David Arrighi: Law on service dogs should be changed

Friday, December 27, 2013
To the editor:

After reading many articles in local newspapers concerning the service dog debate, I feel compelled to write about my feelings on this issue. First of all, let me express my deepest heartfelt thanks to all veterans for making my life safe and free. Being a retired veteran I know how much it means to me to hear someone say, “Thank you for your service.”

I also know that I would feel even more grateful to hear those words if I came home with a war-related injury. I believe the federal law concerning service dogs is too vague and needs to be changed. The law states that a proprietor of a business can ask if the animal is a service dog but cannot ask for certification. And the law also states that the owner of that dog does not have to show proof of certification. My question is, why not?

What personal infringements would be violated? If the owner is asked then the owner should be required to show proof. What reasoning is there for not having to do so? What is wrong with having to show a certification for an animal that you are so happy and proud to own? An animal that has been through intensive and lengthy training to make its owner more comfortable and safe. If I had a disability that required a service dog I would gladly and proudly display any form, card or badge on my person at all times. The owners/managers of businesses have their hands tied because they have to abide by state and local health board rules and be concerned about cleanliness and disease. They should have the right to ask and be assured that the dog has been properly trained and is there for the right reason.

My wallet is full of licenses and forms that I have to show to go about my daily life. It is not unreasonable to have to show documentation and have a much better outcome for both parties.

David Arrighi


The writer served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1958 to 1962.