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Guide Dog Users, Inc. Appreciates Delta Airlines’ Withdrawing Burdensome Regulations for Guide Dog Handlers

February 22, 2018

For additional information, contact

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

866.799.8436

https://www.guidedogusersinc.org

Guide Dog Users, Inc., (GDUI) wishes to express our appreciation to Delta Airlines for withdrawing burdensome regulations for guide and service animal handlers which were expected to go into effect on March 1. We thank guide and service dog users all over the country, as well as disability rights organizations whose effective advocacy reminded Delta that our long record of flying safely with well-behaved dogs, as well as reliably excellent training for guide and service animals and their disabled partners make it extremely unlikely for guide or service dogs to present a safety risk to others who are flying inside plane cabins.

Noting that Delta’s long record of involving people with disabilities in arriving at policies  that affect their comfort and safety is something that the airline can be proud of, GDUI is gratified to know that Delta is still listening to their blind customers.

Delta’s enhanced regulations will now require that disabled people who partner with guide and service dogs only show evidence that their dogs have up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Many dogs already confirm up-to-date rabies vaccinations via state-required tags that attach to the dogs’ collars, and Delta will not require guide and service dog users to submit additional health records for their dogs in advance of flying or at airports before boarding Delta planes. We are hopeful that other airlines will adopt similar regulations, which require certification of adequate behavioral training and up-to-date vaccinations for emotional support and other animals that accompany their owners on planes, but which exempt guide and service dog owners from submitting similar documentation, either online or before boarding flights.

GDUI is grateful to our members, as well as other disability rights organizations, whose effective advocacy has protected our civil rights under the Air Carrier Access Act to travel independently with our guide dogs without the imposition of superfluous burdensome requirements. This recent experience demonstrates once again that the people who count on the civil rights protections which are guaranteed under laws like the Air Carrier Access Act are the most effective advocates for protecting those rights, and that when those rights are threatened, inadvertently or not, it is imperative for us to speak up for ourselves, our independence, and our civil liberties.

Guide Dog Users Inc., (GDUI), is the leading membership-driven organization of guide dog handlers in the world. Members, most of whom are blind or visually impaired, rely on guide dogs for independence and safety. GDUI strives to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life for working guide dog teams. Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge of its members, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to guide dog users. In addition, GDUI works with public entities, private businesses and individuals to ensure that guide dog users enjoy the same rights to travel, employment, housing, and participation in all aspects of daily life that people without disabilities take for granted. The collective knowledge and experience of GDUI’s members drives constructive dialogue, breaking down barriers, and opening doors for men and women who live and work proudly and independently partnered with well-trained guide dogs. GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB).

Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Listen to the latest “Blind Side” podcast

To hear Jonathan Mosen and Penny Reeder discussing Delta Airlines’ new rules concerning guide and service and emotional support animals onboard Delta planes and GDUI’s reaction. I always enjoy any conversation with Jonathan, who has been a friend for a long time, and last night’s discussion was no exception. Thank you, Jonathan, for inviting me to represent GDUI and for your thoughtful questions and commentary.

Here’s the link:

https://theblindsidepodcast.podbean.com/e/the-blind-side-podcast-70-deltas-new-animal-policy-a-threat-to-guide-dog-handlers-freedom-of-movement/

And, remember, if you missed the discussion of these issues at our board meeting on January 20, you can access the recording here:

 Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d74y74oo7p1jdaa/Recording%20of%20the%20January%202  0%2C%202018%20GDUI%20Board%20Meeting.mp3?dl=0

 Send Space: https://www.sendspace.com/file/n6v8go

 Play back telephone number:

1-712-432-1085, Access Code 919245-Pound.

To read GDUI’s statement regarding this important issue, go here:

https://guidedogusersinc.org/delta-airlines-released-information-regarding-revised-policies-concerning-service-emotional-support-animals-fly-companions-inside-cabins-delta-planes/

We encourage you to share this information with other guide dog users and to leave comments for the U. S. Department of Transportation who implements and monitors regulations for the Air Carrier Access Act, here: https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

Thank you for your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:President@GuideDogUsersInc.org

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.

mailto:vp1@GuideDogUsersInc.org

GDUI Website: https://www.guidedogusersinc.org/

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A recording of each GDUI announcement is available here: 712.432.1281. Enter the Access Code 488062 followed by the number sign. When prompted, enter the Reference Code, No. 1. The recording will remain available until it is replaced by a recording of the next GDUI Announcement. Please share this information with friends who may not have access to the internet. Thank you. We look forward to sharing information with all of our GDUI members and friends.

dog sitting with airplane in the background and immediately below the caption reads "Delta Airlines' New Policy

Guide Dog Users, Inc. finds Delta Airlines’ New Policy Regarding Service and Emotional Support Animals Particularly Burdensome for Guide Dog Users and Unlikely to Solve Problems Associated with Out-of-Control and Misbehaving animals on Planes

On Friday, January 19, Delta Airlines released information regarding revised policies concerning service and emotional support animals that fly with their companions inside the cabins of Delta planes. These new requirements are expected to go into effect on March 1. Delta explained that the new policies have been developed to assure safety for all of their passengers and on-board crew members. Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI) wishes to respond to the policy changes announced by Delta.

Delta Airlines’ New Policy: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/disabilities/assistance_animals.aspx

First, our members, who depend on our guide dogs for safe, independent travel, certainly agree with Delta’s goals of assuring safety for all passengers. Like every other airline passenger, we care about safety, for ourselves — and for our guide dogs as well — – and we, too, have encountered an increasing prevalence of misbehaving and uncontrolled animals (often fraudulently identified as “emotional support animals” or “comfort animals” by their owners in airports and on planes. These experiences have frequently been unpleasant, and sometimes have even compromised our safety and that of our guide dogs. We, too, believe it is our right to expect the planes on which we fly to be safe, non-threatening environments…(READ MORE)

About Us

Guide Dog Users Inc., (GDUI), is the leading consumer-driven organization of guide dog handlers in the world. GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and is a founding member of the Coalition of Assistance Dog Organizations (CADO).

 We strive to promote civil rights and enhance the quality of life for working guide dog teams. Drawing on the experiences and varied knowledge of its members, GDUI provides peer support, advocacy and information to guide dog users everywhere. In addition, GDUI works with public entities, private businesses and individuals to ensure that guide dog users enjoy the same rights to travel, employment, housing, and participation in all aspects of life that people without disabilities enjoy.

 The collective knowledge and experience of GDUI’s members drives constructive dialogue breaking down barriers of ignorance, opening doors for those of us men and women who live and work proudly and independently partnered with a well-trained guide dog.

 The information and helpful resources shared here on GuideDogUsersInc.org are provided as a service to all who are interested in the guide dog and handler partnership. We invite you to explore our website and to become a part of GDUI!

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Special Announcement

Guide Dog Users, Inc. offers the Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) to working guide dog teams that are recovering after a catastrophic event (e.g. hurricanes, floods, fire, etc.).  If you are in need of assistance, learn more about the DAPP program.

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