I know that people are not accustomed to seeing a cute dog on a leash at a shop,restaurant or any kind of social gathering. People seem to think that only people with seeing,hearing or mobility issues can use Service Dogs or Guide Dogs. This is not the case at all and nor is it true!
Legally anyone with a disability (physical or mental) can use a Service Dog with permission from their doctor with a letter or form. The “Doctor” being your own doctor and not a Veterinarian for your dog. Yes, I have had people ask if their Vet can “okay” a Service Dog and the answer is, No. It must be your personal treating physician who will work with you and your needs.
I have had many issues with accessibility because people are not educated on the rights of those with disabilities. Also, I can not make it clear enough that NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE. The note provided from a doctor will help with gaining access as it serves as proof that the dog is needed for your personal disability. I have included the AODA (where I am located) but the laws may be different where you live and I suggest reading into them to know your legal rights.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
4. (1) This section applies if goods or services are provided to members of the public or other third parties at premises owned or operated by the provider of the goods or services and if the public or third parties have access to the premises.
(2) If a person with a disability is accompanied by a guide dog or other service animal, the provider of goods or services shall ensure that the person is permitted to enter the premises with the animal and to keep the animal with him or her unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law from the premises.
(3) If a service animal is excluded by law from the premises, the provider of goods or services shall ensure that other measures are available to enable the person with a disability to obtain, use or benefit from the provider’s goods or services.
(8) In this section,
“guide dog” means a guide dog as defined in section 1 of the Blind Persons Rights’ Act; (“chien-guide”)
“service animal” means an animal described in subsection (9); (“animal d’assistance”)
“support person” means, in relation to a person with a disability, another person who accompanies him or her in order to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs or with access to goods or services. (“personne de soutien”)
(9) For the purposes of this section, an animal is a service animal for a person with a disability,
(a) if it is readily apparent that the animal is used by the person for reasons relating to his or her disability; or
(b) if the person provides a letter from a physician or nurse confirming that the person requires the animal for reasons relating to the disability.
Remember you have the right to be a part of society just as anyone without a disability does. Stand up for yourself and know your human rights!