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Author Topic: Service Dogs  (Read 2750 times) Average Rating: 0
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TinyDancer
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« on: August 30, 2012, 11:23:33 AM »

A friend from another forum (who is also Orthodox) was recently banned from her church because the priest refused to let her attend with her service dog.  Legally, churches are the only places of business that CAN prevent people from entering with their service dogs, but I'm shocked that they WOULD.  (Pets, I understand, but service dogs are not pets.)  Is this Orthodox-wide practice?  She is considering leaving Orthodoxy entirely over this, which saddens me greatly.
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 11:24:52 AM »

I don't know about the general practice, but I'm also surprised by this...  Undecided
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 11:27:06 AM »

I'm appalled! This is disgraceful!! Angry Angry Angry
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 11:27:50 AM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 11:27:32 AM »

Animal is an animal, so small wonder he made objections. I'm not so surprised by forbidding service dog enter a parish, as I am by banning your friend from her church. And, moreover, where where couple of dozens of other people in church, that should take role of a sui generis "service dog" during a time of the Liturgy?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 11:28:02 AM by Pan Michał » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 11:27:42 AM »

I'm sorry to hear that.

As I understand it, animals are canonically forbidden from entering the Church, and dogs are specifically a no-no- a priest told me that, if a dog were to enter the sanctuary, the altar would have to be re-consecrated. I don't know where the canons regarding this are specifically to be found.

Obviously, this information won't help your friend. I would agree that some leniency with regard to service dogs is warranted... if there are other Orthodox churches in your friend's area, perhaps she can find a more agreeable priest.
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 11:30:37 AM »

Quote
As I understand it, animals are canonically forbidden from entering the Church,

Not quite. Cats are the only critters allowed. As for a dog entering the altar area, that's hardly likely to happen with a properly-trained service dog. Let's also remember that service dogs did not exist at the time the canon(s) were written.
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 11:32:39 AM »

Let's also remember that service dogs did not exist at the time the canon(s) were written.

There's a saying, "good for us, that Church Fathers didn't live long enough to comment on all of human inventions".
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 11:34:07 AM by Pan Michał » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2012, 11:48:39 AM »

Neither are horses for the duration of a day at a time or so, so get a service pony.
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2012, 11:49:30 AM »

A friend from another forum (who is also Orthodox) was recently banned from her church because the priest refused to let her attend with her service dog.  Legally, churches are the only places of business that CAN prevent people from entering with their service dogs, but I'm shocked that they WOULD.  (Pets, I understand, but service dogs are not pets.)  Is this Orthodox-wide practice?  She is considering leaving Orthodoxy entirely over this, which saddens me greatly.

In many of the cultures where the Orthodox Church comes from dogs are one of the lowest animals to ever exist. Even Scripture does not think kindly of dogs.

With that said, I love dogs and dogs love me. They are some of the most loyal animals around. I have been around several people with service animals, and I do not see any reason why they would need the use of their service animal in any service. They are not pets but work animals, yet many of the people who use them do create a bond with them that causes problems.

There is a compromise, the dog could stay in the hall or perhaps a Sunday School room while the service is going on. In one such case I know, the service animal was dropped off at the church rectory. The dog had his "time off" during the services.
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2012, 11:56:08 AM »

Hereabouts, I have seen seeing eye dogs in the Liturgy in both OCA and GOA parishes.

Once the dog was sound asleep and snoring and the priest joked during his sermon that he hoped it wasn't one of us!
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2012, 12:18:05 PM »

It is an odd situation- I don't know what parish she belongs to, but I understand there isn't another one anywhere nearby.

Funny about the cats- they are pretty common around here, actually, especially in home based mission churches and sketes!  Too bad I'm severely allergic- but that's my problem!
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2012, 12:42:12 PM »

It is ridiculous. If my priest banned a parishioner, and refused a service dog, I'd go to another parish.

Obedience to canon is understandable, but not when it compromises the Great Commission.

PP
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« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2012, 12:44:38 PM »

It is ridiculous. If my priest banned a parishioner, and refused a service dog, I'd go to another parish.

Obedience to canon is understandable, but not when it compromises the Great Commission.

PP

This. Definitely this.
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2012, 01:04:26 PM »

It is ridiculous. If my priest banned a parishioner, and refused a service dog, I'd go to another parish.

Obedience to canon is understandable, but not when it compromises the Great Commission.

PP

I'd write to the bishop, first.
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« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2012, 01:07:53 PM »

As I understand it, animals are canonically forbidden from entering the Church
There are also canonical exceptions. Letting a seeing eye dog in would be in the spirit of some of these exceptions.

and dogs are specifically a no-no- a priest told me that, if a dog were to enter the sanctuary, the altar would have to be re-consecrated.
Sounds like a muslim or general semitic taboo rather than something significant for a Christian.

If God's Divine Grace can't overcome dog dander, we have bigger problems on our hands.
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2012, 01:09:12 PM »

It is ridiculous. If my priest banned a parishioner, and refused a service dog, I'd go to another parish.

Obedience to canon is understandable, but not when it compromises the Great Commission.

PP

I'd write to the bishop, first.

Good call. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2012, 04:37:47 PM »

Can someone explain why a service dog must be present for the disabled person while they are in church? Is is not our job as their fellow Christians to minister to them better then a dog would minister to them? We are horrible Christians if we can not take our brother's or sister's hand and lead them to the icons to kiss, or the chalice to receive the body and blood.
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2012, 05:00:15 PM »

Can someone explain why a service dog must be present for the disabled person while they are in church? Is is not our job as their fellow Christians to minister to them better then a dog would minister to them? We are horrible Christians if we can not take our brother's or sister's hand and lead them to the icons to kiss, or the chalice to receive the body and blood.

Exactly what i was going to say while quoating your previous responce.

Place the dog in another area to relax...a vacant classroom, in an area in the reception hall or an office, on an on.
Im sure they can find an appropriate place for the dogie!
And yes then a parishoner take the disabled persons hand and guide them as needed thorouhgt the liturgy.

Whats the problem. Il tell you what the problem is (rant comming on)---evertyone and there mothers think they have the right to this and that and the other. those are just words, laws, ordinences, from the state, county, goverment.
Thats not our law our law is from and abt God.

Dont get me wrong i am very much so an animal lover in particular dogs, one (100lb dog) is by my feet (always) as i type this.
Im just tired of everyone and there rights, sick of it actually.
I dont want to be in church with a dog by me, im distracted enough by people.

Yours,
politically incorrect

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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2012, 05:23:29 PM »

A friend from another forum (who is also Orthodox) was recently banned from her church because the priest refused to let her attend with her service dog.  Legally, churches are the only places of business that CAN prevent people from entering with their service dogs, but I'm shocked that they WOULD.  (Pets, I understand, but service dogs are not pets.)  Is this Orthodox-wide practice?  She is considering leaving Orthodoxy entirely over this, which saddens me greatly.
She can join my synagogue. We have one member who uses a service dog and two families that raise and train them. They bring the dogs to services all the time and there is never a problem. These animals work harder than some people I know.
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2012, 05:24:39 PM »

Can someone explain why a service dog must be present for the disabled person while they are in church? Is is not our job as their fellow Christians to minister to them better then a dog would minister to them? We are horrible Christians if we can not take our brother's or sister's hand and lead them to the icons to kiss, or the chalice to receive the body and blood.

That would be great alternative. However, we must realize that often there is a great attachment between the service dog and his master, and parting may be quite difficult. Also, it seems to me that the disabled person must develop a special relationship with a specific parishioner before he would/could separate from the service dog. Finally, even if there is only an emotional attachment between the service dog and the disabled person, forbidding their presence in the church because of a canon is, God forgive me for saying this, pharisaic.
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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2012, 05:32:31 PM »

Can someone explain why a service dog must be present for the disabled person while they are in church? Is is not our job as their fellow Christians to minister to them better then a dog would minister to them? We are horrible Christians if we can not take our brother's or sister's hand and lead them to the icons to kiss, or the chalice to receive the body and blood.

That would be great alternative. However, we must realize that often there is a great attachment between the service dog and his master, and parting may be quite difficult. Also, it seems to me that the disabled person must develop a special relationship with a specific parishioner before he would/could separate from the service dog. Finally, even if there is only an emotional attachment between the service dog and the disabled person, forbidding their presence in the church because of a canon is, God forgive me for saying this, pharisaic.


You know on the flip side of what i said before, there are also service dogs that are just companions. I worked at a apt comlex and the older man had a huge wolf looking dog living in a no pets apt comlex. we had to explain to them that its a service dog. we later found out its an companion serv dog helping an unstable or depressed person live life. it performed not regular tasks other then giving love and companionship to the man.

there are also other typs of service dogs that you would not see them doing anything out of the ordinary. for example, some are there to alert the person and family members that the person is abt to have an epilptic fit and the dog then lyes on the the person keeping him from hurting himself during the episode.

so withthe bove in mind it makes it more problematic to say that you cant bring the dog into church???

FYI: did you know that you can bring your cattle into the curch with no problem.........during war time/invasion?

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« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2012, 05:36:15 PM »

What's ridiculous is that your friend would need a service dog in church- the parishoners are supposed to be brothers and sisters and, ergo, help one another.

But it's understandable as to why a dog, even a service-dog, would not be allowed in church; cynophobia, allergies, etc...
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2012, 05:58:44 PM »

If a parish is going to forbid service dogs to help the disabled/visually impaired, maybe they should publicize this fact so the users of service animals don't get surprised when they arrive? That would be fair. In my hometown there's a section where churches can list  special announcements for free .
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2012, 06:09:02 PM »

Neither are horses for the duration of a day at a time or so, so get a service pony.

Serious question, wouldn't they 'go' during that time?
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« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2012, 06:11:48 PM »

My home parish had a blind parishioner who brought her dog to liturgy every week...it never bothered anyone, and immediately went to sleep under her section of the pew upon arrival.  She often was helped up to receive Holy Communion by a friend, and often her dog remained invisible for the entirety of the service.  

I agree with the "there are exceptions to the canons for the good of each individual Christian" camp on this one.....unless it negatively affects another, or disturbs the service in any way, it shouldn't be a problem.
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« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 07:42:01 PM »

I would double check how legal it is for a Church to forbid a service dog.  You and/or your friend may want to conslut with an attorney.  If you cannot afford one, check the statutes and administrative rules of your state.
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« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2012, 08:07:21 PM »


Oh come on!  An attorney?  Really?

We are encouraging someone to take a church to court?

Perhaps this person was a bit stubborn?Huh  Perhaps they could have left the dog in a classroom, or the church hall, and their friend could have "led" them in to the church?

In a church filled with people, there had to be someone willing to extend an elbow to assist them.

Before looking for an attorney, how about contacting this eparchy's bishop, and see what he says.  Perhaps he would allow it, or perhaps he could better explain why it's not permitted and suggest another way for this person to attend Liturgy without their dog in tow.

Getting the "law" involved in church affairs simply doesn't sit well with me.  That should be a last resort, only if the hierarchs have for some reason failed to follow through, and if a criminal act had taken place.

....and if this person is ready to "leave" Orthodoxy simply because their dog was not allowed to enter the church, then they never really knew Orthodoxy. 

How can you turn your back on Christ because your pet wasn't allowed to join you in church.  Really?

What happened to loving God more than anything else? 

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37

I can only assume that he that loveth dog more than God is also not worthy of Him.



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« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2012, 08:14:11 PM »

I would double check how legal it is for a Church to forbid a service dog.  You and/or your friend may want to conslut with an attorney.  If you cannot afford one, check the statutes and administrative rules of your state.

You'll lose.  The Priest and parishoners will prove that they provided ample accomodations for him/her as well as sound reasoning for their decision.  Providing, of course, one could find an attorney dumb enough to take the case.  Wait, ok, one will find plenty of dumb attorney's.  Still, you'll lose.  Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2012, 08:20:51 PM »

I'd like to hear a bit more about the circumstances. Why does this woman require a service dog? If this had always been the woman's church (OP says "banned from her church"), then what changed? Was the woman perfectly able one Sunday, and the next came marching in with a service dog? I don't think we've got the whole story here.
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2012, 10:36:36 PM »


Oh come on!  An attorney?  Really?

We are encouraging someone to take a church to court?

Perhaps this person was a bit stubborn?Huh  Perhaps they could have left the dog in a classroom, or the church hall, and their friend could have "led" them in to the church?

This.

It's unfortunate that the situation wasn't handled better (unless it was handled better than we've been led to believe), but this all seems a bit much.  And that's coming from a dog person. 

Banned from the Church?  The person wasn't actually banned.  We may or may not disagree with the priest's reported decision, but without better information, I think we should calm down and not try to lend our advice or feed the litigious monster against our Church.

No offense to the OP (I don't mean to imply that you are misleading us or passing along bad information), but people shouldn't get so worked up over internet hearsay.
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« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2012, 11:52:45 PM »

I didn't say, "litigate."  I said, "Check with an attorney."  I know attorneys have a bad reputation for wanting to litigate everything, but there are plenty of good ones who will advise a client without wanting to rush to court.  An attorney can advise a client if he/she has any legal rights.  If the Church has the right to refuse a service animal, an attorney, even a "dumb attorney," can try to negotiate an accommodation for this person.
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2012, 12:08:35 AM »

I didn't say, "litigate."  I said, "Check with an attorney."  I know attorneys have a bad reputation for wanting to litigate everything, but there are plenty of good ones who will advise a client without wanting to rush to court.  An attorney can advise a client if he/she has any legal rights.  If the Church has the right to refuse a service animal, an attorney, even a "dumb attorney," can try to negotiate an accommodation for this person.

Point taken, Gamliel.  I still think it's better to sort the issue within the parish or with the bishop though.
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« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2012, 02:21:55 AM »

A friend from another forum (who is also Orthodox) was recently banned from her church because the priest refused to let her attend with her service dog.  Legally, churches are the only places of business that CAN prevent people from entering with their service dogs, but I'm shocked that they WOULD.  (Pets, I understand, but service dogs are not pets.)  Is this Orthodox-wide practice?  She is considering leaving Orthodoxy entirely over this, which saddens me greatly.
She can join my synagogue. We have one member who uses a service dog and two families that raise and train them. They bring the dogs to services all the time and there is never a problem. These animals work harder than some people I know.

Would that be allowed in an Orthodox synagogue?
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« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2012, 02:36:12 AM »

From what I know it is really not that widespread. My Priest specifically said to the congregation before that service dogs are the only animals allowed in the Church, the reason being that there were a couple people who were bringing their toy-sized dogs to Church. Likewise, I still see people's normal pets that are not even service dogs roaming around the Church offices after Liturgy.

EDIT: Doesn't the local Bishop decide when and where Canon laws apply and can overrule certain Canons for his flock if he deems it fit? In theory, can't her Bishop overrule this Canon? I think that mine did, which is why service dogs are allowed.
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« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2012, 12:24:35 PM »

I know one Polish Orthodox bishop who is against animals' presence not only in church (as it has to be reconsecrated), but also in priest's home, if he lives in a rectory. This bishop claims that it can be dangerous for the purity of liturgical objects and liturgical actions of the priest, as animals have own physiology. However, he stressed that it is his personal view on the issue.

I think that with service dogs is a bit different situation. It stills to be an animal, but it's helper for the people who needs it. I agree with arimethea, that the best option would be to leave the dog for the time of Liturgy in a room/building close to the church.
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« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2012, 12:43:17 PM »

A friend from another forum (who is also Orthodox) was recently banned from her church because the priest refused to let her attend with her service dog.  Legally, churches are the only places of business that CAN prevent people from entering with their service dogs, but I'm shocked that they WOULD.  (Pets, I understand, but service dogs are not pets.)  Is this Orthodox-wide practice?  She is considering leaving Orthodoxy entirely over this, which saddens me greatly.
She can join my synagogue. We have one member who uses a service dog and two families that raise and train them. They bring the dogs to services all the time and there is never a problem. These animals work harder than some people I know.

Would that be allowed in an Orthodox synagogue?
I dunno. I have a friend who belongs to an Orthodox shul I'll ask him.
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« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2012, 07:17:48 PM »

Can someone explain why a service dog must be present for the disabled person while they are in church? Is is not our job as their fellow Christians to minister to them better then a dog would minister to them? We are horrible Christians if we can not take our brother's or sister's hand and lead them to the icons to kiss, or the chalice to receive the body and blood.

Can you detect blood sugar levels, if a seizure or a stroke is near?  Can you calm an autisitic child?  Service dogs do these besides guding the blind. It is not for anyone else to decide they can serve the person better than their dog, which in many cases they can't even perform the function.   
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« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2012, 07:26:51 PM »

How can you turn your back on Christ because your pet wasn't allowed to join you in church.  Really?

A service dog is not a pet, legally.  It is no different than a wheelchair or a crutch or an oxygen mask.  Do you think Christ would turn disabled people and their service dogs away, really?  If you do I think perhaps you don't know Christ as well you would like to think.
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« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2012, 07:44:18 PM »

And really to all of you who think it is acceptable to refuse admission to the service dog, Do you think an outdated canon with no meaning for today should carry force while we ignore others?  Do you think Our Lord who deigned to be born in a stable and layed in a manager objects to a servie dog? 
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« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2012, 07:48:16 PM »

How can you turn your back on Christ because your pet wasn't allowed to join you in church.  Really?

A service dog is not a pet, legally.  It is no different than a wheelchair or a crutch or an oxygen mask.  Do you think Christ would turn disabled people and their service dogs away, really?  If you do I think perhaps you don't know Christ as well you would like to think.

I suggested that they speak to the priest and bishop, who may allow a service dog.

However, taking the church to court over it is overstepping.  This was not a service dog who senses seizures, low glucose, etc...but, a seeing-eye dog.  That person could have easily been led in to the church without that dog in tow.

Would Christ reject the dog...no.  Afterall, God made all creatures. 

...and perhaps I do not know Christ as well as you seem to think you do.

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« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2012, 08:06:07 PM »

And really to all of you who think it is acceptable to refuse admission to the service dog, Do you think an outdated canon with no meaning for today should carry force while we ignore others?  Do you think Our Lord who deigned to be born in a stable and layed in a manager objects to a servie dog? 

I never considered the canon; I just don't think animals belong in church which, btw, aint' the same thing as a manger.  However, it ain't up to me but the priest and bishop.

Plus, to those who want to visit an attorney, consider the consequences if you won:  It'll make it that much easier for homosexuals to win similar lawsuits.  Think it through people.  Think it through. 
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« Reply #41 on: August 31, 2012, 08:29:49 PM »

If Christ did not want you to bring service animals in Church then He would have temporarily healed you of your ailment upon entering the Church so that you would not need them.
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« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2012, 08:38:05 PM »

This was not a service dog who senses seizures, low glucose, etc...but, a seeing-eye dog.  That person could have easily been led in to the church without that dog in tow.

Not for you to decide.  Another point seemingly lost on many here.
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« Reply #43 on: August 31, 2012, 09:03:10 PM »

This was not a service dog who senses seizures, low glucose, etc...but, a seeing-eye dog.  That person could have easily been led in to the church without that dog in tow.

Not for you to decide.

Same goes for you. 
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« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2012, 10:01:59 PM »

This was not a service dog who senses seizures, low glucose, etc...but, a seeing-eye dog.  That person could have easily been led in to the church without that dog in tow.

Not for you to decide.

Same goes for you. 

No it doesn't as I am not the one telling disabled persons what accomodation they should find acceptable.
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