|PHOTO: Paws & Effect|
A formal statement from the office of Sen. McCoy is pending.
|Iowa state Sen. Matt McCoy|
McCoy's proposed legislation will also create a process by which handlers could be provided a way to identify a trained service animal.
The Americans with Disability Act (A.D.A.) and other federal laws prohibit requiring special licenses, registrations, or uniforms for service animals. Business owners and property managers must provide access to handlers using service animals, unless the animal creates an unsafe or unhealthy environment.
"Service animals are trained to perform specific physical tasks to offset his or her disabilities," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "These are not 'companions,' or 'pets,' or 'emotional assistance' animals. Instead, these working dogs provide their handlers guidance, mobility, and confidence—keys to an improved quality of life."
Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The organization also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and hosts community dog-agility trials as fund-raising events.
"Inadequately trained animals and those fraudulently represented as service dogs create a a risk to the public, diluting the strength of public access laws for those individuals who adhere to accessibility laws," Shumate says.
"We are supporting Sen. McCoy's legislative efforts because licensing service dog trainers is a step toward protecting service dog recipients."