Monday, January 31, 2011

Department of Justice Reaches New Ruling Regarding Service Animals

So, I have recently been doing quite a bit of thinking about the Department of Justice's new ruling regarding service animals. First, as of January 2009, service animals are to be limited to dogs only and secondly, under this new ruling, emotional support and psychiatric service animals no longer qualify if their main functions are to provide companionship, elevate mood, and so forth, the reason being that these benefits are not seen as any different than the benefits one acquires from a household pet.

While this ruling will be undoubtably problematic and painful for those affected, I think the DOJ had its reasons for making this decision. That's not to say I don't support those with emotional needs because let's face it-- we all have them, but I think that, as the ruling specifies, service dogs should be trained for specific, visible tasks and I don't know that happiness or contentment can be measured

However, a service dog may work with an individual who has a psychiatric or emotional disability that is co-morbid, meaning it exists as part of another diagnosis and this I fully support because many times, psychiatric and emotional disabilities do not exist solely as the individual's only condition but often accompany others like traumatic brain injury, autism, and oppositional defiant disorder. (ODD)

To read an article on this topic, click here:

I would love to hear your comments on this topic! Feel free to put in your two cents!

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