[Nfbc-info] FW: GDB Announcements: Input to the Department of Transportation ANPRM and the July E Calendar

Allison Depner adepner1425 at gmail.com
Sat Jun 30 17:17:58 UTC 2018




Allison Depner

NFBCA AT-Large chapter President

(619) 952-2352

allison at sdfutures.org

You Can Live the Life You Want!!


From: Theresa Stern [mailto:tstern at guidedogs.com] 
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2018 11:07 AM
Subject: GDB Announcements: Input to the Department of Transportation ANPRM and the July E Calendar



Dear GDB Alumni,

I want to make everyone aware of an opportunity to let your voice be heard regarding the Air Carrier Access Act as it specifically relates to transportation of service animals and emotional support animals.  Due to the many challenges people who work with service animals, the airlines, and the general public are experiencing with the current regulations,  the Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an Advanced Notice of Public Rule Making (ANPRM) on this issue and is asking for public comment.  Below you will find GDB’s input to the ANPRM and I encourage you to share your perspective as guide dog users with the DOT.  Comments must be submitted by July 9th, 2018.  For details on the ANPRM go to: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOT-OST-2018-0068-0001 <http://support.seeingeye.org/site/R?i=LbgFN4wTtuOylxVij1HsNg> .   I strongly encourage you to share your opinions on each of the questions posed in the ANPRM through this public comment opportunity, here is the link you can use to post your input: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=DOT-OST-2018-0068-1157 <http://support.seeingeye.org/site/R?i=mJK0DtrGKO5XIFZm15CY0A> 

Following GDB’s comments to the DOT, I have posted our Alumni Association E Calendar.  

Very Best,



To: The U.S. Department of Transportation 

From: Guide Dogs for the Blind 

Re: DOT-OST-2018-0068, RIN No. 2105-AE63 

Traveling by Air with Service Animals 

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) applauds the Department of Transportation (DOT) for its desire to address the ever increasing challenges presented by passengers flying with animals and falsely representing them as service animals. It is our hope that its efforts will indeed create a safer environment for airline employees, travelers, and service animals. We are hopeful that the process of making travel safer for all, however, does not infringe upon the rights of those who are disabled as defined by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In fact, we highly recommend aligning the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) with the ADA. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that disability rights, equal access, and the ability for a service animal to help its handler lead a safer, more independent, and inclusive life remain intact.​ 

We also applaud the DOT for soliciting feedback from the public to inform its process as well as its recommendations. GDB has been serving individuals who are blind or low vision for over 76 years and is the largest guide dog school in North America. Given our long history in the service dog industry and the role that we play as a leader in our industry, we would very much like to have a seat at the table as you formulate your policies and welcome you to contact us.

GDB offers the Department of Transportation the following comments on the issues proposed in the ANPRM: 


1.    Whether psychiatric service animals should be treated similar to other service animals; 


It is the position of Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) that Psychiatric Service Animals (PSAs) should be treated in the same manner as any other service animal if they have been trained to perform specific tasks to mitigate their handler’s disability and have been trained to behave appropriately in public.  As noted above, we believe that the ACAA should align with the DOJ and ADA.



2.    Whether there should be a distinction between emotional support animals and other service animals. 


As noted earlier, GDB strongly recommends utilizing the ADA definition of Service Animals. GDB believes that service animals constitute a different category as they have been specifically trained to perform tasks that mitigate a disability and have received training in how to behave appropriately in public.  ESA’s on the other hand have not received formal training – including how to behave appropriately in public - and should therefore be more closely scrutinized and regulated in order to ensure the safety of passengers, crew, and service animals.  



3.    Whether emotional support animals should be required to travel in pet carriers for the duration of the flight; 


As stated earlier, we believe the ACAA should align with the ADA.


4.    Whether the species of service animals and emotional support animals that airlines are required to transport should be limited; 


We believe that the definition of a service animal noted in the ADA should also apply to the ACAA, therefore only dogs and in some rare cases miniature horses would be considered appropriate species for service animals. 



5.    Whether the number of service animals/emotional support animals should be limited per passenger; 


In our professional experience it is exceedingly rare that an individual would require more than one service animal at a time. GDB has graduated over 14,000 guide dog teams and to our knowledge none of our graduates utilized more than one working service animal. There are more instances where one service animal has been trained to mitigate more than one disability such as in the instance of a guide dog that has been dually trained to also detect low blood sugar levels in a person with diabetes. The ability to properly manage the behavior of more than one animal at a time in public is questionable.  



6.    Whether an attestation should be required from all service animal and emotional support animal users that their animal has been trained to behave in a public setting; 


No, we do not believe that an attestation would actually ensure that an animal being brought aboard an aircraft would behave appropriately. As it stands now, airline personnel have the right and indeed the responsibility to exclude any animal that is demonstrating behavior that is deemed to jeopardize the safety and well-being of passengers and crew such as growling, lunging, eliminating in the airport terminal or onboard a plane, etc. We would highly recommend that TSA, ground, and air personnel receive education that will help them determine appropriate canine behavior and tools to assist with enforcement when inappropriate behavior is observed. We would be happy to assist with education. 



7.    Whether service animals and emotional support animals should be harnessed, leashed, or otherwise tethered; 


In our opinion it is absolutely necessary that all service animals be harnessed, leashed, or otherwise tethered for the safety of both the animals and passengers and crew. The only exception to this would be if a service dog needs to be unleashed to perform its specific task.  Please note that a guide dog handler may remove the guide dog’s harness while in flight for the comfort of the animal but the dog remains on leash at all times.



8.    Whether there are safety concerns with transporting large service animals and if so, how to address them; 


There are no limitations to the size of a dog or miniature horse that may be trained to mitigate an individual’s disability under the ADA. Introducing limitations on size could reduce access for certain individuals by separating them from their trained service animal. That said, the dogs we use in our program range in weight from approximately 40 lbs. to 85 lbs., whereby these animals can fit on all standard aircraft.



9.    Whether airlines should be prohibited from requiring a veterinary health form or immunization record from service animal users without an individualized assessment that the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others or would cause a significant disruption in the aircraft cabin; 


We do not believe that service dog handlers should be required to produce a health record to an airline in order to travel. This would constitute an undue burden on the disabled person as it may eliminate the ability to travel on short notice, take advantage of online or curb side check in etc. Further, we do not believe that this documentation would provide enhanced safety to travelers as a vet record does not ensure that an animal will behave appropriately in public. 



10.  Whether U.S. airlines should continue to be held responsible if a passenger traveling under the U.S. carrier’s code is only allowed to travel with a service dog on a flight operated by its foreign code share partner. 


GDB believes this is fundamentally an issue of consumer protection and reasonable transparency. We would ask for airlines to disclose their complete policy and provide consumers with the ability to accept or reject the terms in advance of completing any purchase.






Due to the Summer months being very busy for many of our graduates, some of the Alumni Chapters are taking a break from their normally scheduled conference calls in July and August. Stay tuned to the upcoming eCalendars for their next scheduled activities!

Wishing you all a wonderful summer; keep hydrated and stay cool!


Saturday, July 7

San Diego Alumni Chapter

Monthly meeting

Time: 12:00 PM 

Location: San Diego Central Library

            330 Park Blvd.         

            San Diego, CA 92101

Please join us for our regular meeting this month to discuss upcoming meetings and events.  Please note this month the meeting will be held on the first Saturday instead of the normal second Saturday. We will have lunch at a nearby restaurant following the meeting. Contact Monique with any questions at:  <mailto:Moniquegdb14 at gmail.com> Moniquegdb14 at gmail.com or (585) 409-0285


Monday, July 9

Mommies with Guides

Monthly Conference Call

Time: 7:30 PM (Eastern)/ 4:30 PM (Pacific)

Phone: 800-835-8395

Access Code:  162 3768

This month, Mommies with Guides will be discussing dog distractions and your children. If you have questions, contact President, Tara Chavez at:  <mailto:tmatzick06 at gmail.com> tmatzick06 at gmail.com  or via phone at (505) 328-3349


Wednesday, July 11

Reigning Canines (Portland area)

Food at Five

Time: 5:00 PM

Location: Wooden Chicken Pub

            12500 NE Sandy Blvd. 

            Portland, OR 97230

Join us for fun and fellowship, Wednesday is their Steak Night Special! RSVP with Bobi Earp at:  <mailto:bobiearp at gmail.com> bobiearp at gmail.com or via phone at: (503) 248-6739


Wednesday, July 11

Paws of Fame (Los Angeles)

12th Annual Dog Day Afternoon

Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Location: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

            555 W. Temple Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

We’ve been invited back again this year, to set up a table at this community event.  We will be there to raise awareness, hand out materials and just be part of the community!  Hundreds of dogs with their owners will be attending!  We would really appreciate help setting up beforehand, manning the table during the event, and packing up at the end of the day.  Please email Melissa Hudson:  <mailto:mhudson at guidedogs.com> mhudson at guidedogs.com if you can help at the table. 


Thursday, July 12

GDB Desert Dogs of Arizona

Guide Dog Handlers and Puppy Raiser Panel Discussion

Time: 7:00 PM

Location: Mountain View Lutheran Church

Education Room - East Building

11002 S. 48th Street

Phoenix, AZ 85044

The GDB Desert Dogs of Arizona will be partnering with the GDB Puppy Raisers in the Phoenix area for an informal panel discussion. We will field questions and provide opinions and perspectives on what is most important to us as guide dog handlers.  This will be a fun evening for sharing, talking, making new friends and forging new relationships.

This is open to all guide dog handlers who would like to attend. Please come and share your thoughts and have some fun. Please RSBP to Scott Wilcock at:  <mailto:swilcock at guidedogs.com> swilcock at guidedogs.com or (801) 675-0379. Also, please let us know if you need help with transportation. 


Saturday, July 14

OC Guide Dogs (Orange County, California)

Monthly Meeting

Time: 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Location: Orangewood Avenue Baptist Church

            8421 Orangewood Ave.

            Garden Grove, CA 92841 

Note: The cross streets for the church are, Orangewood & Dale. Access drop off in parking lot near playground. The meeting will be held in the sanctuary.

This month’s Speaker will be Joe Landau, a GDB handler. He will be sharing his experiences with being denied access at a restaurant a few years ago and the recourse of discrimination cases.

Join us for lunch after meeting at: Super Mex

6860 E. Katella Ave. 

Cyprus, CA 90630

For more information please contact Estee Boggs at:  <mailto:esteeboggs at gmail.com> esteeboggs at gmail.com or via phone (714)293-3851


Saturday, July 21

Oklahoma Guide Dogs for the Blind Alumni 

Monthly Meeting

Time: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Location: Deaconess Hospital

North Doctor's Building

5701 N. Portland Ave

Oklahoma City, OK 73112

The meeting will be in the basement in Rooms A, B, C.

Topic: Captain Chad Wilds, Risk Reduction Officer Oklahoma City Fire Department will be discussing and answering questions about what to do if there is an accident or disaster.  He will answer such questions as what if our dog is injured along with many other concerns we might have. For more information, please contact President, Pam Holloway at:  <mailto:pam8864 at gmail.com> pam8864 at gmail.com or via phone at (405) 365-9717


Monday, July 23

Sacramento GDB Alumni

Monthly Conference Call

Time 7:00 PM (Pacific)

Phone: 800-835-8395

Access Code: 162 3768

For more information, please contact President, Christopher Pitcher at:  <mailto:sacgdbalumni at gmail.com> sacgdbalumni at gmail.com

Check out our website:  <http://www.sacgdbalumni.com> www.sacgdbalumni.com


Wednesday, July 25

Paws and Remember Peer Support Group

Time: 7:00 PM (Eastern)/4:00 PM (Pacific)

Phone: 800-835-8395

Access Code: 162 3768

This call is for grads whose journey with their Guide Dog is coming to an end due to their dog’s retirement or death. 


Saturday, July 28

BC Dogwoods Alumni Chapter (British Columbia; Canada) 

Annual Summer Walk and Social

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Pacific Spirit Park

5495 Chancellor Blvd.

Vancouver, BC V6T 1E4, Canada

We will meet at the Pacific Spirit Park, located adjacent to the University of BC, for a nature walk through meandering trails, ending with a relaxing meal at a nearby pub. 

For more information or to add your name to the list, Contact President Linda Weber at:  <mailto:lmweber at shaw.ca> lmweber at shaw.ca


Saturday, July 28

GDB Desert Dogs of Arizona

Quarterly Dinner Meeting

Time: 5:00 PM

Location: Joy Ride Taco House

5202 N. Central Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85012

 <http://joyridetacohouse.com/> http://joyridetacohouse.com/

Attention all guide dog handlers in Arizona - please join the Desert Dogs for our Quarterly Alumni Chapter dining out experience!  We will be dining at the incredibly funky yet super awesome tasting gourmet, Joy Ride Taco House.  If you have not been there, you don't want to miss this opportunity!  Spouses and significant others are always welcome, dogs required!  Please make it known if you want to come and need transportation. Please RSVP to Scott Wilcock by July 15th at:  <mailto:swilcock at guidedogs.com> swilcock at guidedogs.com or via phone (801) 675-0379


Saturday, July 28

Paws of Fame (Los Angeles)

Outing with SoCal Puppy Raisers; picnic and seeing the musical “Annie”

Time: 6:00 PM (Picnic); Performance starts at 8:00 PM

Location: Hollywood Bowl (the iconic, world-famous amphitheater)

2301 N. Highland Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90068

Family and friends are more than welcome to join us!  To purchase tickets or for further details, go to  <http://www.gdbbaark.com> www.gdbbaark.com or please feel free to contact Mary Ann Epstein directly at (909) 539-7196 or via email at:  <mailto:maryann at realpro.la> maryann at realpro.la



Sunday, July 29

Colorado Rocky Rovers

The Phamaly Theatre Company’s Audio-Described performance of “Into the Woods”

Time: 2:00 PM

Location: Denver Center for the Performing Arts

            1400 Curtis St.

            Denver, CO 80204

Tickets are discounted at $10. After the performance, we will be walking to a nearby restaurant for dinner (cost is on your own). 

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Beth Gustin at:  <mailto:bethglpc at gmail.com> bethglpc at gmail.com 

If you have any questions or travel issues/concerns, please let Beth know.


Monday, July 30

Sunshine Guide Dog Teams of Florida

Monthly Conference Call

Time: 8:00 PM (Eastern)

Phone: 800-835-8395

Access Code: 169 3867

We will be finalizing our survey monkey and getting ready for our summer face to face get together on August 25. Tell a friend and bring them to our meeting.












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