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#1 CNW

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 10:36 AM

Someone mentioned a trip where they thought the train had therapy animals aboard and it made me wonder what the Amtrak policy is toward therapy animals. I don't have a therapy animal and so am not asking for that reason, just curious as to the policy.
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#2 sunchaser

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:04 PM

Someone mentioned a trip where they thought the train had therapy animals aboard and it made me wonder what the Amtrak policy is toward therapy animals. I don't have a therapy animal and so am not asking for that reason, just curious as to the policy.

According to the website, probably not.
I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.




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#3 Alice

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:18 PM

Someone mentioned a trip where they thought the train had therapy animals aboard and it made me wonder what the Amtrak policy is toward therapy animals. I don't have a therapy animal and so am not asking for that reason, just curious as to the policy.

According to the website, probably not.
I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.

The person who first mentioned therapy dogs on that other thread is from New Zealand, where they may use different terms. I suspect the dogs she saw were service dogs. There is a legal definition for service animals, and therapy dogs, comfort dogs, and other labels are not allowed in many of the places where the ADA requires service animals to be accepted.

#4 CNW

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:24 PM

I was once in roomette where the lady across hall had a tiny lap dog which was supposed to alert her to when she was going to have a seizure. During the night she upgraded to a bedroom and was gone by morning so I didn't learn much about it.
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#5 hippyman

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 03:43 PM

I was once in roomette where the lady across hall had a tiny lap dog which was supposed to alert her to when she was going to have a seizure. During the night she upgraded to a bedroom and was gone by morning so I didn't learn much about it.



According to the ADA, any sort of public transportation(amtrak, airlines, busses, etc.), is required by law to allow animals such as seizure dogs onboard. Not allowing them would essentially be the same thing as not allowing a blind person on board.

#6 amamba

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 05:03 PM

therapy dog =/= service dog in the USA

Service dogs are allowed, by law, on amtrak (would include something like a seizure alerting dog)
therapy dogs are disallowed.

#7 sunchaser

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 05:05 PM

I was once in roomette where the lady across hall had a tiny lap dog which was supposed to alert her to when she was going to have a seizure. During the night she upgraded to a bedroom and was gone by morning so I didn't learn much about it.



According to the ADA, any sort of public transportation(amtrak, airlines, busses, etc.), is required by law to allow animals such as seizure dogs onboard. Not allowing them would essentially be the same thing as not allowing a blind person on board.

Dogs can be trained to alert for seizures, & that to me would be an example of a service dog.




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#8 RRrich

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 06:00 PM

The Cancer Center near me advertises that they have dogs on the premises on Thursdays. I assume that those are Therapy Dogs which probably lift the spirits of patients. I think those dogs would not and should not be allowed on Amtrak.

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#9 JAChooChoo

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 06:07 PM

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as an animal that has been individually trained to provide assistance or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits one or more of their major life functions.

Under the ADA, businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of their facilities where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants; hotels; taxis and shuttles; grocery and department stores; hospitals and medical offices; theaters; health clubs; parks; and zoos.

Service animals are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities - such as guiding people who are blind; alerting people who are deaf; pulling wheelchairs; alerting and protecting a person experiencing a seizure; or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

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#10 TVRM610

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 07:03 PM

I'm not sure how Amtrak handles... but the paperwork I have where I work (can't remember where it was from but I'm sure it's somewhat official) says that service dogs are not required to be certified, and it is not legal to ask for certification or documents if told the animal is a "service animal." The only time that a business is allowed to request a "service animal" to leave, is if the animal creates a disturbance. Again.. that's my understanding based on what I've been taught where I work..

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#11 dlagrua

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:43 AM

There is no question that special needs dogs and cats are allowed on Amtrak. I've seen them come aboard and one time I mentioned to a pet owner that I did not realize that she could take her cat onboard. She replied that he is a "special needs" animal. That need can be physical or mental.
By law all businesses cannot discriminate against people who have a legitimate need for an animal to help them with their disability.

#12 DeeCee

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:11 AM

Someone mentioned a trip where they thought the train had therapy animals aboard and it made me wonder what the Amtrak policy is toward therapy animals. I don't have a therapy animal and so am not asking for that reason, just curious as to the policy.

According to the website, probably not.
I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.

The person who first mentioned therapy dogs on that other thread is from New Zealand, where they may use different terms. I suspect the dogs she saw were service dogs. There is a legal definition for service animals, and therapy dogs, comfort dogs, and other labels are not allowed in many of the places where the ADA requires service animals to be accepted.

It was I that mentioned the Therapy dogs. The lady who had the dog called it a therapy dog. It was not my term. There was another dog on board but I saw this particular therapy dog more often, mostly in the observation car or on the platform during stops. My understanding of a therapy dog is one that is taken into retirement homes, or hospitals to interact with sick/infirmed/lonely people. The lady who had this particular dog on my trip was quite elderly. Whether she had a disability or not, I don't know. She sure could talk tho :) Both dogs I saw on the train were of the small variety. I personally gave it no thought that these dogs were on the train.
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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:28 AM

I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.


From what I understand, one of the requirements is that the service animal must provide a constant service, and not an occasional service. So, an animal that only provides a service in very specific circumstances such as giving comfort only when in an open space or only when in a closed space, would be only providing an occasional service and not covered by ADA.

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:33 AM

It was I that mentioned the Therapy dogs. The lady who had the dog called it a therapy dog. It was not my term. There was another dog on board but I saw this particular therapy dog more often, mostly in the observation car or on the platform during stops. My understanding of a therapy


One of my dogs was a Therapy dog. He had to take and pass an official Temperament Test under AKC guidelines, after which I was allowed to add the suffix of "TT" to his registered name. I also had to have him registered with an organization as a Therapy dog, but that was mostly for liability insurance needs.

However, I still needed the institution's permission to being him on their premises, and the institution was under not legal requirement to grant such permission.

#15 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:45 AM

From what I understand, one of the requirements is that the service animal must provide a constant service, and not an occasional service. So, an animal that only provides a service in very specific circumstances such as giving comfort only when in an open space or only when in a closed space, would be only providing an occasional service and not covered by ADA.


That makes sense. A "seeing eye" dog is a service animal because its human is blind 24/7. Same as a "hearing" dog because its human is deaf 24/7. And a mobility assistance dog is a service animal because their human is confined to a wheel chair constantly (whenever not in bed).

Plus, their primary purpose is to provide a required service (they are always working), and any companionship they provide is secondary.
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#16 sunchaser

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:30 AM

I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.


From what I understand, one of the requirements is that the service animal must provide a constant service, and not an occasional service. So, an animal that only provides a service in very specific circumstances such as giving comfort only when in an open space or only when in a closed space, would be only providing an occasional service and not covered by ADA.

That is exactly why I used that example. I think using an animal for comfort, would not be a service animal, but Amtrak gets to make the decision. Since Agoraphobia is a medical diagnosis, they may allow it, but only Amtrak could answer that question. I think that would be a stretch of the rules.
Service animals are totally different than a Therapy animal. My daughter used to bring her dog to her job at a Nursing Home
for therapy for the residents. The dog was always welcomed by the residents, & missed when she had to go home.




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#17 jimhudson

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:44 AM

*Not to make light of those with disabilities, but a cat??? :o One of the things that supposedly is big on the On-line dating sites is the Love or dislike of pets! (ie "Must like cats! If you sleep with your pets don't contact me!" etc. etc. ) :lol:
I have no problem with assistance animals that are legally certified as such but Fido or Fluffy, my little darling, don't belong on any form of transportation especially trains! ;)

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Edited by jimhudson, 23 May 2010 - 09:48 AM.

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#18 CNW

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:51 AM

One of the reasons I asked the question about the animals was because I was recently on the Pacific Surfliner from SBA to LAX and a gal got on with a cat in a purse like carrier and it just prompted me to wonder what the guidelines were. My sister-in-law said that pets that are small enough to be in containers under the seat are allowed on airlines. I don't fly so I have no idea. Just trying to keep up with the times I guess!
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#19 alanh

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 04:15 PM

It's a tough issue. One one side, you have assistance or therapy animals that may be for a non-obvious condition (like epilepsy). On the other hand, you have people that fake a condition in order to get around restrictions on pets.

The DOT's guidance for airlines is here (pdf). Note that airlines are not under ADA but the Air Carrier Access Act. Allowing the airline to ask for documentation of emotional support animals was in response to a few incidents, like a 300 pound pot bellied pig.

Since this is just in reference to the ACAA, I don't know where it leaves Amtrak.

Edited by alanh, 23 May 2010 - 04:15 PM.


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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:44 PM

I guess it would depend on if you could prove the therapy animal provides a 'service' for your 'disability'.
Example=Someone with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) using an animal to help keep them calm on the train.


From what I understand, one of the requirements is that the service animal must provide a constant service, and not an occasional service. So, an animal that only provides a service in very specific circumstances such as giving comfort only when in an open space or only when in a closed space, would be only providing an occasional service and not covered by ADA.

That is exactly why I used that example. I think using an animal for comfort, would not be a service animal, but Amtrak gets to make the decision. Since Agoraphobia is a medical diagnosis, they may allow it, but only Amtrak could answer that question. I think that would be a stretch of the rules.
Service animals are totally different than a Therapy animal. My daughter used to bring her dog to her job at a Nursing Home
for therapy for the residents. The dog was always welcomed by the residents, & missed when she had to go home.


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