Dogging the ADA System

December 12, 2014 – In The News
Franchise Times

Eileen Oakes Muskett was featured in the Franchise Times article, “Dogging the ADA System.” Full text can be found in the December 2014, issue, but a synopsis is below.

Eileen Muskett took a closer look into the legal requirements involving service animals when she began receiving numerous questions from clients about dealing with specific situations.

In response to these questions, Muskett developed a series of guidelines for clients to follow in order to avoid fines under the American with Disability Act.

Muskett advises that business owners ought to ask two questions when a service animal enters their facility:

1. Is the animal required because of a disability?

2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Business owners should also note, however, that employees cannot ask for proof of a disability or even what the disability is. A disabled person and his or her animal have the right to equal access of all public sections of establishments such as restaurants and hotels. However, if the animal causes damage or creates a disturbance for other guests, the business owner may ask for compensation for damage or ask the guest to leave.

Sometimes, accommodating a disabled person’s request may seem unreasonable, she says. However, clarifying that “we’d like to accommodate you,” and explaining reasonably why it would be difficult can reduce risk of conflict.

Muskett also suggests that business owners check local, state and federal laws governing service animals. It’s important to note that “federal law preempts local and state.” Such as in Colorado, where pit bulls are banned in public places, but federal law permits service pit pulls in any and all public spaces.

Click here to view the full article.