Saturday, May 14, 2011

News: National Association of Guide Dog Association Launches Innovative Hotline

The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), has launched an
innovative new service. The NAGDU Education & Advocacy Hotline not only offers
information about the legal rights of individuals who use service animals, it
offers the option to speak with an advocate who is trained to resolve access
denials. According to the new federal guidelines that took effect on March 15,
2011, a service animal is "any dog that is individually trained to do work or
perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" (28 CFR Part
35.104 & 28 CFR Part 36.104). The new regulations specifically state, "Other
of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service
animals for the purposes of this definition." In an effort to Further clarify
its intent, the Department of Justice specifically states, "The crime deterrent
effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support,
well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the
purposes of this definition."
"We find that most access problems are the result of a lack of
information," says Michael Hingson, the Association's vice president, who serves
as project manager for the hotline. "This hotline is an excellent resource for
accurate information."
The NAGDU Education & Advocacy Hotline currently offers general
information about service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), as well as specific guidance concerning restaurants, taxicabs, and health
care facilities. Callers needing immediate assistance can connect directly to a
live trained advocate. Future plans for the hotline include
summaries of each of the state laws concerning service animals, more
industry-specific information, and guidance in a variety of languages, such as
Mandarin and Arabic. The hotline is available anytime by calling, toll- free,
(866) - 972 - 3647.

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