[nagdu] FW: [Oagdu] Summary of new VA rules per guide dogs/Service Dogs

Deanna Lewis DLewis at clovernook.org
Fri Aug 21 12:10:56 UTC 2015

Hi all,
Just in case you have not seen this yet.

From: Oagdu [mailto:oagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Marion Gwizdala via Oagdu
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 2:11 PM
To: 'Ohio Association of Guide Dog Users List'
Cc: Marion Gwizdala
Subject: Re: [Oagdu] Summary of new VA rules per guide dogs/Service Dogs


                Thank you for forwarding this to us. I haven’t checked my entire in box, so if you have not yet sent this to the NAGDU list, would you please do so? Thanks a bunch!


From: Oagdu [mailto:oagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Deanna Lewis via Oagdu
Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 9:07 AM
To: Ohio Association of Guide Dog Users List
Cc: Deanna Lewis
Subject: [Oagdu] Summary of new VA rules per guide dogs/Service Dogs

Hi all,
I saw this on another list, so wanted to pass it along to you all as well.

Forwarded message:

The general intent is to make going into a VA hospital with a service dog as an outpatient or a Visitor very similar to visiting a regular public hospital which is governed by the ADA. The rules are not identical but they are a lot closer than they used to be.

1) no prenotification will be required for these types of visits.

2) no special certification or equipment will be required for the dog.

3) the same rules will apply regardless of who trained the dog or the type of disability the dog is trained to mitigate. So the same rules for a dog trained to assist a person who is blind or a person who has PTSD or a person who uses a wheelchair.

4) The "under control" Standard will be very similar to the ADA. Voice control will be allowed if the person's disability prevents using a leash. Dogs who are not under the handler's control can be excluded.

5) The areas and reasons in the hospital where the dog might be excluded for day visitors are now pretty much identical to the ADA. In fact they directly reference the ADA in a number of places.

6) any breed of dog can be used as a service dog. However, the ADA does allow miniature horses under some circumstances, and the VA will not allow miniature horses as A service animal. Horses might be allowed for animal therapy programs that's an entirely different issue.

7) triad teams are recognized where the person with the disability is not the same person who is the dog's handler. The VA is using the term "alternate handler" for the situation.

8) just like the ADA, the regulations do not extend to service dogs in training or emotional support animals. The new VA regulations use the same "work or tasks" language as the ADA and refer further to the ADA for examples.

The biggest ongoing area of difference between the VA regulations and the ADA regulations appears to be for residential treatment programs. This is a complicated issue under the ADA as well, but the VA is Pretty much saying out front they don't expect there to be any overlap with the fair housing act type regulations and they're requiring some things like proof of the dog's vaccinations. But they have moved from a 100% denial to a consideration on a case-by-case basis if the dog is part of the patient's written treatment plan.

Anyway, that's just a quick summary, so if you do you have any specific questions look for more detailed resources. But it is quite a big change. Prior to this, the VA left it up to each facility administrator to establish their Service animal policy and there was a lot of variation. Some VA facilities allowed only ADI/I GDF graduates, others allowed dogs from other trainers but only after pre-registration and individual interviews, some facilities had breed restrictions, some facilities had diagnosis restrictions.

I personally am one of those who have said for a long time that I felt the VA rules should be the same as the ADA rules so I am quite pleased to see this shift.


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