People who have a legitimate need for a legitimate guide dog or service dog must be allowed to have that dog with them anywhere in public. Anywhere. That’s a good thing. And it’s the law according to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now comes a bill in the New Jersey Legislature that would mandate businesses train their employees on that fact.

The bill requires “any employer who has one or more employees serving customers or other individuals in a place of public accommodation or other public facility, or otherwise has the ability to provide or deny access to the place or facility, to provide training to those employees regarding the right of an individual with a disability to have a guide or service dog in places of public accommodation or other public facilities.”

The legislation just advanced, having been approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. This would be a good thing if the language of the bill weren’t so vague. They have to train workers that service dogs need to be let in. Great. The Department of Labor will have to create a pamphlet. Terrific.

The problem?

Unless these training courses SPECIFICALLY teach what IS and is NOT a real service dog all this is going to do is make businesses even less likely to turn away every idiot who pretends their slobbering best friend is a service dog. I would say this is a bigger issue and is causing some legitimate service dogs to be turned away.

A true service dog is trained to do a specific task for a person with a disability.

It is not you going on the internet to some site where you pay $19 for a vest and fake credentials for your untrained mere pet and pretending you need him at your side for an anxiety condition.

The more people have done this the more suspicious store owners have become of ANY dog. Then the disservice is done to the truly disabled.

Until the problem of selfish pet owners treating their dogs the way Kim Kardashian treats an accessory bag gets addressed life is going to remain more difficult for legitimately disabled people.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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