To the Editor:
In regard to the Letter to the Editor by Jennifer Blanchard from San Diego with the service dog, I would like to expound a little about service dogs.
I have been training dogs for over 30 years; I am also disabled and have a service dog. Even though [the information that] the good Samaritan came to the woman’s rescue inside The Newes was wonderful, a bit of education to business owners and their employers would have worked better. It is not a matter of whose people are nicer, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, but a matter of knowledge.
Anyone who owns a business that deals with the public should read the 1990 American Disabilities Act in regards to service animals. Unless Nantucket is not a part of the United States of America, that restaurant in Nantucket could not have refused her access with her service dog to their establishment. She should report that restaurant to the U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division.
“The ADA requires businesses (such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities) to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.” The law reads:
1 “An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers.”
2. “The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations.” (not pets, signs don’t work for service animals.)
3. “You (the business) may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.”
However may I add that a service animal must be in control, not cause a disturbance or cause damage. About three weeks ago my service dog and I flew to Orlando, Florida and the car service that picks me up at the airport said they were going to charge me an extra ten dollars because of my service animal. I told them if they did I was going to report them to the ADA. They made a phone call (they should have done their homework first) and then when done with the call, with a big smile, said, “We will not be charging you the ten dollars.”
4. “Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany that individual.”
So, when it comes to businesses like the woman mentioned in Nantucket, it’s not the island of Nantucket but the restaurant’s ignorance of the law. So, the woman mentioned above should go back to Nantucket to visit for a day, but then come to Martha’s Vineyard and spend a week or two.