How Do I Register My Service Dog?2019-11-29
How Do I Register My Service Dog?
The benefits that our furry canine companions have on our lives are immeasurable. That would probably deserve another long post of its own. To top that, some dogs can be trained to provide specific services to their owners. These animals can help with tasks such as reminding the owner to take their medicine, or picking things off the floor to aid people with limited mobility.
Commonly called service dogs, these dogs are more than pets to their owners. An American with Disabilities Act (ADA) ruling in 2010 validated this claim - stating that government agencies, businesses and any other establishment that serves the general public must allow people with disabilities bring in their service animals in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. These dogs are viewed as working companions, considering the functions and tasks they help their owners perform.
Does my dog need to be registered?
The short answer is: yes, as long as it has been trained to perform specific tasks. While registration is not a must-have, you might want to register your service dog so as to eliminate issues such as the questioning you are likely to get if you tried to take your dog into a public space, like a restaurant or an airplane. You can also benefit from reduced discrimination from landlords who don't like pets, or unnecessary attention from strangers as the ID kit identifies your dog as a service animal.
Most importantly, in situations such as an emergency evacuation of if your dog gets lost, it is easy to identify the dog and return them back to you.
That being said, it is also important to know that if your dog is an emotional support animal, they won't get the same status or registration as a service animal. Emotional support dogs can provide comfort for peoples suffering from mental and emotional conditions. Unlike service dogs, they are not required to perform any specific tasks for their owners. They are also not covered by the ADA ruling, and so won't be allowed in most public spaces.
Is it an easy process?
Registering your service dog is a simple process. You usually need to have information such as the dog's birthday and the name of the breeder or rescue home you got your dog from on-hand before you start the registration process. You may also need to bring a photo of your dog as ID.
Once you have all these, you should visit your preferred registration point and fill out the short form with your information and that of your dog. Once the registration process is complete, you will get a unique numeric code that can be used to verify your dog's status. You can also order an ID card for your dog to make them easier to identify as a service dog when you step into a public place.
It is also important to note that certification of your dog as a service animal does not qualify them as a registered service dog. A lot of individuals and organizations sell these services online. These certifications do not convey any rights under the ADA. The Department of Justice also doesn't take the certifications as proof that your dog is a service animal.
What are the benefits of registering your service dog?
Registering your service dog is not only easy, but has both financial and emotional benefits that can last you a lifetime.
1.The main benefit of registering your service dog is that it ensures you have no problems with companies or establishments that might question your dog's right of stay within their premises. If your dog has no ID - which is not a legal requirement - the company may refuse you entry. Once it is established that you have a service dog performing an important function, they must be allowed to stay on the premises. Ordering an ID helps you avoid issues such as this, especially with companies who are unversed in ADA law. The ID makes your service dog's function official.
2. Some landlords stipulate that no pets are allowed in their homes. Registering your dog and gaining the correct documentation helps assure your landlord that your dog helps your everyday function and is protected under the ADA law and the Housing Act. These laws prevent discrimination from a landlord against a renter or buyer due to a disability.
3. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats your service dog expenses as a deductible. All expenses from food to veterinary services to training can be deducted as expenses from your annual tax bill.
4. Dog-loving strangers sometimes want to pet or play with any pup they see (and who can blame them, really?). The problem is that such attention can distract your dog from the important functions or duties they need to perform to keep you safe. Most people know they shouldn't pet a service animal without the owner's permission, but some do not. The ID and vest that come with the registration process helps to identify your dog as a service animal and gives an advance warning to strangers who want to pet or play with your animal.
5. During a situation that demands an emergency evacuation, such as a fire alarm in a mall, registration confers priority benefits on you and your service dog. Emergency personnel are always on the lookout for those who may need extra help during evacuation, and if your canine has a service ID or vest, emergency service personnel will instantly understand its status and work to get you both to safety.
Service dogs are important, but it is equally important that you get them registered if you have one or plan to get one. Registering a service dog is a hassle-free process and the benefits far outweigh the time you'll spend filling the form. Ensure you order an ID and a high-visibility vest after completing the registration process, as these help strangers and organizations easily identify that your dog performs an important function to you.
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