n c e and sen s i t i vity t r aining materia l s The materials inc l uded in this traini n g module are based o n inform ation gathered from service animal training centers and users, transit and paratransit agencies, and the Federal Transit Administration. A Final Report also was prepared and is available through Project ACTION. 17
Slide No.2 Americans with Disabilities Act Trainers' Script The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law applies to a variety of issues including employment, access to services (including transportation), access to facilities and public accommodations, and access to telecommunication systems According to Title II of the ADA regulations: Public and private entities providing public transportation shall permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. 49 C PR 37.167 This means that transit, paratransit, and taxi operators must permit service animals to ride on their vehicles at no extra charge to the passenger. 18
What is a service animal? Slide No.3 Service Animal Trainers' Script Service animals are JlQ1 pets. They are working animals that are specially trained to provide assistance for indi v idu als who have disabilities. According to the ADA regulations: Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work o r perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limi ted t o ... (continued on ne x t slide ) 1 9
Slide No.4 Service Animal-coot'd Trainers' Script guiding individuals with impaired vision alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds ... (continued on next slide) 20
Slide No. S Service Animal-co n t'd T r aine rs' Scr ip t providing minima l protection or rescue work pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. 49 CFR37.3 As you can see, the ADA does not contain a great deal of specific language about what is and is not considered to be a service animal. For example, there are no requirements for identification and no standard training tests for service animals. Therefore it is sometimes difficult for a driver to tell whether a particular animal is a service animal. I f in doubt, the best advice is to ask: "Is this a service animal?" If the answer is "Yes," then welcome the service team aboard. If you are still uncertain, contact dispatch for assistance. 21
Slide No.6 Service Animals: Dogs Trainers' Script The term "service" (or "assistance") animal is somewhat generic and may be used to describe all types of animals individually trained to assist persons with disabilities. Most--but not all--service animals are dogs: Guide dogs (or dog guides) provide assistance for persons who have visual impairments. Do not use the term "Seeing Eye Dog." This term refers only to dogs trained at The Seeing Eye, Inc., in Morristown, New Jersey. There are many other guide dog schools. Assistance or mobility dogs assist persons using wheelchairs and others who have mobility limitations. They may pull a wheelchair, fetch dropped items, handle money, carry briefcases, open doors or perform other tasks. Hearing or signal dogs assist persons with hearing impairments by alerting them to sounds such as alarms, horns, crying babies, telephones, and doorbells. Seizure-response/alert dogs assist persons with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. They may alert the person to an oncoming seizure, provide assistance during and after the seizure, seek help or perform other tasks. Because a person may not have an obvious disability, it may be hard to recognize a seizure-response/alert dog team. Emotional support dogs and other animals such as cats, assist persons with mental disabilities (e .g., autism or severe psychological problems), who use the assistance of a service animal to function independently. Because it may be difficult to tell the difference between a pet and an emotional support animal, you may need to ask: "Is this a service animal?" continued . 22
S lide No. 6 co n t d ... In contrast, therapy animals facility animals, and other social animals are not specifically trained to perform a function for a particular person with a disability and, therefore, are not considered to be service animals. These animals would not be afford ed ac cess rights under the ADA. Note: Remember, access rights dep end on whether the person has a disability and is protected by the Americans with Disabilit ies Act AND whether the animal meets the definition of a service animal. There also are special t y and combination dogs, which are trained t o perform tasks for a person with multiple disabilities. For example a dog m a y be trained both as a guide dog aod a service dog for a person with a vision impairment who uses a wheelchair. 23
Slide No.7 Not Just Retrievers Trainers' Script Not all assistance dogs look alike! Although many service dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Ret rievers, or a combinat ion of the two, there are many breeds used as service animals. Some training schools prefer to use one breed over another, which may account fo r regional differences in which breeds of dogs are seen most often locally. In addition to Retrievers, assistance dogs may be Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Dalmatians, Poodles, Collies and Shelties, Sheph erds, mixed breeds or others. Don't be surprised to see virtually any type or size of dog used as a service animal. 24
Slide No.8 Photo: Hearing Dog Trainers' Script For example, this Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a puppy-in-training He is about to start being trained as a hearing dog. Shown here with a Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) Trainer, he is taking its first r ide on a Lynx transit bus in Orlando, Florida. 25
Slide No.9 Other Types of Service Animals Trainers' Script Many other types of animals also may be trained as service or assistance animals. Cats are sometimes used as hearing or seizure-alert anima ls. Cats also may be trained to p rovid e emotional support for persons with mental impairments, preventing them from having serious anxiety attacks. Service cats should wear a collar or harness and leash, or be carried in a carrier Service cats are covered under the service animal provision of the ADA. Pet cats are not covered by the ADA. Capuchin monkeys also are sometimes trained to provide assistance for persons with quadriplegia or who have other mobility limitations. They may assist with opening jars, handling money, working a computer, operating switches or fetching dropped items. If a service monkey accompanies a passenger, it should be on a leash or in a carrier. Service monkeys are covered under the service animal provision of the ADA. Pot bellied pigs are quite intelligent and are sometimes trained as servic e animals. One such service pig rides the bus in New York City. Pigs are sometimes an alternative for people who are allergic to dogs. Pigs should be on a leash with a collar or harness. Service pigs are covered under the service animal provision of the ADA. B i rds and other animals are sometimes used as seizure alert or therapy animals. These animals are somewha t fragile and are not often seen on public transportation vehicles. If someone is traveling with a service bird, it should be . m a carrter. I f in doubt ask : "Is this a service animal?" 26
Slide No. 10 Identification Trainers' Script Under the ADA, public entities (including public transportation operators) may not require proof that an animal is a service animal. Some service animal training programs provide photo ID tags, training certificates or equipment with logos. However, there i s no universally accepted training certification process and you cannot demand to see proof that an animal is a service animal. Some transit and paratransit systems ask for the animal to be included in the passenger's ID photo. While this practice certainly makes it easier for drivers to identify a service animal, a passenge r should lli!I be required to be photographed with his or her service animal. Service animal pupp i es-in-training are not explicitly offered protection by t he ADA; however many states do have laws permitting puppies-in-training to have access to public entitie s including public and private transportation. Although there may be a few people who try to "beat t he system" by bringing pets on board public transportation vehicles, most pe rsons claiming to have service animals really do have service animals. T h e best advice is to avoid a confrontation. I f in doubt, ask: "Is this a service anima!?" If it looks like a service animal, and the handler says it's a service animal, then welcome the service animal team aboard your veh icle. If you are still unc ertain contact dispatch for assistance. 27
Slide No. 11 Common Equipment Trainers' Script There are no uniform requirements for equipment used for assistance animals. However, all service animals should be on a leash held by the handler or in a carrier at all times. Guide dogs often have harnesses with stiff handles, which are used to help their handlers maintain a fixed position relative to the dog and to better feel when the dog stops, starts or changes direction. Service animals sometimes--but not always--wear a backpack or cape with the logo or name of their training school. Some service animals have identification tags; however, an ID is llQ1 required Some dogs wear a head halter that might look like a muzzle. This halter helps to provide directions to the dog and is not an indication that the dog is goi ng to bite. 28
Slide No. 12 Training Trainers' Script Although by definition a service animal is trained to perform certain tasks that assist its human partner, there are no standard criteria for training service animals. T raining may be done by a training school or independent trainer; some people even train their own service animals. Trai ning can take several months or even years to complete. Several training programs are wo rkin g to develop a standard proficiency test to certify service animals; however, there is no agreement within the service animal training community about what minimum standards should be required. This lack of a certification program creates obvious problems for transi t agencies (and other pub lic accommodations) trying to tell the difference between a service animal and a pet. Some service animal training schools do provide their service animal teams with a certi ficate upon succ essful completion of training. Again, while a certificate may be helpfu l for transit agencies trying to identify whether an animal is a service animal, a cert ifi cate from a service animal training program cannot be req,uired as proof the animal is a service ani mal. Because access for persons with disabilities traveling with service animals is a civil right covered by the ADA, it is better to err on the side of permitting access than to deny access to a person with a legitimate right to use the service. If in doubt, a s k: "Is t his a s e rvice animal?" 29
Slide No. 13 Behavior Trainers' Script Service animals should be under the full control of the handler at all times. That means the animal should be on a leash or in a carrier (An exception to t his may occur when boarding and alighting at which time the animal might be left onboard while the passenger maneuvers on or off t he v ehicle In this case, the handler would ask the driver to hold the leash ) All service animals should be clean and well groomed. They should be tree from ticks, fleas, and other pests. Some va n and sedan operators carry a sheet or towel for the animal to sit on if they are concerned about animal hair and dander. I f a particular service animal appears to be dirty or poorly cared for, no t ify the local animal control board or the service animal training school (if known). 30
Slide No. 14 Photo: Service Dog Trainers' Script As seen in this photograph of a service dog riding on a Lynx transit bus in Orlando, Florida, service anima ls are trained to sit under the passenger's seat or at their handler's feet. The a i sle should remain clear so that the anima l is not stepped on and does not trip other passengers. In some cases, small service animals may ride on a passenger's lap; however, service animals sho uld never ride on bus or van seats 31
Slide No. IS Problems Trainers' Script Some public transportat ion providers are concerned about carrying servi ce animals in their vehicl es. Serv ice animals are trained to behave well in publ ic. A service animal should not growl bark or bite other animals or passengers. If the service animal poses a threat to other animals o r people, you have the right to deny it access. However, do not deny access because of p as t e x periences with a particular breed or type of dog. Denying access must be based on an individual situation and immediate concern for public or personal safety. If a d r iver feels a particular animal poses a threat or is a fraid of a service animal, he or she should contact dispatch for assis t anc e 32
Slide No. 16 Passengers Trainers' Script Many people with service animals can board and alight without assistance. Always ask if the passenger needs assistance before helping. Because there are no standard training practices, riders may have been taught different techniques for boarding and alighting with service animals. Never touch a service animal or take its leash unless asked to do so by the passenger. Likewise, never give the animal commands unless asked to do so by the passenger. Remember. Some passengers with service animals may have "hidden disabilities" such as epilepsy. Paratransit operators may have eligibility information relating to functional disabilities and that will make it easier for them to identify a passenger with a hidden disability riding with a service animal. When booking trips on paratransit, persons traveling with service animals should be identified on the driver's log. Fixed route and taxi operators may have a more difficult time deciding whether a person who has a hidden disability is traveling with a service animal because they do not have eligibility information. Also, some passengers may have multiple disabilities. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair may have a hearing impairment and be traveling with a hearing dog, rather than a mobility dog. Or, a person who uses a wheelchair may have a visual impairment. The service dog could be providing mobility assistance AND be f unctioning as a guide dog. Again, it is better to err on the s ide of allowing access. If in doubt, ask: "Is this a service animal?" 33
Slide No. 17 Boarding & Alighting Trainers' Script There is no one "correct" way to board and alight from a transit vehicle when traveling with a servic e animal. The best advice is to ask the passenger how you can assist them with boarding or a l ighting. Some points to remember : A service animals might board and alight with the passenger if the passenger is ambulatory. A service animals might board first and alight after the passenger if the passenger is using a wheelchair. Because of safety concerns, service animals should not be allowed to ride on wheelchair lifts. Their tail s, paws, heads or equ i pment may catch in the lift mechan is m, causing severe injury to the animal. An exception might be a standee traveling with a service animal who boards using a lift. 34
Slide No. 18 Photo: Service Dog Alighting from Bus Trainers' Script In this photo the service animal was left in a "sit-stay" position on the bus while the passenger rode down on the lift Once the lift was on the ground, the passenger turned around to call the dog to her. If the passenger asks you to hold the dog's leash while he or she rides down on the lift, be sure the leash will not catch on anything when you release the dog and it jumps off the ve hicl e. Some passengers may ask you to let the animal board and alight using the steps. Points to rem e mber : Always ask t he passenger how he or she would like to board before helping. Do not distract the service animal or give it commands while the passenger is boarding or alighting from the vehicle. Only take its leash if asked to by the passenger. If necessary, remind other passengers the serv ice animal is working and not to touch or distract it. 35
Slide No. 19 Photo: Guide Dog Boarding Van Trainers' Script In contrast, this slide shows the guide dog was left outside the van while its handler bo arded the paratransit van first. When boarding a van, the re may not be enough room for the passenger to maneuver with the animal in the vehicle. Likewise, the animal may get off the van first and wait for the passenger. Once the passenger was seated in the van, he called the dog to h im The dog rode on the floor at the passenger's fe.et. Points to remember: As with fixed route, the driver should ask how the passenger wishes to board and alight from t he paratransit vehicle, and how the driver can assist. A service animal should not be allowed to ride on a vehicle seat. It should ride on the floor of the vehicle (or on the passenger's la p if the animal is small). 36
Slide No. 20 Remember Trainers' Script Service animals should be welcomed on public transportation vehicles not just because it is a passenger's right to travel with a service animal, but because it is the right thing to do. If in doubt, ask: "Is this a service animal?" Always remember: If it looks like a service animal ... And the handler says it's a service animal . Welcome the service animal team aboard. 37
Sample Service Animal Policies In 1996, CUTR requested copies of service animal policies from about I 00 transit agencies. Some examples are included here for discussion purposes A critique follows each statement in italics. Pets & Service Animals Animals on Board ... Do not allow passengers accompanied by animals to board your bus. Only small caged animals are allowed aboard, accompanied by their owner. Seeing-eye and Hearing-ear dogs will be allowed to accompany their owners aboard the coach. This statement is incorrect. All service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers, not just guide dogs or hearing dogs. Pets... Small pets are permitted if enclosed in a proper carrying cage no larger than 21" x 13" x 9". Large animals are prohibited on trains with the exception of serv ice animals, which are animals trained to assist individuals with a disability as defined in the Americans with Di sabilities Act of 1990 However, animals which may be unsafe to other customers may be denied passage aboard the train. Technically correct; could be improved by stating what is allowed first (i.e., service animals must be transported) before stating what cannot occur No Animals on Board Buses ... Operators shall not allow animals aboard any bus operated by the Transit Authority, except for Seeing Eye Dogs for the blind, or small animals confined to portable cages Any pet owner who ins ist s on bringing his/her uncaged pet aboard the bus should be informed to remove himsel f/ herself and the pet from the bus immediately. If a problem resu lts, contact a Supervisor at once and do not enter into any further discussion with the passenger. 39
Do not forcefully remove either the passenger or the pet from the bus. This could result in your arrest, so it is best to let the police officer do this if this measure is required This is a badly worded policy. First, it only addresses "seeing eye dogs" and ignores other types of service animals. It puts pets in the same category as guide dogs. Most of the policy i$ aimed at what to do if there is a problem, resulting in extreme action (i.e., calling the police). Terminology & Wording Problems Passengers Are Permitted to Travel with Assistance Animals Trained to Assist Them... Coach operators shall permit assistance animals to accompany passengers with disabilities. Although technically correct, this statement does not really say anything and does not help the driver to know what an assistance animal is. Guide Dogs ... The visually impaired passenger may travel with a guide dog. The only assistance this passenger may require will be an indication as to where to sit. Seating should provide ample space for the dog in which to lie down where he will be out of passenger traffic. Only addresses guide dogs. Further, some persons with visual impairments may need to know more than just where to sit (e.g., where to get off the bus). Animals ... Seeing-eye dogs, hearing-aid dogs, and other special-assistance dogs are allowed aboard buses. Once aboard, dogs must r emain on a leash, under the complete control of the owner and remain in the "down" or "sit" position for the remainder of the ride. The dog may ride on the passenger lift with the passenger. For your safety, (the transit agency) recommends that the dog not occupy the bu s aisle or bus seats. Intent is correct but terminology is not correct ("seeing-eye" and "hearing aid" are incorrect terms). It is not safe for service animals to ride on lifts 40
unless absolutely necessary. Also dogs should not block aisles nor should they be allowed to occupy a sea t Certification/Identification Assist Animals Are Permitted on Our Buses... Assist animals include but may not be limited to seeing eye dogs hearing dogs and monkeys. All assist animals require some official authorization. You may request to see this authorization if is not apparent that the animal is an official assist animal. This statement is incorrect. The system cannot require "officia l authorization" and the driver may not request to see any. Carriage of Small Animals ... Small animals may be carried fre e of charge provided they are securely enclosed in a box or basket sufficiently small enoug h to be carried without danger or offense to other passengers. Also permitted are trained service animals used by disabled individuals. In those circumstances where it may not be obv i ous that a particular animal is a trained serv i ce animal, individuals shall provide written assurances, in response to a request by an employee and as a condition of admission to the tra nsit system that the animal is, in fact, a trained service animal. Examples of written assurances include a letter from a doctor a Jetter from the service animal's trainer, or a certification of training Co mbines pets and service animals in one policy. Also says there must be written assurances that animal is a service animal, which is illegal. Discount Cards ... Qualified individuals who travel with a c ertified signal, service, or guide dog should i nclude the dog in the photograph for the card. This will assist you in boarding with your dog. Generally all right; however, could imply discount cards require photo Also dogs are not the only kind of service animal. 41
Other PCA ... Individuals accompanying an ADA paratransit individual as a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) must be designated at the time of certification (this incl udes service animals). On paratransit trips the PCA must have the same origin and destination as the eligible passenger. When scheduling trips .. .Inform the scheduler if you are in a wheelchair, use a walker, etc., and of any persons (including PCA or a service animal) traveling with you. This is an interesting approach of combining personal care attendants (PCAs) in the same category as service animals. Good Statements Service Animals .. Service animals shall always be permitted to accompany their users in any ... public transportation vehicle ... One of the most common misunderstanding about servic e animals is that they are limited to being guide dogs for persons with visual impairment. Dogs are trained to assist people with a wide variety of disabilities, including individu als with hearing and mobility impairments. Othe r animals (e.g., monkeys) are sometimes used as service animals as well. In any of these situations, the entity must permit the service animal to accompany its' user. Assistive Animals-July 7, 1994 Operator's Bulletin .. Operators are rem inde d that assis tive animals, accompanying customers with visu al, hearing, or mobility disabilities, ri de fr ee Also, if a customer states that he/she uses the animal to assist with a disability, treat the animal as an assistive animal. Customers with assistive animals usually prefer to sit i n the securement area so the dog can rest out of the aisle. Please accommodate this request, unless a wheelchair user needs this area. 42
Assisting Passengers Traveling with Service Animals Project ACTION National Easter Seal Society
Americans with Disabilities Act Public and private entities providing public transportation shall pern1it service animals to acco1npany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. 49 CFR 37.167
Service Animal Service animal1neans any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to ...
Service Animal ( cont' d) guiding individuals with impaired vision alertin g individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds ...
Service Animal (cant' d) providin g minhnal protection or rescue work pulling a wheelchair or -fetching dropped items. 49 CFR 37.3
Services Animals: Dogs Guide dogs (not "Seeing Eye dogs") Mobility I assistance dogs Hearing or signal dogs Seizure-response I alert dogs Emotional support dogs*
Not Just Retrievers ... Many breeds of dogs are used as assistance animals Commonly used breeds may vary by region & training center e.g., Corgis, Dalmatians, Poodles, Collies, Retrievers, Shepherds, mixed breeds & others
Other Examples of Service Animals Cats hearing, seizure-alert Monkeys mobility assistance Pigs substitute for dogs Birds seizure-alert
Identification No standard certification or registration for service animals -you 1nay not require proof of a disability or an animal's training if in doubt, you tnay ask: "Ts this a service anitn.al?"
Common Equipment Optional but not required: collar (or harness) & leash harness with handle backpack or cape Identification tag
Training A service anitnal is trained to perfonn specific tasks related to assisting a person with a disability there are no "official" training standards for service animals
Behavior Service animals should be under the control of their handlers (leash or carrier) Service animals are trained to behave well in public service animals should be clean & free of fleas, ticks or other pests
Problems A specific service animal that is destructive or poses a threat to others may be denied access -do not assume an animal is a threat based on past experiences with other animals -contact dispatch for assistance
Passengers Many people with service animals can board & alight without help from the driver -ask if the person needs assistance Some passengers with service animals may have "hidden disabilities" (e.g., epilepsy)
Boarding & Alighting Service animals usually board and alight with their handlers Dogs assisting someone in a wheelchair may board first and alight after the passenger For safety reasons, service animals should not ride on lifts
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Remember If it looks like a service animal ... And the handler says it's a service animal ... Then welcome the service animal team aboard!