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Access rights and access wrongs: Ethical issues and ethical solutions for service dog use

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Deni Elliott

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Individuals with a variety of disabilities benefit greatly from the ADA provision of easy public access with their service dogs. However, the growing problem of non-disabled individuals passing off their pets as service dogs both threatens public safety and can result in denial of access for legitimate service dog teams. We argue that requiring certification of service dog teams and furnishing qualified teams with state-issued ID tags, following a process similar to that for obtaining accessible-parking placards, is the least intrusive way to protect access for legitimate teams and protect public safety. While some consider a certification requirement for service dog teams to be burdensome, balanced against the harms posed by easy public access for untrained or inappropriate dogs, the mild burden is justified.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 27(1), 1-14. doi: 0.5840/ijap20132716 Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




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