Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by WorldFalls, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. WorldFalls

    WorldFalls New Member

    Since your a doctor in Washington state, I have a question for you. Have you heard anything about companion animals being allowed to accompany people with mental illnesses (anxiety and depression type issues) into stores and other public places?

    Lately, I've noticed that more and more people are taking dogs into grocery stores and other businesses. Last week, I had a dog jump on me in Albertsons (a grocery store). Since I'm severely allergic to dogs, I ended up with huge itchy welts on my legs and a stuffy nose and other allergy symptoms. Since this was the third time in a week that I ran into a dog (I had to leave the theater the day before because somebody's dog was running around), I asked the customer service lady why they allowed dogs in the grocery store. She told me that the law in Washington changed and that business HAD to let people with anxiety and depression issues into stores with their pets because the pets give them the emotional support they need to get out and about. I was shocked about this and asked my mom if it was true...she's the manager at a department store. She said that, yes, unfortunately, it is true. She got a call from the district manager telling her that Washington stores had to allow people to bring their companion pets in, but she was unsure as to how to get proof that they had permission to do this...she said she's pretty much stuck letting anybody with a dog in until this is clarified.

    Madwolf, do you know anything about this? If it reasonable to let untrained pets into stores? I'm not talking about service animals that are trained to not jump on people and are kept clean. These companion animals are people's family pets, and they are running around like they own the places. I'm worried about the effect this new trend will have on allergy sufferers. What kind of proof do people need to take their dogs into stores? How easy is it for people get get this privilege? Can anybody with minor anxiety convince their doctor to let them take their dogs into stores with them? What does this mean for the many people who are allergic or scared of dogs?

    I appreciate any light you may be able to shed on this issue. I can't find anything on the Internet about companion animal laws in Washington.
  2. Kathryn

    Kathryn New Member

    perhaps I can answer your question. Almost any animal can be considered a service animal, and the reason for the animal's use is not required to be disclosed. The animal MUST be properly trained, clean, and under control at all times. The ADA has a website that will tell you about the laws pertaining to service animals, but I am not allowed to give you the URL. I'm sure you can find it if you do a Google search. There are about 4 pages of information. If an animal is causing a problem, or is not properly trained, you do have the right to complain, and the owner of the estaablishment should ask the person to remove the animal. I hope this answers some of your questions.
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    We just had a lawsuit here in a condo assn. which does not allow any pets. The woman who has a support dog for her emotional illness sued the assn. and won. She was allowed to keep her dog.

    When I was in Paris, I was amazed at all the dogs everywhere. They are allowed in restaurants, the airport, stores, etc. Most of them were smaller breeds. All the dogs I observed were very well behaved. It never occured to me what an allergic person would do. Probably stay home as the French smoked like chimneys and all the restaurants were full of smoke. The tables in the restaurants were much closer together than in restaurants in the States, so the smoke was really concentrated. There were not good ventillation systems either.

    Mom and I just sat outside, which was smoky but not as bad or we bought fruit, cheese, and bread and had picnics in the parks. One has to be flexible when traveling and adapt to the local customs. We had such a good time and the French, contrary to what many Americans will tell you, were wonderful to us. I enjoyed seeing so many dogs in the city too, but I digress.

    You may have to wear one of those masks, like you've been seeing on TV during the SARS outbreak, when shopping in the store. I believe that more and more, people will claim their pets, who are not trained to be well behaved, to be service animals. I believe in order to be considered service animals, these pets should have to undergo socialization training.

    Love, Mikie
  4. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    When we lived in Italy, we saw a woman with her little lap dog in a restaurant - the dog sat in her lap and ate from the table! When in Rome......