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Proposed Changes To Service Animal Accommodation

The United States Department of Justice is reconsidering significant portions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. One of the provisions involves reasonable accommodation when the disabled person (and/or their service dog) presents a “direct threat” to those around them. In the past, reasonable accommodation could be dispensed with if the individual was afflicted with a communicable disease. Now, the government is considering expanding “direct threat” to include service animals as well as other circumstances. The way this is worded, it is probably going to fly under the radar. Quite a few Veterans I know have service dogs and this may affect them.

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The issue is open for public comments on the Federal Registry. If you have any feedback, please visit www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/19/2017-01057/amendment-of-regulations-implementing-section-504-of-the-rehabilitation-act-of. Please, be thoughtful and respectful. Comments are open until March 20th, 2018.

8 Responses to “Proposed Changes To Service Animal Accommodation”

  1. Darkhorse says:

    How do you see this affecting non veterans who own and utilize “service animals”? Does this only pertain to veterans?

    • SSD says:

      Any service animals, but quite a few veterans read this site.

      • Darkhorse says:

        Understood Eric, thanks! It seems everyone flying these days requires the ability to fly with their pet or “service animal”. I know multiple people who have had their animal “certified” in order to get around hotel rules, flying, etc.

    • SD Handler says:

      Minimally to not all. If enacted these changes would bring the regulations for the Rehab Act for “Federally Assisted Programs or Activities” in line with what the regulations for the ADA have always been.

  2. SD Handler says:

    You are misunderstanding what this is about. This will not change the ADA this is proposed to change the regulations for Section 504 of the Rehab Act to bring it more in line with what the ADA regulations are.

    There are different federal laws that cover discrimination due to disability, the ADA is the one most know, it applies to; Employment (Title I), State and Local Government (Title II), Public Transportation (Title II), Public Accommodations (Title III, the one most people know about) and Telecommunications (Title IV).

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prevents discrimination based on disability in “any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service.”

    There is also the Fair Housing Act which applies to most housing and the Air Carriers Access Act which applies to commercial air travel.

    • SSD says:

      No, the proposed change is overly broad and is open to interpretation which could exclude service animals based upon their classification as a “direct threat”. It’s important for the government to narrowly and clearly define how it will enforce the law.

      • SD Handler says:

        The proposed change is to change the regulations for Sect 504 of the Rehab Act to be the same as the regulations for the ADA.

        The ADA has had the “direct threat” regulation since 1991.

      • SD Handler says:

        Also worth pointing out the comments were closed March 20 of last year. No final ruling has been made on these proposals yet.