Service dog workshop held for business owners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Getting the facts straight was the idea behind a workshop in West Michigan on Saturday.

There was a service dog work shop put on by A Pleasant Dog explaining the laws surrounding service animals. This was following the November incident that happened at the Holiday Bar, where an Iraq war veteran was denied entrance with his service dog.

This issue seems to be one of the biggest concerns for business owners on the subject of service dogs laws.

Don Keith, the owner of Chuck Wagon restaurant on Mackinac Island said, "We deal with thousands of tourists up there. We deal a lot with pets. And we just want to get the scoop on how to do things right.”

To find that out, there are two questions you can ask a service dog handler: Is that a service dog? and if the answer is yes, then you have to allow entry. Question two is, what is it trained to do?

Dogs can be trained for many things and you can not ask what the disability is of the person using the service animal.

Unless the animal is causing a health or safety risk, it is against the law to refuse a service dog entry into an establishment.

This is what The Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids is accused of doing back in November when they denied Jerome Smith and his service dog entry.

Smith is hopeful that this type of training will help. "I mean it is a good point to clarify those things for businesses. Where they are allowed to ask 2 questions. Is that a service animal and what task are they trained to perform. However I don’t have to demonstrate those tasks, ” Smith said.

For more information, you can visit the Americans With Disabilities Act website to learn more about service dog laws.

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2 comments

  • Cooper

    The owner I believe should be able to prove the animal is a service animal , whether through harness, jacket, or some form of id card with photo. Verbal acknowledgement can be said about any standard animal.

  • Maxwell Wolf

    Most of these dogs people are bringing in public are fakes. They buy the vest and certificate online and then drag their pet dog with them everywhere claiming it as a service dog. Is it any wonder that business owners and the general public are skeptical of these dogs now? It’s been a worsening trend for years now and nothing seems to be being done about it.