Misrepresentation of Service Animals
Resolution 2014-01
Whereas, for many years, people who are blind or visually impaired have successfully made use of guide dogs as a means of improving their mobility; and
Whereas, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has long allowed the use of service animals to assist individuals with a wide array of disabilities to travel safely and live independently; and
Whereas, as implemented by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation through regulations, the ADA provides that an individual's right to use a service animal may not be limited by a covered entity's imposition of any form of proof of identification or certification; and
Whereas, there have been numerous instances of exploitation of these long-standing rules by individuals who have misrepresented the animals they work with as bona fide service animals; and
Whereas, in spite of the federal ban on formal proof, there are groups which sell identification cards and other forms of so-called certification to create the impression that the untrained animals in question are qualified to accompany individuals anywhere even though such animals may be little better than pets; and
Whereas, untrained or improperly trained dogs or other animals may misbehave or even become dangerous, thereby undermining the public's trust and acceptance of service animals generally; and
Whereas, legislation has been proposed in several states, with mixed and inconsistent results, to refine and tighten the concept of service animals beyond that which is currently provided under the ADA;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 17th day of July, 2014, at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, that this organization directs its officers, board and staff to explore and implement legislative, advocacy, public education, and all other appropriate strategies to address the circumstances and concerns described in this resolution.

Ray Campbell, Secretary