USAUSA logo, with name encircling a button-like disc with a pawprint carved out of the center, all in a 3–D black with light shining from the 1:30 position

United Service Animal
Users, Supporters, and Advocates

Partnering for reasoned advocacy

February–April 2021 advocacy action


photo of first page of the USAUSA ANSI comment, linked to the comment PDF


Opposing the proposed ISO international service dog standard (instead, supporting disability rights)

There’s a proposal for a detailed engineering-type standard for service dog providers and users, through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Ignoring disability rights, the stated intent is to force compliance with this one-size-fits-some standard. It would severely reduce the number of disabled people able to use service dogs and harm service dog users’ right to move freely in public.

We think that’s a bad idea. We explain this in our USAUSA ANSI comment (version française disponible). ANSI is the US member organization of ISO that is coordinating the US response. The different member organizations will vote on whether to go through with the Netherlands proposal around the world, based on everyone’s input.

Thank you to the 18 organizations that supported USAUSA’s comment by signing on. The deadline for comments to ANSI in the US is February 26th, but other countries have later deadlines. If you are an individual who would like a sample comment to submit to your country’s standards body, see Psychiatric Service Dog Partners’ advocacy entry.


    • International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
    • Paralyzed Veterans of America
    • Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Courteous Canine LLC
National Association of the Deaf
    • Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
The Dissociative Living Partnership
    • Assistance K9 (Australia)
National Disability Rights Network
    • Lead With Your Heart Dog Training
    • National Council on Independent Living
    • American Association of People with Disabilities
    • Open Doors Organization
    • Service Dog Support and Training Solutions
    • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
    • K9sBehave
Psychiatric Service Dog Partners
    • World Blind Union
Update, March 5, 2021

Initial success—ANSI released a draft letter in our favor. The ANSI draft letter expresses detailed and unequivocal disapproval of the proposed ISO/international assistance dog standard. In a sign of our success, much of the language and the ideas in their draft are lifted directly from our comment.

Whether we are ultimately successful also depends on how the other countries’ standards bodies vote. That’s why we wrote to 163 of the countries’ organizations to let them know why the proposal is a bad idea. The individual support from the service dog community should combine with the international support from USAUSA signers-on to make a big impact. Thank you so much to participants.

Update, April 16, 2021

The proposal for an international (ISO) service dog standard failed the international vote.

We are very relieved our community will not have to worry about further access barriers from this source. Thank you to everyone who helped us fight on the side of human rights, including ANSI.


What is USAUSA?

USAUSA is an internationally oriented, ad hoc advocacy coalition. USAUSA experts develop policy and lawmaking recommendations regarding service animals, inviting stakeholder organizations to sign on and individuals to write in to express support. USAUSA also gathers targeted feedback from the assistance animal community to direct it toward those in power. Read more on USAUSA’s About page.


What work has USAUSA done?

Since 2016, USAUSA has been at the cutting edge of user-based service animal coalition work. This includes getting organizations of all sizes and types on board with flight law recommendations, conducting much-needed community surveys with coalition help, and producing targeted recommendations based on data and experience.

Details—including USAUSA’s revealing reports—are available through our Activities page.


What is USAUSA not? What does supporting USAUSA commit an organization to?

USAUSA is not a membership organization, but merely spearheads advocacy action on a case-by-case basis. An outside group’s support for one USAUSA issue or project does not commit or restrict them beyond that instance of support. Only organizations are eligible to sign on within USAUSA letters, and a representative must attach their name for accountability.

An organization is entirely free to agree with USAUSA and sign on for one issue/letter, while disagreeing with USAUSA on another. Signing on by having one’s name listed simply indicates agreement with that letter, and many groups will sign on to a USAUSA letter and submit their own comment for the same issue when they have more to share. Distributing a USAUSA survey in no way implies endorsement of any survey product.

USAUSA solicits and welcomes advocacy support from individuals in the form of writing to policymakers to express personal stories and reasons for agreeing with any USAUSA actions. This humanizing effort is often essential for agencies to understand the everyday impact their actions would have.


Who has supported USAUSA actions?

Over 35 organizations have signed on to USAUSA letters. These include service dog programs, advocacy groups, and businesses, such as:

If you are with an organization that may be interested in future USAUSA advocacy actions, please contact us early so we are able to consult with you when the time comes. Advocacy opportunities often arise quickly and with looming deadlines, so we have to be prepared to take quick action in coordinating support.


Apart from supporting advocacy actions, how can I contribute to USAUSA’s work?

USAUSA actions are led by the Board of Directors of Psychiatric Service Dog Partners (PSDP) in conjunction with a prominent service animal advocate who formerly served as the Consumer Relations Coordinator for Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and America’s VetDogs. Donations to PSDP support our work and are much appreciated.

If you would like to bring a potential advocacy action to our attention or give any feedback, please do not hesitate to send a friendly message our way.


How do I contact USAUSA?

Email: USAUSA [at] psych [dot] dog
Phone: (805) 876-4256
Mail: 1651 Sandpiper Drive, Rock Hill, SC 29732 USA