The American Kennel Club (AKC), a $90M pet-dog business, is launching a certification/registry program for service dogs—the AKC Service Dog Pass. This might sound good at first, but have you heard how this can actually make life harder for people with disabilities?
But we don’t have to let companies like AKC lay the groundwork for undermining disability rights. There are many options for how you can educate and create grassroots pressure against this kind of approach!
1. Share our graphic!
Share on social media, email this to your friends and family, and talk with people about how harmful this sort of thing is!
When you share, mention the talking points on the graphic (be sure blind and low-vision folks using screenreaders can participate):
Service dog IDs are the wrong answer (use non-ID law cards instead!)
• Employees give the next disabled service dog user a hard time when the one before used an ID
• Has no legal meaning in the US (no recognized registry/certification)
• Forcing disability-related paperwork for normal access violates human rights
• Employees often treat service dog documentation as a free pass for bad behavior
• Service dog or not, dogs should be removed if they are aggressive or persist with bad behavior
2. Write to AKC
Write to AKC and let them know how much you dislike their “Service Dog Pass” and how much it undermines disability rights. Their email address is email@example.com
3. Contact an organization involved
Contact one or more of the member organizations in the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans, which helped AKC develop this “pass”. Tell them how upset you are—but more importantly, why. The page linked below shows a list of the organizations involved:
4. Spread the word in the community
Spread the word among the disability and service dog communities. Use social media or any other means to contact your local or applicable disability rights organizations or any service dog organizations (programs and user groups) you may have any connection with. Tell them how this will affect our community and encourage them not to support it.
5. Contact your representatives
Contact your local, state, or especially federal representatives. Share the talking points above and encourage them to never put this sort of thing into law (there has been some talk of this!). Here is our advocacy how-to page that makes it easier to contact your representatives:
Psychiatric Service Dog Partners has an article in the works on this issue. When it’s available, or if we have any other updates, we’ll share here and on social media. Thanks for staying engaged and helping the cause!
January 15, 2020—PSDP leaders participated in a roundtable discussion of AKC’s Service Dog Pass. You can now watch the video, listen to the audio recording, or read the transcript.