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Posted at 8:10 PM ET, 09/ 6/2010

Is it guide dogs, or all dogs, that cabs pass by?

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Gerald E. Sheldon
Rockville

As a dog lover and a former dog exhibitor and breeder, I was drawn to the Sept. 2 Metro article “In study, cabs bypass fares with guide dogs,” about the difficulty that blind people with guide dogs sometimes have getting a taxi to stop for them.

The article reported that the Equal Rights Center conducted 30 tests and that in half of them taxi drivers passed someone with a guide dog to pick up someone without a guide dog. The article also pointed out that under local and federal law, businesses must make reasonable accommodations for blind people and their service dogs.

I believe the tests were flawed because they left out a group that should have been included. The missing group is sighted people with dogs of similar size to the service dogs. (Paris Hilton with her Chihuahua need not apply.)

I am confident that the sighted people with dogs would also have been passed on by the cabbies.

The Post headline might then have read, “Blind and sighted people treated equally — dogs discriminated against.”

By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 6, 2010; 8:10 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic  
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Comments

It is 100% irrelevant if cabs bypass fares with pet dogs, because pet dogs are in a whole different category from Service Dogs (such as Guide Dogs).

Legally, a Service Dog is considered to be "adaptive equipment" for a disabled person, just like a wheelchair or any other kind of medical equipment. As such, Service Dogs HAVE to be allowed, by law, anywhere their disabled handler goes, even places where pet dogs are NOT allowed.

The fact that so many cabs will bypass a blind customer with a Guide Dog and pick up a regular person without a Guide Dog means that they are either ignoring the law or unaware of it. I like to lean to the latter - tons of businesses have NO clue what a Service Dog is, what types of Service Dogs there are, and what protection is afforded their disabled handler (and the dog) under the law.

Of course, Gerald Sheldon, who penned the above, obviously doesn't understand the difference between a Service Dog and a pet, either.

Posted by: mausergirl | September 6, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm allergic to dog hair, and could have a life-threatening reaction to sitting where a dog has been. Can I, under the ADA, have a dog-free cab? As the saying goes, your rights end at my nose. If cabs are forced to transport dogs, then my right to ride in cabs is effectively foreclosed, and the same is true for everyone else with a similar condition. In my opinion, then, the ADA cannot require cabs to carry dogs, and those cab drivers who choose to do so must post signs stating that dogs may have ridden in their vehicles.

Posted by: MartinCrim | September 7, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

It's not just guide dogs. I have a hearing dog and I can see the taxis whiz by. I've taken to hiding her behind planters, or asking total strangers to hail me a cab. It's that or miss my appointments. AND -- I've reported cabbies who tried to throw me out of the cab with my service dog, and the taxi cab commission has laughed about it -- haha, he won't do that again. It's a crime and the taxi commission should take this seriously and fine or de-license drivers who do this.

Posted by: AdventurerVA | September 7, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

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