120-Pound Livestock Guardian Dog
New York, NY - We do not know the specific details of this case, but it appears to be an abuse of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This past summer, the Department of Justice revised the act to better distinguish "therapy" dogs from "service" dogs. These two roles are not one in the same. Specifically, service dogs have more access to public facilities than therapy dogs. This lawsuit shows that a fair amount of confusion still persists between local entities and federal law.
"A woman's lawsuit against the New York City Transit Authority claims her 120-pound dog is protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Estelle Stamm, 65, who won $10,000 in a lawsuit against the city after two police officers gave her a citation for bringing her dog into a subway station, claims in her federal suit against NYC Transit that the livestock guardian dog is a service animal that helps with her post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from childhood sex abuse, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
The suit claims Stamm's civil rights were violated by transit workers who confronted her about the dog. However, the transit authority claims there were no violations as Stamm and her dog were never removed from any buses or trains. Stamm's suit is seeking $10 million in monetary damages and employee retraining for transit workers."
A 65-year old woman with a 120-pound, livestock guardian dog, would certainly raise the ire of any public transit official. The ADA does not require formal training standards for either a therapy or service dog. If something were to "go wrong" on the subway, you can bet the Transit Authority would be sued for triple the amount Stamm is seeking. As soon as those subway doors shut, there's no getting off. If one created a chart of this risk factor, the line would shoot straight up.
07/20/08: Service and Therapy Animals: Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
07/20/08: Woman Claims Monkey is 'Service Animal'