This hits particularly hard, as I went to the city office last night to renew Nadia and Vanya's licenses. Vanya had no issues.
Nadia - I had to show proof she is a registered purebred animal, that I have a registered kennel name and am a member of the Canadian Kennel Club so that she may be allowed to remain intact and I had to assure them I would not be breeding in Montreal proper.
Then came the real infuriating part. She is a service dog and was registered as such last year. The city updated its system and discarded most of the information on file including the proof I had from my healthcare professional. I had the letter with me.
The young man said I needed a card or proof from a training org, and said that in Quebec basically only MIRA was recognized. His colleague recognised me and remembered Nadia just from my face and the description (even though I didn't have her with me) and even tried to plead with him on my behalf. Refused to grandfather her in, insisted that he had spoken to the woman from the city office that day and she had told him it's basically impossible.
MIRA trains primarily guide dogs and some mobility dogs and maybe some autism service dogs. MIRA has a massive breeding program, pumps out a lot of dogs, and their training methods still produce a high washout rate in spite of that. They use harsh methods and many times 'extinguish' the dogs. I have friends with guide dogs from smaller foundations, that come from outside the province. More importantly since they don't try every kind of SD, the city is basically ruling out all medical alert dogs, most psychiatric service dogs, deaf service dogs etc. This is a huge blow to the SD community.
I was upset and explained that this is illegal and akin to refusing someone access to a wheelchair ramp because the wheelchair isn't the right brand. I refused to pay for the license. The man's colleague who remembered me said if I got inspected by animal control, to explain the situation and let them know my request was pending. She also suggested I get one of those certifications from the USA. I told her those weren't legit and explained that they're essentially a scam that ends up hurting real SD team, because they're advertised to owners of untrained pets. Also they misrepresent service dogs and make businesses and people think that all service dogs have an ID card like this. Which they don't. They aren't required to.
Went home. Called my family to let them know what was happening. Cried - and of course Nadia immediately started tasking, ironically, and I thought to myself they had to guts to imply she is not a real service dog.
Some might wonder why I didn't go ahead and just pay the license? It's the principle of the matter. If the city gets to decide which SDs are legitimate and which aren't, then it trickles down. Establishments start refusing the dog on the grounds the city doesn't recognise it. Landlords refuse housing. Furthermore it is insane that you wouldn't grandfather in a 5 year old dog, or put out any kind of warning or information. They sent renewal letters, why didn't they look at Nadia's file, see she's an SD and warn me ahead of time? Do they not realize how much time it takes to train an SD and you can't just go and get another one on short notice? It screws over a lot of people.
Now I have to find a lawyer and try to contest it with the city itself. Possibly also drop off a complaint with the human rights commission.
Shame on Fox.
DEFINITION OF A SERVICE ANIMAL
Q1. What is a service animal?
A. Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.
CERTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION
Q17. Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
A. No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.
[B]As most of the times - I'm lost here ! ( [a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.) YET then it says this ( Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, )
Somebody help this farm boy out
This is because a service dog does not need to be trained by a professional, doesn't need to come from a specific organisation, or be a specific breed. Nadia, or Jazi's Creed for that matter are both Handler Owner Trained. A friend out in LA has an Autism Service Dog who is also a Medical Alert dog. Her partner trained him.
When someone walks into an establishment with a service dog, per ADA rules the dog doesn't need any kind of identification or visual indication that they are a service dog, either.
So how can you tell who is a service dog?
The Establishment is allowed to ask the handler two questions.
1. Is this a service dog?
2. Is this dog trained to perform specific tasks?
If the dog is being disruptive, unruly or the handler cannot regain control, the establishment is allowed to ask the team to leave.
The dog HAS to be trained, but you cannot request proof of this.