[Nfbnet-members-list] International Assistance Dog Week

Marion Gwizdala blind411 at verizon.net
Mon Jul 28 21:37:51 UTC 2014

Dear all,

	There has been some discussion on the National Association of Guide
Dog Users (NAGDU) list about participating in International Assistance Dog
Week (August 3 - 9). I did a little more research and found that
International Assistance dog Week IADW) is sponsored primarily by Assistance
Dogs International (ADI). It is important to know that ADI is one of the
organizations that is seeking to change public policy by requiring
registration and certification of service dogs as a condition of access,
something the National Association of Guide dog Users opposes. ADI's
interest in this policy is that, should it be implemented, they are
positioning themselves as the organization that would set the standards and
conduct the certification or registration. It is important to note that the
McMinn (Tennessee) School district adopted the ADI standards that were
recently repealed as they did not comply with Federal law.

	According to the ADI standards, assistance dogs - including guide
dogs - must wear a harness, coat, backpack, or other  garment identifying it
as an assistance dog and must be issued a laminated identification card
bearing the picture and names of the handler and the dog. Such a requirement
as a condition of access is contrary to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
They require programs to have personal contact with each handler on an
annual basis and to conduct tests assessing their suitability for public
access. Such a provision is paternalistic and in direct conflict with the
NAGDU Consumers' bill of Rights adopted by the membership of the National
Association of Guide dog Users in 2012. I have attached the Standards &
Ethics document from ADI to this message for your complete review.

	These things being said, I feel that raising public awareness of the
issues faced by service dog users and educating the public about these
issues is a worthwhile endeavor for NAGDU. However, to do so in conjunction
with International Assistance dog Week does not serve the goals of NAGDU. I
believe it would be better for us to make use of the national Federation of
the Blind's Meet the Blind Month in October and the Presidential
proclamation of national White Cane Safety day (October 15) to do an
awareness campaign. The NFB has a great deal of resources for this purpose
and utilizing these resources and sending the consistent message we want the
public to hear will serve our purposes better in the long run than
partnering with an organization that promotes public policy that is not
congruent with our philosophy and goals. Therefore, the National Association
of Guide dog Users will create an awareness campaign to be used in
conjunction with Meet the Blind Month. If you have specific ideas you would
like to see us implement, please feel free to share them with us. You can
reach me by using the contact information below my signature. You can
communicate with the entire board of Directors by sending an email message

Board at NAGDU.ORG

Fraternally yours,

Marion Gwizdala, President
National Association of Guide Dog Users Inc.
National Federation of the Blind
(813) 626-2789
(888) 624-3841 (Hotline)
President at nagdu.org

High expectations create unlimited potential for the blind!

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