"NEWSFLASH: In this weekend's New York Times Magazine, I reported that the Department of Justice had proposed a ban on guide miniature horses, service monkeys, and other non-canine assistance animals (brief overview of the story and legal issues here, several follow up posts here). In my story, I mentioned that no one knew whether the DOJ had removed the species ban from their proposal after the public hearings this summer.
Well, I just got an email from a source who's seen a leaked version of the latest DOJ regulations, and the agency has in fact made the species ban more restrictive. Its initial proposal would have allowed cats and other commonly domesticated animals (perhaps including parrots). But the current version (which the DOJ approved on 12/3 and is now pending final approval by the OMB), limits service animals to only dogs.
The outpouring of response I've gotten from this article has been predominantly opposed to the idea of banning non-canine animals. Folks have asked who they should contact to speak out in favor of these animals, since the final proposal is still awaiting approval. For those interested, you can contact the Department of Justice here, and the OMB here. You can also contact your government representatives and state senators to let them know about the issue. (Update for those who've asked: The relevant way to reference this issue is as, The DOJ's proposed ADA regulations that would ban the use of any species other than dogs as service animals. The exact regulation in question is 'Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities.' "
Is there really a rational basis to limiting ADA service animals to dogs? What am I missing here?