Property Rights

Your Seeing-Eye Ferret Will Have to Wait at the Door, Sir

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Under regulations proposed by the Bush administration, The New York Times reports, "the use of monkeys as 'service animals' for people with disabilities…would be forbidden." Well, not quite. The regulations would narrow the range of helper animals that businesses open to the public are required to allow on their property under the Americans With Disabilities Act:

When the existing rules were adopted in the early 1990s, the Justice Department said, few people anticipated the current trend toward "the use of wild, exotic or unusual species" as service animals.

The proposed rules define a service animal as "any dog or other common domestic animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks" for a person with a physical or mental disability.

Under this definition, the administration says, monkeys could not qualify as service animals, nor would reptiles; amphibians; rabbits, ferrets and rodents; or most farm animals.

Isn't a ferret or a hamster a "common domestic animal"? What about parrots or cats, which are now more common than dogs? Granted, these are hard questions. But if the federal government did not decide whether to allow pot-bellied pigs in your restaurant, who would?

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  1. Does this mean my idea for apartment ferret farm kits is a no go?

    And another question…which domestic animals will go extinct first once the robots start doing your dishes and pleasuring your husband?

  2. No monkey butlers? Where is Radley Balko on this?

  3. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but there’s something been going on recently (last ten years recently) where there are tons of people now who have these…ahem “service” animals, and they’re not blind, not crippled, able bodied, shopping in the malls, talking to their friends, yakking on their cell phones.

    My wife who works in the social services industry strongly suspects there are a lot of anxiety-ridden people who just want their dogs with them, and they’ve parlayed them into “service dogs”.

  4. I don’t really have a dog in this fight,

    10/10

  5. Yep, that’s a win.

  6. Monkey Tuesday lives!

    I’m disturbed by this move. Monkeys have a right to work, too.

  7. My wife who works in the social services industry strongly suspects there are a lot of anxiety-ridden people who just want their dogs with them, and they’ve parlayed them into “service dogs”.

    Wow, really? You make up a bunch of rules that have the force of law and some folks will try to game the system? Nobody calls them on it because _________________.* lawsuit. Who’d have ever predicted that outcome?

    * insert name of local TV advertising, ambulance chasing lawyer here.

  8. Parrots? More Popular than Dogs? really?

  9. forthcoming supreme court case = Mr Bubbles v Mukasey

    id always been hoping to meet one of those trans-dimensional hyper-evolved racoons from The Architect of Sleep and train them to be my bodyguard/garbage disposal/tax-advisor. This is bullshit!

  10. har. reasoniods become animal-rights activists when it looks like animals are being prevented from free access to labor markets. right of free association and private contracts! 10 circus tricks = 5 bananas!

    Do PETA consider pets slaves? They should liberate all the children’s puppies and kittens. “Free! Free! into the wild, where you can eat garbage and attack old ladies! The oppression is over! learn to shit anywhere you please! retake the planet!”

  11. But if the federal government did not decide whether to allow pot-bellied pigs in your restaurant, who would?

    The answer to that is simple: the restaurant owner! I’m not so naive as to expect libertarian thought to ever become commonplace, but I continue to be amazed at the prevalent attitude that the government has to micromanage our daily lives. When I was a kid, my mom would tell me “you’re a big boy, go get your own damned glass of water!” Nowadays I imagine mothers tell their sons “Oh poor baby is thirsty! Let me write my congressman!”

    Another question from the restaurant industry’s bibertarian future: “But if the federal government did not decide what flavor ice cream to serve, who would?”

  12. There are multiple people who use ferrets to sense when a seizure is about to occur. The ferrets get upset and let the individuals know to take their medications immediately and get themselves into a position where they will not suffer a major fall.

    Meanwhile, capuchins have been used for decades because they can perform chores that dogs simply can’t. Imagine a doberman trying to get a straw into the mouth of an individual who can not use his hands.

    Over and over again those with disabilities get short shrift and this is a time when aging of the population and the wars we are in are increasing the number of individuals who have handicaps. It’s a sad day when politicians are happy to hurt those who most deserve the same kindness we’d each want in their position. Hey, injuries can happen to anyone; when we protect others we also protect ourselves.

  13. This wouldn’t ban monkeys and ferrets from public establishments, it would just not require them to be allowed. So if a restaurant wants to cater to those with monkeys and ferrets in tow, they can do so.

  14. You mean businesses will have to decide which services animals to permit with nothing more to guide them than common decency? The horror!

    You have to love the explicit mindset of the Times: anything not mandated is forbidden.

  15. But if the federal government did not decide whether to allow pot-bellied pigs in your restaurant, who would?

    Of course, if I owned a restaurant, I would allow any edible animal in with open arms. I don’t think ADA is specific about also letting the animal leave the establishment, is it?

  16. Great! I was really concerned that this issue would fester on forever, tearing families apart, setting brother against brother, enslaving mankind with the rancors of hate and vicious class warfare. With this behind us, Bush can now turn his attention to that Arab-Israeli annoyance.

  17. The regulations would narrow the range of helper animals that businesses open to the public are required to allow on their property under the Americans With Disabilities Act:

    I propose we “narrow the range” to zero.

    You can’t restrict monkeys from entering your property?

    The founding fathers are spinning in their graves

  18. To all those with the “the restaurant should make the decision” argument — I bet that the Rest. Assn. is pushing this law. It’s a get out of lawsuit free card. “Sorry, ma’am I’d LOVE to let your seeing-eye camel in here but it’s against the law.”

  19. Now what happens if an endangered species (not on the list of allowed service animals) is used as a service animal? Wouldn’t trying to evict the animal from your restaurant be in violation of the Endangered Species Act? Indeed, you’d probably have to forego further development of the bar because it may pose a threat to the habitat.

  20. You can take my ten-inch monkey from my cold dead hands.

  21. No! You can take the kids, but you leave me my monkey!

  22. So, this is a silly post with no libertarian theme? I wonder where the “reason sucks” guy is.

  23. John-David: Reason sucks, but Jake Sullum is still cool.

    What about my lemur, people? My lemur will have his day, mark my words!

    And it all wouldn’t have come to this, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids! Yaarrrr

  24. “Isn’t a ferret or a hamster a “common domestic animal”? What about parrots or cats, which are now more common than dogs?”

    It seems reasonable to limit the definition of “service animals” to species that can be trained to, you know, be actually helpful.

  25. Nice Marmot.

  26. What if you have damaged vocal cords and the parrot repeats what you say, only more audibly?

  27. Reason sucks, but Jake Sullum is still cool.

    Sullum is the best, if not for his contributions I’d cancel my subscription. Or take REASON out of my bookmarks or whatever you do when you don’t actually pay for something.

  28. My wife who works in the social services industry strongly suspects there are a lot of anxiety-ridden people who just want their dogs with them, and they’ve parlayed them into “service dogs”.

    Bingo. You wouldn’t believe the trouble we having keeping animals out of a fucking hospital. A HOSPITAL, people!

    And more and more people have caught on to the completely open-ended and subjective way the ADA lets anyone define an animal as a service animal – there are no standards, at all. All anyone has to do is say “This is my service animal”, and its game over.

  29. You have a fucking hospital? Cool. Does it breed little baby clinics?

  30. Robert, lol. It’s even creepier that people are bringing animals into such places to “service” them.

  31. This monkey’s gonna change my life.

    .
    .
    .

    Mmmm, I can’t wait to eat that monkey!

  32. “The regulations would narrow the range of helper animals that businesses open to the public are required to allow”

    In short, the new regulations don’t ban anything. They simply give the owners of the establishment more discretion than they currently legally have.

    By normal libertarian standards, then, this is an increase in liberty. Go Bush!

  33. Monkeys fling poo. You want them in the same restaurant as you?

  34. Does it breed little baby clinics?

    As a matter of fact, it does – we’re opening our third urgent care clinic later this year.

    Cigars all around!

  35. The sections of the ADA that apply to private businesses need to be scrapped entirely. Of course, that’s after the income tax, tariffs, 2/3 of our licensing laws, and the minimum wage.

  36. Once again, you need to check to see if someone is engaging in the use of force to restrict others’ liberty.
    Actual ban on bringing service animals into restaurants: Bad
    Not requiring restaurants to allow service animals: Good

  37. GILMORE,

    PETA does in fact call having pets slavery. The vice president admits it on video in this episode of Bullshit!

  38. Did they really need to mention amphibians and reptiles? “This is my service tuatara…he tells me where it’s sunny.”

  39. Ferrets can sense yet-to-happen seizures?
    Is there anything they can’t do?

  40. Did they really need to mention amphibians and reptiles?

    Yes, they did. Right now, there is no statutory/regulatory basis for a business to deny access to your iguana once you claim its a service iguana.

  41. Yes, they did. Right now, there is no statutory/regulatory basis for a business to deny access to your iguana once you claim its a service iguana.

    Wouldn’t somebody charged or sued under the ADA be able to prove pretty easily in court that the concept of a service iguana is ludicrous?

  42. Wouldn’t somebody charged or sued under the ADA be able to prove pretty easily in court that the concept of a service iguana is ludicrous?

    But the cost of having to defend yourself, and the penalties of some pencil-head judge not seeing the obvious, are prohibitive. Not to mention that “this regulation is ludicrous” is not exactly a recognized defense, sadly.

  43. My point is that the government shouldn’t be able to force businesses to make special accomodations for any particular group of people. It’s not that I hate the blind, deaf, crippled, or retarded, it’s just that I can see how forcing businesses to make accomodations for them would create a significant burden for the business, and constitutes and infringement on the freedom of the owner to use his property as he sees fit. So, yes, I would oppose even forcing restaurants to let in a seeing-eye dog if the owners were dead set against it.

  44. economist, I strongly disagree with your 12:39 post. It might just be that movie The Music Within lingering with me. Why do you have to touch my heart, Hollywood!?

  45. @Economist wrote >>My point is that the government shouldn’t be able to force businesses to make special accomodations for any particular group of people.

  46. @Economist wrote >>My point is that the government shouldn’t be able to force businesses to make special accommodations for any particular group of people.

  47. If REASON were used the definitions would include the types of services performed rather than who performs them.

    A service ferret, BTW, can be at the person’s feet or on the person’s lap in a modest carry-case, making them even less noticeable than seeing eye dogs. Ferrets are capable of raising an alarm without being out. They can yell. Then the individual can enjoy a restaurant or other everyday amenities and at the same time avoid a seizure.

    BTW, according to Ken Wells of the WSJ perhaps 7 years ago when interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show, there were even at that time enough domestic ferrets as pets in the U.S. that their care and supplies comprised $2 Billion dollars of the then $32 Billion dollars per annum of the national pet expenditures. (Just giving some scale here for what is not unusual…)

    My mother was someone who was a chain smoker; she railed against moves to have non-smoking areas in theaters and restaurants, despite her addiction having damaged the health of some of us family members. But the one truth of life is that things change, so those who are able bodied today wind up needing some tolerance in their futures, whether due to age, health problems (transient or permanent), injury, or even damage from serving our nation at war. In her case she learned why non-smoking sections make sense when she found herself with tumors on her vagus nerve and in her lungs.

    Life changes us all. In my mid-forties I could preacher-curl 50 pound dumb bells and on good days work up the rack to 70 pounds, not a usual feat for a woman. Now that I am approaching 60 I need a seating cane when I travel due to neural damage which might be from Lyme, an illness that anyone can get at any age, so I am grateful for the handicapped sections of trains so that I can lift my legs and reduce painful and limit swelling. (I can still preacher-curl 30 pound dumb bells with my arms, though, with no problems at all and plan on working my way up the rack once again…)

    Life is full of surprises.

  48. Citizen Nothing asks:

    >Ferrets can sense yet-to-happen seizures?
    >Is there anything they can’t do?

    I sure wouldn’t want to try a seeing-eye ferret. It would probably try to stash the person under a dresser!

    Nor would I want to try to train a ferret to do the chores a service monkey can do for a person who can’t use his arms. The desired items would be hidden away and treasured by the ferret.

    Yes, though, there are people who use ferrets as seizure-alert animals and do so very successfully. They just plain are good at that and take to it naturally. Dogs are pretty good at that, too, but a number of people are allergic to dogs or need smaller animals with different care needs.

    Different animals are going to have different skills. Heck, people could ride cows if they wanted to (and I’ve known two who regularly did), but horses and mules do that chore better. So, too, for service chores for health needs.

  49. Art P.O.G.,
    What was it, specifically, that you disagreed with, and why?

  50. My fairy-god-lizard Druscilla is routinely booted from posh shops on Newbury, despite a fairly convincing fake ID.

  51. Art P.O.G.,
    What was it, specifically, that you disagreed with, and why?

    I don’t disagree with you about the burden handicap access places on business owners, but I’d say legislation is about weighing the burden on business owners against the burden handicap inaccessability places on the disabled. Yeah, even though I’m opposed in general to government coercion, in many instances the alternative would seem to be license to treat the disabled like second-class citizens.

  52. According to the state of California and the Health Department of the City of New York, ferrets are “dangerous wild animals” which can not be allowed in our homes, no matter how many misguided people in other states and countries think they are “domestic”. But acknowledging that might interfere with Republican-bashing, as the mayor has stopped pretending to be one.

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