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Wednesday 22nd January 2020

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17:59 PM, 22nd January 2020
About 6 months ago

Assistance dog increase?

I’d be very wary of following some of the advice here. I am very knowledgable in assistance dog law because I’ve been involved in legal disputes and I have an assistance dog myself.
My dog is an organisation dog, but I can’t stress this enough *not all assistance dog owners have ‘papers’*. There aren’t ANY legit registries for assistance dogs. There’s ADUK, but they’re not a governing body, nor a registry. Assistance dogs can be privately trained, meaning they have no papers. Even ADUK ‘papers’ aren’t legal documents - they’re basically membership cards that help the owner explain about the dog. There’s a lot of smaller organisations that aren’t part of ADUK, and they’re just as legit too.
Secondly, I’d check where you stand on seeing doctors’ notes. I’m not sure you have the right to demand those, and doing so could cause dispute.
Next, you cannot charge additional cleaning fees, even if your contract states you charge extra for pet fees. An assistance dog is an auxiliary aid, which is the same category as wheelchairs or crutches. You can’t charge extra for potential cleaning needed from wheelchairs, and you can’t charge for assistance dogs either. This is because they’re reasonable adjustments necessary to create equality.
So if you can’t see proof it’s an assistance dog, and you can’t charge cleaning fees, then what can you do? You can charge extra for actual damage caused by the dog. If they tear up your sofa, you can charge for that. If they break your door, you can charge for that.
You can evict someone because of problems caused by the dog. If the dog barks constantly and bothers the neighbours (unless it is barking to alert a hearing impaired owner of a cooker timer or something) you can challenge that. You can challenge them if the dog is defecating indoors, if it’s aggressive, or attacking neighbours’ animals. You do have rights, but so does the dog owner. You’ll find that most assistance dog owners are very respectful and just want to live peacefully. They don’t have a dog for extra money - you don’t actually get extra money unless it’s a guide or hearing dog. Sometimes you actually get less.

Finally, I think it’s a terrible attitude to have that some people are commenting on why an owner has an assistance dog, and even suggesting they should do without. If a war veteran has a PTSD dog, are you going to tell them they shouldn’t? Even if the dog saves their life every single day? Assistance dogs are more than only guide dogs. They can alert to seizures, fainting episodes, severe panic attacks, guide unwell owners home. They pick up dropped items for people in wheelchairs, or help people dress or undress. They can do so much and it’s not up to you to say they’re not needed. You can travel abroad with an assistance dog, but yes, maybe I won’t go abroad in my lifetime. Maybe I’m too disabled. But I love the theatre and concerts. Being disabled doesn’t mean you hop in a wheelchair and shut yourself away for the rest of your life. You find ways to get through the day with your disability and have the same opportunities as everyone else. If I can’t go to Tesco without my dog then that’s my business. If he went and defecated on the floor then they’re well within their right to ask me to leave. Without him I’d be stuck inside all day unable to function.

It’s ultimately up to you but I’d do more research not based on people’s opinions because refusing an assistance dog just because you don’t believe it’s real could cause issues for you.... Read More