[nagdu] Dogs In Harness

Marion Gwizdala blind411 at verizon.net
Mon Aug 1 12:28:43 UTC 2011

    First of all, let me welcome you to our list. As for the requirement of 
a harness, this is a myth some of the guide dog training programs promulgate 
and it is just that - a myth. Prior to the ADA, some state laws had such a 
requirement, either expressedly or by implication. As an example of the 
"expressedly" assertion is Michigan's statute 750.502c which states, "if the 
guide or leader dog is wearing a harness or if the hearing dog or service
dog is wearing a blaze orange leash and collar, hearing dog cape, or service 
dog backpack, and the person with disabilities being led or accompanied has

in his or her possession a pictured identification card certifying that the 
dog was trained by a qualified organization or trainer." An example of the 
implied statement can be found in Georgia code 30-4-2 - 4 which states, "The 
guide dog or service dog must be identified as having been trained by a 
school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs." Some laws use the 
verbage, readily identifiable". All of this is preempted by the Code of 
Federal Regulations (
28 CFR part 35.104 & 28 CFR Part 36.104) which clearly states, "A public 
entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has 
been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal." In its business 
brief "Commonly Asked questions About Service Animals", the United States 
Department of Justice offers the following guidance: "Some, but not all, 
service animals wear special collars and harnesses". The gear does not a 
service animal make! A service animal is defined by its training. Whether or 
not the dog is in harness, you have the right to be accompanied by your 
service dog.

    If I am taking a walk with my dog out of harness, using my cane, and 
decide to stop into the grocery store to pick up some items, I have no 
qualms taking my dog into the store with me. I do not make it a regular 
practice, but there is no prohibition of this. I am still disabled and my 
dog is still a service animal. More of this type of information will be 
shared during our upcoming teleconference, "Service Animals in Places of 
Public Accommodation" on August 21. Space is still available, but filling up 
quickly. Registration has only been open for one week and half the seats are 
filled! To register for the teleconference, send your name, City & state, 
and email address to


Fraternally yours,

Marion Gwizdala

----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Larry D. Keeler" <lkeeler at comcast.net>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 7:27 PM
Subject: [nagdu] Dogs In Harness

>I thaught they could hassle you if you're dog wasn't in harness.  With 
>Holly, I leave it on almost always.  The exceptions are if I'm somewhere I 
>usually go like church where I know lots of people want to pet her.  If I 
>have time and am waiting for a cab, I take it off so she can interact with 
>the kids.  Fortunately, she knows the difference and when I put the harness 
>back on she just knows its over!
> Intelligence is always claimed but rarely proven!
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