Department of Justice Proposes Vast Changes in ADA

Recently, the DOJ proposed some rather alarming revisions to Titles II and III of the Americans With Disabilities Act. These changes include:

  • A new definition for service animals;
  • A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
  • A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
  • An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules;
  • And many others!

IAADP as an organization has already made an official comment regarding the new service animal definition, emphasizing that the following changes be made:

  1. Eliminate the phrase “providing minimal protection” from the definition of service animal;
  2. Eliminate the phrase “do work” from the definition because it is redundant and the example of work given in the NPRM, grounding, undermines the Department’s goal of maintaining a clear distinction between specially trained service animals and those animals whose mere presence can provide emotional support, companionship or therapeutic benefits.
  3. Limit the use of other species only to animals which can be trained to meet the same standards for behavior and training that assistance dogs must meet to qualify for public access.
  4. Avoid placing a size or weight limit on common domestic animals such as assistance dogs.

Further information from IAADP can be found here.

These changes in the ADA, especially the service animal definition, heavily impact the disabled community and I urge everyone to please take the time to add your comments to IAADP’s official comments and/or add to the draft comments from Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).

Please understand that even though these organizations (and others like them) have made comments that is imperative that DOJ receive your individual comments. We want to flood them with comments and we need the individual’s voice just as much as any large, faceless organization.

First Time at the Vet

Yara standing in the aisle near my desk, chewing a massive bone

Yara has what I’ve come to think of as a chewing OCD. Behold the proof above wherein she is so focused on chewing a knuckle bone I’d given her one morning that she actually forgets to lie down. Eventually chasing the bone around became too much of a workout, but it took her a good twenty minutes before she clued into this.

In fact, that particular day at work she spent quite literally the entire day chewing on said bone. At one point she chewed it for three hours straight without one single break even. Luckily for me the coworkers near my area don’t seem to mind the pretty obvious sound of my dog gnawing a bone, even when she gets so involved in it she actually starts breathing heavily. Really, it’s quite amusing.

Yara lying on her bed using a pile of toys as a pillow

In other news, Yara had her first visit to the vet’s yesterday. You’ll all be happy to know she is in perfect health; although, she has lost an incredible twelve pounds since first arriving at my home! My vet, who has a long history with Fidelco dogs having grown up fostering a breeding bitch and several career change dogs, didn’t seem overly concerned. I did mention her irregular stomach issues, but they don’t seem to be at a point where she’s not getting enough nourishment. Dr. Gundersen said it’s quite possible Yara is just very lean, but she was quite amused to have the rare opportunity to tell someone to feed their dog more food. To be honest, I don’t really see that she’s lost weight, but I did have to ask Fidelco for a new chest strap since hers had gotten so loose. Anyway, I’m to add another cup of food daily to Yara’s meal and we’ve got another appointment on June 10th to weigh her again . . . and also get her AVID microchip1 implanted!

Yara lying on the floor, watching me from the kitchen doorway

This coming Friday, we’ll be taking the Amtrak to C.T. for Fidelco’s graduate dinner and walkathon fund raiser. So, please don’t be alarmed if there is a lack of posting or replying to comments here. Though, admittedly, my excitement over the trip has more to do with meeting Yara’s fosters, Patty and Tom, and spending the weekend with Raechel and James and their horde of dogs! But regardless, I’m sure we’ll have a grand time, even though the forecast looks like it’s going to be a pretty soggy weekend. I will do my best to both remember my camera and actually take some pictures to share. ;-)

  1. One of the many membership benefits of IAADP, to which I gratefully thank Wendy.