This Is My Anxiety Lemur

ringtail lemur He warns me when some jackass with an iguana on his shoulder has entered the room.  Rebecca Skloot, writing for The New York Times, discusses new revisions being proposed by the Department of Justice for the ‘Americans With Disabilities Act’ regarding the definition of service animals…

…because a growing number of people believe the world of service animals has gotten out of control: first it was guide dogs for the blind; now it’s monkeys for quadriplegia and agoraphobia, guide miniature horses, a goat for muscular dystrophy, a parrot for psychosis and any number of animals for anxiety, including cats, ferrets, pigs, at least one iguana and a duck. They’re all showing up in stores and in restaurants, which is perfectly legal because the Americans With Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) requires that service animals be allowed wherever their owners want to go.

The article makes a convincing case for those seeing-eye horses as well as the capuchin monkeys who make independent living possible for quadriplegics, but clearly some people are taking advantage of the law.  So what can a restaurant owner do if a diner walks in with, say, his syphilis duck?  Under current law, one is allowed to ask two questions: “Is that a trained service animal?” and “What task is it trained to do?” (And try not to seat it too near the dyslexia mongoose at table three.)

2 thoughts on “This Is My Anxiety Lemur”

  1. Oh please. I believe the correct diagnosis for this woman is narcissistic personality disorder.

  2. Annie Messier

    It’s not so much the number or type of service animals that can be a problem as the environment they’re in. At a community center where I worked, a member who had two service dogs (for depression) had them run up and down the side of the center’s pool while she swam. Some children were scared of the dogs, parents screamed at our employees about allergies and health issues, and one of her dogs slipped and fell in the pool one day, causing total pandemonium. It’s not my place to challenge her need for the dogs or her right to bring them everywhere, but I wish she’d been as sensitive to others around her as she demanded sensitivity of others. There were plenty of quiet times and adult times she could have swum with the dogs present, but she made a point of coming during open times, and then she’d be upset that kids would ask her questions or want to pet her dogs.

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