Service animal rights in businesses

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– All too often service animals are turned away by businesses in the community, but, service animals are not pets.

“Is that a service dog for a disability?” “What task does this dog do for you?”

Those are the only questions businesses can ask people with service animals by their side.

Jerry Lyda, the event organizer, said he’s not wanting to get businesses in trouble — he’s wanting to keep them out of trouble and aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s time for people to be aware of the rights the person with the disability has with the service dog, and the rights of the business who allows them in because they have rights as well,” Lyda said.

For one volunteer, his service animal is sometimes the motivation to get out of bed. He said he’s ready for the community to fully understand what service dogs do.

“One was at a hotel. Misunderstandingn over what is required. They acknowledged that service dogs were allowed, but were questioning certification and paperwork that frankly doesn’t exist,” volunteer Peter Way said.

“You wouldn’t ask someone who was a paraplegic to leave their wheelchair outside. Also you wouldn’t ask them to leave that dog outside,” Lyda added.

Farmhaus Burgers was among the businesses that joined the movement in support.

“I think it’s really exciting that we have a sign that says ‘Service dogs welcome. No pets.’ It makes it understandable that there are people who need a specific animal for certain therapeutic reasons,” Farmhaus Manager, Eric mills said.

“That person you see that has that clearly trained and well behaved dog has got a legitimate reason for having that dog, and show them some courtesy and respect around it. And, my number one is don’t pet the dog… it’s working,” Way concluded.

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