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East County Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 5 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ ADA changed animal requirements
Dear Editor:

Neither a snake nor a goat qualify as service animals under the current ADA requirements.

The ADA requirements for what counts as a service animal were changed more than a year ago.

Service animals are now almost all dogs — a few miniature guide horses are grandfathered in. But that is it.
And, a service dog must mitigate the handler’s disability, as described under ADA. The handler must be able to describe what task or work the dog performs for him/her.
Deni Elliott
Poynter Jamison Chair of Media Studies and Press Policy
University of South Florida

+ No one should shop alongside a snake
Dear Editor:

Regarding the service snake at Walmart — please reassure poor Trish Chandler that she does not need to resort to taking a goat to Walmart. Jim Jackson, the Walmart manager, is dead wrong. And no one should have to shop alongside a snake.

In March 2011, the ADA laws regarding service animals were changed, and only dogs are recognized as service animals, with some exceptions for miniature horses.

Having gotten in trouble over their repeated violations of the ADA laws regarding service dogs, Walmart’s managers should know better. I thought that they were required to have training as part of the settlement of a class-action suit against Walmart. And even if not, it is pretty easy to find out the laws. Check out the revised laws here:
Pam Hogle
faculty, Bergin University of Canine Studies (and the Assistance Dog Institute)

+ Definition of service animal needs clarification
Dear Editor:

Yes, there should be some kind of law that determines what constitutes a service animal.

I understand that there some unusual animals that help people, but there is no way in the world that a snake fits the category. I don’t blame Walmart — its hands are tied by a non-definitive law.
Jeannie Garvin
River Club

+ ‘Service snake’ is bizarre, frightening
Dear Editor:

This is outrageous if true. I am usually pretty tolerant person, but this seems like abuse the law.

Although I am not usually frightened of creatures, this sounds bizarre and maybe even dangerous. A permit should be required, just as people are required to obtain a permit for handicapped stickers on their car.
What kind handicap would a snake help you with? This is a new one.
Ken and Norma Kisida
Country Creek

+ Reader questions service animal laws
Dear Editor:

I can hardy believe that (State Road 64 Walmart Store Manager) Jim Jackson would be such a wimp. Come on, a snake a service pet?

I, too, was in the same Walmart, and there was a cute, little Yorkie dog sitting in the child seat of the shopping cart. This took place in the produce department, and I asked a clerk about the dog in the store. She gave me the same story Trish (Chandler) got. That dog was no more a service dog than the goat Trish may borrow from a neighbor to take into the store. This was a spoiled pet, whose anus was on the seat where toddlers, purses, drinks and sometimes, food, sit. Where’s Walmart’s heads? Where’s the health department? Where are these animals’ owners’ heads? Horses are also service animals — maybe someone should ride one in to do their shopping.

I would like to see health departments require that a service animal be certified as such and have a tag that must be worn when in service and that cost of the certification and tag be at the owner’s expense (and a fine if an animal is brought in to a place food is being sold).

I don’t want anyone to think I don’t love pets. Over the years, I have had dogs, cats, ferrets and several horses.

I would be most happy to help with mailings if Trish or anyone else wants to work on getting health legislation in the state laws.
Linda Knecht
Manatee County

+ Mother-in-law column disrespects women
Dear Editor:

I only hope if you have or had a technically-inept father-in-law, you would have considered writing a column about him.

Somehow I doubt it, because women, especially mothers-in-law, continue to be objects of disrespect and derision.

I am sure the piece was not meant to be mean-spirited, but as a woman, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, I continue to be dismayed at the objectification of women.
Nancy F. Goldstein
Lakewood Ranch

+ School district budget needs overhaul
Dear Editor:
I would like to thank you for the editorial written by Michael Eng.

I’m for good schools, good teachers and a working school board for the whole community, but that’s not what this community is getting.

After reading the school budget, you will find many errors and omissions. It has taken a retired IRS enrollment agent more than two years to find some of the major problems with the budgets.

With the taxpayer paying 50% of their taxes to school, you would think the Manatee district would be ranking higher than 47th out of 67 school districts in Florida.

Again, thank you, because there are other newspapers in the area that don’t want the public to know what is going on.
Peggy Martin
Manatee County

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