Service animals fill vital needs

To the editor:

I’m writing to educate the public regarding persons with disabilities who require service animals. These persons have the right to have their service animals with them wherever they go, with the exception of food preparation areas or sterile areas of medical facilities. They are permitted in all public areas including parks, churches, stores and public transportation, among others. This is per federal law. These facts may be verified through the Department of Justice website, as well as the Federal Register and any ADA information site.

Another fact many people aren’t aware of is housing. There is no deposit required for service animals in housing of any type. I have run into this issue with prior landlords, but my new landlord, Gino Guglielmo, never once mentioned this. There are also no restrictions on size or breed regarding dogs, nor is formal certification a requirement. Some are inherently able to detect seizures, and some able to pull wheelchairs, help a person stand, hear a doorbell or fetch dropped items. Each service animal is trained for each person’s needs, some for physical and some for psychiatric needs. No matter the need, they are essential for the greatest functionality of the person with a disability.

Please give service animals their chance to work effectively by not approaching them without first asking their handler if you may approach. They are working for their owner, they are not pets. It is the same as if they were a cane, walker or wheelchair.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to provide some facts. Most of us with disabilities welcome questions and will gladly answer them.

Rita Kowalski