Service Animal or Pet? How to Ferret Out The Truth

Legitimate service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers

Legitimate service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers

Although I generally direct my tips to consumers, I’m going to change things up a bit and reach out to folks in customer service today. Lately there has been a lot of buzz about “fake” service animals, otherwise known as pets. And to be honest, the fakers really do a huge disservice to people who have legitimate service animals. Continue reading

Breaking News — DOJ Extends Deadline for Pool Compliance

Well, the Department of Justice (DOJ) once again surprised me when they announced their decision to extend the compliance date for access to pools and hot tubs in places of public accommodation. While I had hoped that pools would be open for business this summer, that’s the case at all. In fact the DOJ extended the compliance date to January 31, 2013.

Yep, you read that one right. Continue reading

DOJ Flooded with Public Comments

Well in what’s probably the shortest public comment period ever — just two weeks — the Department of Justice (DOJ) has received 1358 comments regarding the pool and spa access regulations. Of course the lodging industry was well represented, with a good number of properties sending in form letters penned by their lobbyists. That comes as no surprise; after all that’s what they pay their lobbyists for.

But here’s the really cool part. Over 55% of those comments were from people with disabilities, their friends, family members, Joe Public and grass roots disability focused organizations. Most of those comments were pretty direct, and some even contained personal stories about what it feels like to be denied access, and telling the DOJ that they just want to swim and enjoy the water like everyone else. This is great, not only because of the volume of the response, but because of the tone. No form letters there! Continue reading

New Consent Agreement Opens Another Door to Mexico

I get a lot of questions about access in Mexico. Truth be told, it’s a large country and it pretty much depends on where you go. I have seen some nice accessible hotel rooms south of the border, but the infrastructure is somewhat lacking, especially in regards to accessible transportation. Still if you can go with a sense of adventure and be willing to accept a little help, Mexico may be doable for you.

But what about getting there? Continue reading