The Original Service
Animal Rights Advocacy Group


Our goal at D.I.A.L. S.T.A.R.T., Inc. is to educate and inform the public about service animal rights in a positive way. I encourage you to print out the pages regarding legal and civil rights and other issues and to hand them out to people who may not know what service animals do, who and how they help and what everyone’s rights are, “ says founder Fayr Barkley.

“We do not advocate or condone violence, vandalism or other angry and negative methods of getting our message out to the public. We understand that people have a genuine interest in what service/therapy and companion animals are and what they do. The public—business owners and employers—also want to know what their rights are under the law. We at D.I.A.L. S.T.A.R.T., Inc. hope to address questions and concerns through our website pages and bring about acceptance and understanding to the disabled/elderly and the general public.”

“We appreciate your questions, comments and suggestions. Your donations are vital and allow us to continue to provide pro bono services to disabled adults, children and the elderly".

 
   
 
 
 

Service Animal Etiquette

We get phone call and email inquiries a lot from people who are not disabled, but want to know about Service Animal Etiquette. Here are some general guidelines:
  • If you see someone who has a “working” or “service” animal with him (or her), you can ask, “Is it a working animal?”
 
 

 

Please don’t ask what the animal does for us or what is “wrong” with us medically that requires us to have a working/service animal. First of all, it is against the Americans with Disabilities Act to ask what our disability is and how our animal serves us. (See page: Disabled Persons Civil Rights). Secondly, it is impolite. Our medical condition and history is something we don’t feel comfortable discussing with people we don’t know. Remember, a person can be legally disabled and not look disabled. There are visible and non visible disabilities. (See page: About Us.)

  • There are no formal etiquette rules when it comes to working animals being in restaurants. Not all disabled people are aware that having their service cat eat in public can cause discomfort in people who are not accustomed to seeing it. Most of us try to be as discreet and as non disruptive as possible. We advocate that animals be fed and watered prior to leaving home; however, we realize that animals may need food or water when they are out and it is our responsibility to take care of the animals who care for us.
  • Please try to understand that perhaps part of someone’s disability can also include inappropriate behavior and the offending person may be oblivious to it. However, it is not okay for anyone’s animal to be out of control or obviously disruptive. Business owners have rights, too. If someone’s working animal is barking, acting out, running about, please let the owner or manager know. (See more information on the Q and A on the Disabled Persons Civil Rights page.) You may also want to consider saying, ”I see you have your working animal with you. That’s great! I am wondering if you wouldn’t mind…”
  • Our animals are “working animals,” which means that they have a job to do. Please don’t walk up and distract them, talk baby talk to them, or start petting them without asking first. Some animals have been trained to be handled only by their owners. Always ask permission first.
  • Service animals come in all sizes. You may be accustomed to seeing German Shepherds and large dogs, but smaller dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers are especially good for elderly people who can’t handle a larger breed dog or people who live in small apartments.
  • Service animals are not “accessories.” We love our companions and they help us live a more fulfilling life. Yes, some times we do dress them. Smaller animals are very susceptible to climate changes and boots protect their feet from hot asphalt; sweaters keep them warm on cool days.
  • Service animals can range from dogs, cats, rabbits, miniature horses, rats, hamsters, snakes, birds, monkeys, and so on. They can learn to predict heart attacks, seizures, panic attacks, act as “hearing” and “alert” animals, lower blood pressure, decrease depression and anxiety, increase longevity and provide a host of other medical necessities without the use of prescription pills.
  • Service, therapy and companion animals allow the disabled and elderly to live more fulfilling lives. In many cases, they are the vital link to our being able to leave our homes, fly in airplanes, maintain our lives at home alone, and give purpose to living.
  • We invite you to share and embrace our love for our remarkable and special animal friends.

 

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