[nagdu] Dogs In Harness

Dan Weiner dcwein at dcwein.cnc.net
Mon Aug 1 13:07:16 UTC 2011

Marion, thank you so much for clarifying this point.

Some handlers are so afraid of the implications of taking off the harness
that they will leave their dogs in harness on a long flight or for eight
hours at work.
I'm not saying a handler shouldn't do that if they feel it appropriate, but
taking off the harness at work or on a flight will not automatically
decertify the dog as a service animal.
I personally remove the harness on flights and shove it under the seat or
whatever the way Wayne described in one of his posts.
At work I would remove my last dog, Evan's harness for comfort's sake and no
one had the temerity to say anything because, frankly, unless you mention it
yourself it is immaterial to the general public.


Dan W. and the Carter Dog


-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Marion Gwizdala
Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 8:29 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Dogs In Harness

    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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