AAFA Addresses Amtrak's New "Pets on Trains" Policy

 

Notice any small cats and dogs riding the rails on Amtrak recently?

One of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Facebook fans did. The person told us about a recent policy change, writing:

This obviously poses a huge health risk to children and adults with pet allergies, some of which may be severe or even life-threatening. Amtrak isn't even reserving a single car to be designated as pet-free, not even the quiet car. Would the AAFA be willing to send a letter to Amtrak illustrating how dangerous this policy is? All Amtrak needs to do is designate one or two coach cars as pet-free.

AAFA investigated. We found that the railroad recently introduced a test program called “Pets on Trains.”

Passengers are able to take one cat or one small dog in a carrier with them on the train, on certain lines. The railroad is hoping the change attracts more passengers and more revenue.

In response, Dr. Cary Sennett, AAFA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, wrote Amtrak. He asked the national railroad to consider pet-free cars, noting:

  • Allowing pets in coach cars will expose everyone to pet dander. That will happen even when the pet is riding in an enclosed carrier.
  • Dander can become airborne and remain when the pet has left. For some people, airborne allergens may trigger a severe allergic reaction or an asthma attack.
  • Amtrak is often considered a safer alternative to flying for travelers with allergies.

Amtrak recently responded, saying it does not think a pet-free car is necessary. It added:

  • Pets are limited to five per train.
  • Crews will keep passengers with health concerns away from pets. That is the current policy with service dogs, which Amtrak has always allowed.
  • It will give AAFA's concerns on behalf of its asthma and allergy community "serious consideration going forward."
  • Evaluation of the program continues.

In the meantime, AAFA advises passengers to know the details of the pet policy so they can plan ahead.

AAFA understands the unique challenges that people with asthma and allergies face. Travel often requires accommodations to keep those with asthma and allergies healthy. 

It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive timely news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for peer support.


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MG posted:
LAC posted:
MG posted:
Saphiregirl posted:

Since a pitbull attacked a child in an airport recently in my state, and the airline said the person presented a letter that was not verified as their proof of the animal being a "service animal", I am terrified of these dogs.  I encountered a pitbull in a grocery store several months ago, and the owner knew he was not supposed to have the dog in the store.  However, since there was no checker or security around,  he took advantage of the opportunity to let his pitbull accompany him on his shopping expedition.  To say that these stores, hotels and other avenues have their hands tied is ridiculous.  This dog was clearly not a service dog, and the owner knew it.  In the case of the pitbull and the child, the parent is suing for a million dollars to fix her daughter's now severely deformed face.  I think that these service animals should have a standardized system of authorization in every state and there should be a card and license issued for each dog, so that they can be tracked and monitored.  No one should be allowed to have a pet in these public spaces unless their dog has been licensed as a service dog and their owners must present evidence of this.  Otherwise, these pets do not belong in these public places where allergens and germs can affect the safety of the public, not to mention vicious dogs and dangerous breeds such as pitbulls.  Otherwise, all of these breeds should be banned permanently from any public space like an airport where there are children.  Anyone can print up a letter and say it is from their vet.  Anyone can say their dog is a service dog.  There is no standard license and no asking for proof that is a license showing these pets have actually been trained as service pets.  I am sick of my health and safety as well as the safety of other children and adults being bypassed to pacify whoever made these laws allowing this.  I have allergies and asthma, and a fear of dogs that attack people.  Why should I and others have to be exposed to this?

I share your frustration. I have been asking the federal government to strengthening the ADA so that there is some oversight. When it was enacted years ago, there were fewer conditions which used service dogs. The number of conditions covered has grown dramatically and the abuse of the law has spiraled out of control. There is no scientific evidence that some of these conditions are helped by service dogs, and there is no regulation of organizations which claim to train service dogs to work with those medical conditions.  And the double standard is that animal allergies are disabilities under the law but government officials don't want to accommodate people with animal allergies because they don't want to place any restrictions whatsoever on people with service animals. Until there are changes to the ADA to help those with animal allergies, the state governments and businesses will say their hands are tied. I am looking for support from anyone who wants to make Congress hear our voices.

The problem is that AAFA is not aggressively fighting this problem of pet dogs and emotional support pets in public buildings without let up. They need to make this a prominent focal point of allergy and asthma prevention. This is perhaps the primary health risk to people with dander-sensitive asthma and allergies, yet it is virtually ignored publicly by AAFA and other so-called health support programs!

I agree that there needs to be more emphasis on animal allergies. I have asked the president of the AAFA, Kenny Mendez, for more aid in battling the onslaught of animals in public places. I have been told by the AAFA that they have limited resources, and food allergies have taken precedence. I am concerned now that service dogs are being trained to detect food allergens, basically pitting one allergy group against another. If others on this board speak directly to the president of the AAFA requesting help in dealing with their situations, we can hopefully raise more awareness and get action taken, sooner rather than later. Please join me in pushing for changes in AAFA policy.

 


I spoke with a representative at AAFA in December 2018. Although she said that AAFA has brought the perspectives of people with dander-sensitive disabilities to the Department of Transportation (DOT) (because the airline industry doesn't have to honor our ADA rights), AAFA does not, from what I can locate, seem to be doing any serious, aggressive public campaigns on our behalf. You are correct that AAFA seems to be primarily focused on food allergies; they also hide behind arbitrary "air quality" campaigns at a time in history when few (if any) public buildings tolerate cigarette smoking. Dander is now the primary danger in smoke-free buildings. I believe that AAFA's focus is largely political: Criticizing peanuts or poor air filters doesn't get too many people triggered into a fit of hostile venom, but dog owners fly into entitled toddler tantrums of hostility, threats and swearing if they think they might not be able to bring "Fi-Fi" or "Fido" along on their grocery, Walmart or Target run anymore.

I agree that a unified group of us need to approach AAFA's leadership, maybe in a conference call, maybe in a formal letter or maybe somehow on this public forum. When a few unconnected individuals contact AAFA alone, AAFA seems to just be brushing us off, promising to "reach out" if they "need perspectives" of people with asthma and allergies, but of course they never contact those of us who will be vocal and articulate about what it is like to constantly have to abandon our shopping carts in stores or have asthma emergencies or nearly die due to the worsening and out of control dander in public buildings issue.

LAC posted:
MG posted:
Saphiregirl posted:

Since a pitbull attacked a child in an airport recently in my state, and the airline said the person presented a letter that was not verified as their proof of the animal being a "service animal", I am terrified of these dogs.  I encountered a pitbull in a grocery store several months ago, and the owner knew he was not supposed to have the dog in the store.  However, since there was no checker or security around,  he took advantage of the opportunity to let his pitbull accompany him on his shopping expedition.  To say that these stores, hotels and other avenues have their hands tied is ridiculous.  This dog was clearly not a service dog, and the owner knew it.  In the case of the pitbull and the child, the parent is suing for a million dollars to fix her daughter's now severely deformed face.  I think that these service animals should have a standardized system of authorization in every state and there should be a card and license issued for each dog, so that they can be tracked and monitored.  No one should be allowed to have a pet in these public spaces unless their dog has been licensed as a service dog and their owners must present evidence of this.  Otherwise, these pets do not belong in these public places where allergens and germs can affect the safety of the public, not to mention vicious dogs and dangerous breeds such as pitbulls.  Otherwise, all of these breeds should be banned permanently from any public space like an airport where there are children.  Anyone can print up a letter and say it is from their vet.  Anyone can say their dog is a service dog.  There is no standard license and no asking for proof that is a license showing these pets have actually been trained as service pets.  I am sick of my health and safety as well as the safety of other children and adults being bypassed to pacify whoever made these laws allowing this.  I have allergies and asthma, and a fear of dogs that attack people.  Why should I and others have to be exposed to this?

I share your frustration. I have been asking the federal government to strengthening the ADA so that there is some oversight. When it was enacted years ago, there were fewer conditions which used service dogs. The number of conditions covered has grown dramatically and the abuse of the law has spiraled out of control. There is no scientific evidence that some of these conditions are helped by service dogs, and there is no regulation of organizations which claim to train service dogs to work with those medical conditions.  And the double standard is that animal allergies are disabilities under the law but government officials don't want to accommodate people with animal allergies because they don't want to place any restrictions whatsoever on people with service animals. Until there are changes to the ADA to help those with animal allergies, the state governments and businesses will say their hands are tied. I am looking for support from anyone who wants to make Congress hear our voices.

The problem is that AAFA is not aggressively fighting this problem of pet dogs and emotional support pets in public buildings without let up. They need to make this a prominent focal point of allergy and asthma prevention. This is perhaps the primary health risk to people with dander-sensitive asthma and allergies, yet it is virtually ignored publicly by AAFA and other so-called health support programs!

I agree that there needs to be more emphasis on animal allergies. I have asked the president of the AAFA, Kenny Mendez, for more aid in battling the onslaught of animals in public places. I have been told by the AAFA that they have limited resources, and food allergies have taken precedence. I am concerned now that service dogs are being trained to detect food allergens, basically pitting one allergy group against another. If others on this board speak directly to the president of the AAFA requesting help in dealing with their situations, we can hopefully raise more awareness and get action taken, sooner rather than later. Please join me in pushing for changes in AAFA policy.

 

MG posted:
Saphiregirl posted:

Since a pitbull attacked a child in an airport recently in my state, and the airline said the person presented a letter that was not verified as their proof of the animal being a "service animal", I am terrified of these dogs.  I encountered a pitbull in a grocery store several months ago, and the owner knew he was not supposed to have the dog in the store.  However, since there was no checker or security around,  he took advantage of the opportunity to let his pitbull accompany him on his shopping expedition.  To say that these stores, hotels and other avenues have their hands tied is ridiculous.  This dog was clearly not a service dog, and the owner knew it.  In the case of the pitbull and the child, the parent is suing for a million dollars to fix her daughter's now severely deformed face.  I think that these service animals should have a standardized system of authorization in every state and there should be a card and license issued for each dog, so that they can be tracked and monitored.  No one should be allowed to have a pet in these public spaces unless their dog has been licensed as a service dog and their owners must present evidence of this.  Otherwise, these pets do not belong in these public places where allergens and germs can affect the safety of the public, not to mention vicious dogs and dangerous breeds such as pitbulls.  Otherwise, all of these breeds should be banned permanently from any public space like an airport where there are children.  Anyone can print up a letter and say it is from their vet.  Anyone can say their dog is a service dog.  There is no standard license and no asking for proof that is a license showing these pets have actually been trained as service pets.  I am sick of my health and safety as well as the safety of other children and adults being bypassed to pacify whoever made these laws allowing this.  I have allergies and asthma, and a fear of dogs that attack people.  Why should I and others have to be exposed to this?

I share your frustration. I have been asking the federal government to strengthening the ADA so that there is some oversight. When it was enacted years ago, there were fewer conditions which used service dogs. The number of conditions covered has grown dramatically and the abuse of the law has spiraled out of control. There is no scientific evidence that some of these conditions are helped by service dogs, and there is no regulation of organizations which claim to train service dogs to work with those medical conditions.  And the double standard is that animal allergies are disabilities under the law but government officials don't want to accommodate people with animal allergies because they don't want to place any restrictions whatsoever on people with service animals. Until there are changes to the ADA to help those with animal allergies, the state governments and businesses will say their hands are tied. I am looking for support from anyone who wants to make Congress hear our voices.

The problem is that AAFA is not aggressively fighting this problem of pet dogs and emotional support pets in public buildings without let up. They need to make this a prominent focal point of allergy and asthma prevention. This is perhaps the primary health risk to people with dander-sensitive asthma and allergies, yet it is virtually ignored publicly by AAFA and other so-called health support programs!

Saphiregirl posted:

Since a pitbull attacked a child in an airport recently in my state, and the airline said the person presented a letter that was not verified as their proof of the animal being a "service animal", I am terrified of these dogs.  I encountered a pitbull in a grocery store several months ago, and the owner knew he was not supposed to have the dog in the store.  However, since there was no checker or security around,  he took advantage of the opportunity to let his pitbull accompany him on his shopping expedition.  To say that these stores, hotels and other avenues have their hands tied is ridiculous.  This dog was clearly not a service dog, and the owner knew it.  In the case of the pitbull and the child, the parent is suing for a million dollars to fix her daughter's now severely deformed face.  I think that these service animals should have a standardized system of authorization in every state and there should be a card and license issued for each dog, so that they can be tracked and monitored.  No one should be allowed to have a pet in these public spaces unless their dog has been licensed as a service dog and their owners must present evidence of this.  Otherwise, these pets do not belong in these public places where allergens and germs can affect the safety of the public, not to mention vicious dogs and dangerous breeds such as pitbulls.  Otherwise, all of these breeds should be banned permanently from any public space like an airport where there are children.  Anyone can print up a letter and say it is from their vet.  Anyone can say their dog is a service dog.  There is no standard license and no asking for proof that is a license showing these pets have actually been trained as service pets.  I am sick of my health and safety as well as the safety of other children and adults being bypassed to pacify whoever made these laws allowing this.  I have allergies and asthma, and a fear of dogs that attack people.  Why should I and others have to be exposed to this?

I share your frustration. I have been asking the federal government to strengthening the ADA so that there is some oversight. When it was enacted years ago, there were fewer conditions which used service dogs. The number of conditions covered has grown dramatically and the abuse of the law has spiraled out of control. There is no scientific evidence that some of these conditions are helped by service dogs, and there is no regulation of organizations which claim to train service dogs to work with those medical conditions.  And the double standard is that animal allergies are disabilities under the law but government officials don't want to accommodate people with animal allergies because they don't want to place any restrictions whatsoever on people with service animals. Until there are changes to the ADA to help those with animal allergies, the state governments and businesses will say their hands are tied. I am looking for support from anyone who wants to make Congress hear our voices.

Since a pitbull attacked a child in an airport recently in my state, and the airline said the person presented a letter that was not verified as their proof of the animal being a "service animal", I am terrified of these dogs.  I encountered a pitbull in a grocery store several months ago, and the owner knew he was not supposed to have the dog in the store.  However, since there was no checker or security around,  he took advantage of the opportunity to let his pitbull accompany him on his shopping expedition.  To say that these stores, hotels and other avenues have their hands tied is ridiculous.  This dog was clearly not a service dog, and the owner knew it.  In the case of the pitbull and the child, the parent is suing for a million dollars to fix her daughter's now severely deformed face.  I think that these service animals should have a standardized system of authorization in every state and there should be a card and license issued for each dog, so that they can be tracked and monitored.  No one should be allowed to have a pet in these public spaces unless their dog has been licensed as a service dog and their owners must present evidence of this.  Otherwise, these pets do not belong in these public places where allergens and germs can affect the safety of the public, not to mention vicious dogs and dangerous breeds such as pitbulls.  Otherwise, all of these breeds should be banned permanently from any public space like an airport where there are children.  Anyone can print up a letter and say it is from their vet.  Anyone can say their dog is a service dog.  There is no standard license and no asking for proof that is a license showing these pets have actually been trained as service pets.  I am sick of my health and safety as well as the safety of other children and adults being bypassed to pacify whoever made these laws allowing this.  I have allergies and asthma, and a fear of dogs that attack people.  Why should I and others have to be exposed to this?

LAC posted:
SheridanCN1 posted:
LAC posted:

I am working in my state to get a bill introduced on behalf of those of us with life-threatening asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis in regards to this ubiquitous problem of fake service pets, "emotional support" dogs and just general entitlement of pet owners bringing pets into nearly every public building and store. Those of us with dander-sensitive disabilities have been suffering in silence, are being pushed out of our communities and have been ignored, treated rudely and unheard while the number of dogs in stores, public buildings, hotels and on public transportation is multiplying to an out of control degree.

Those of us with dander disabilities need to unite and attempt to push for law changes or perhaps class action lawsuits. We should not be forced to leave stores, offices, businesses, buildings and events because dogs are being put ahead of human beings. It should be "People Before Pets"! Store and business owners and managers, building managers/owners, airlines and other public transportation companies are failing to adequately accommodate our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing "emotional support" dogs and other pets into their buildings and vehicles and by claiming to be "dog friendly". This is illegal, but without a lobby or someone to start a class action suit, we have no recourse. What about places that are "human friendly"? Please reply to this if you are interested in being a part of organizing for some brainstorms...

Definitely interested!  There is an enormous amount of misinformation being disseminated about animal dander allergies, and appropriate treatment for asthma and allergies.  There is a lot of work that can and should be done to help people understand the facts and the fair treatment of persons affected by these conditions.    

The bill in my state passed in the House Committee. If it is voted to pass in the House, it will move to the Senate. It is a long process, but you have to begin by contacting your local House of Representatives rep for your area. Explain to him or her why a bill in your state is needed and ask him or her to look at examples of other states who are tightening up on the misrepresentation of pets as "service animals".

My state passed a bill making it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a pet as a service animal. Unfortunately, the law is nearly impossible to enforce since there are so many limitations on what can be asked to prove the animal is a service animal. Most businesses don't know the laws so they don't bother to ask. Many people continue to lie if they are asked because they know they don't have to provide any proof. I have requested to my State representatives that the ADA be strengthened so that people with service animals must provide proof. Some say this can't be done because it would reveal confidential medical information. Yet, people obtain handicapped license plate without revealing their medical conditions to the world. A government-issued service animal registration would cut down on the number of misrepresented service animals. Of course, it won't do much to make stop the growing number of "pet-friendly" businesses. I've also requested that the government put limits on businesses allowing pets without any positive response. I am fighting this on so many levels and getting so much push-back from the government and businesses. I think we need to band together to make our voices heard.  

LAC posted:

I am working in my state to get a bill introduced on behalf of those of us with life-threatening asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis in regards to this ubiquitous problem of fake service pets, "emotional support" dogs and just general entitlement of pet owners bringing pets into nearly every public building and store. Those of us with dander-sensitive disabilities have been suffering in silence, are being pushed out of our communities and have been ignored, treated rudely and unheard while the number of dogs in stores, public buildings, hotels and on public transportation is multiplying to an out of control degree.

Those of us with dander disabilities need to unite and attempt to push for law changes or perhaps class action lawsuits. We should not be forced to leave stores, offices, businesses, buildings and events because dogs are being put ahead of human beings. It should be "People Before Pets"! Store and business owners and managers, building managers/owners, airlines and other public transportation companies are failing to adequately accommodate our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing "emotional support" dogs and other pets into their buildings and vehicles and by claiming to be "dog friendly". This is illegal, but without a lobby or someone to start a class action suit, we have no recourse. What about places that are "human friendly"? Please reply to this if you are interested in being a part of organizing for some brainstorms...

I totally agree with you. The problem is becoming out of control. I have tried reaching out to both the federal and state government to have action taken to revise ADA or put laws into place protecting those with animal allergies. I'm told that the issues aren't "on their agendas". I've been told that I need to make a groundswell to get the government to listen. Any ideas would be welcome. The Department of Justice wasn't very helpful, telling me to take up my issues with my state government. The State tells me they are bound by the ADA. If you are looking for people to start organizing for changes, please contact me.

Ann Barbiero posted:

Since when do pets take precedence over the health of humans? This is discrimination and is illegal.

The Americans with Disabilities Act needs to be revised to address this discriminatory situation. Persons advocating for persons with asthma &/or allergies should call and/or write to:

Civil Rights Division of US Dept of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530 USA, phone: 1-202-514-4609

and give them your story/case (asthma and/or allergy situation). Important to stress in your story/case: Pets inside any confined area is a direct threat to your health by limiting your major life activity of breathing due to forcing you, in these enclosed areas, to inhale dog/pet dander which creates life-threatening respiratory issues for you. This violation of your major life activity of breathing is illegal because it is discriminating against persons with asthma and/or allergies and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act which is to protect people with disabilities. A possible accommodation: provide a separate enclosed area that was not exposed to dog/pet dander for at least a year; dog/pet dander permeates the air for up to and possibly longer than a year after dog/pet has been removed and air has been cleaned. That is why it must be a separate enclosed area where dog/pet dander has not been the past year or so.

Unfortunately, the American Civil Liberties Union will not intervene in this matter with public transportation. The number you provided is a great course of action as is local state action.

SheridanCN1 posted:
LAC posted:

I am working in my state to get a bill introduced on behalf of those of us with life-threatening asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis in regards to this ubiquitous problem of fake service pets, "emotional support" dogs and just general entitlement of pet owners bringing pets into nearly every public building and store. Those of us with dander-sensitive disabilities have been suffering in silence, are being pushed out of our communities and have been ignored, treated rudely and unheard while the number of dogs in stores, public buildings, hotels and on public transportation is multiplying to an out of control degree.

Those of us with dander disabilities need to unite and attempt to push for law changes or perhaps class action lawsuits. We should not be forced to leave stores, offices, businesses, buildings and events because dogs are being put ahead of human beings. It should be "People Before Pets"! Store and business owners and managers, building managers/owners, airlines and other public transportation companies are failing to adequately accommodate our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing "emotional support" dogs and other pets into their buildings and vehicles and by claiming to be "dog friendly". This is illegal, but without a lobby or someone to start a class action suit, we have no recourse. What about places that are "human friendly"? Please reply to this if you are interested in being a part of organizing for some brainstorms...

Definitely interested!  There is an enormous amount of misinformation being disseminated about animal dander allergies, and appropriate treatment for asthma and allergies.  There is a lot of work that can and should be done to help people understand the facts and the fair treatment of persons affected by these conditions.    

The bill in my state passed in the House Committee. If it is voted to pass in the House, it will move to the Senate. It is a long process, but you have to begin by contacting your local House of Representatives rep for your area. Explain to him or her why a bill in your state is needed and ask him or her to look at examples of other states who are tightening up on the misrepresentation of pets as "service animals".

805Native posted:

I contacted Amtrak through their website with an electronic message option in October 2018. I received no reply when I inquired about how they are accommodating passengers with dog/cat allergies and allergy induced asthma. It appears that the travel industry as a whole is putting profits before public health and safety. Also, I don't understand why the travel industry is not subject to make accommodations for a breathing disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I  had an allergic reactions on a flight when I came into direct contact with a person playing with their dog on their lap, the dog's dander was airborne, and by the time we landed, I had a full blown allergy attack. This, even after taking my allergy/asthma medication before I boarded the flight. Upon landing, due to congestion, I had pain in my head, so severe that it felt like my brain was going to explode. So, I haven't traveled by plane from the west coast to the east coast since that flight in 2011. Now, it appears that I will no longer be able to travel by train without fear of being in direct contact with a dog allergen that can cause an allergy and asthma attack. There may  be no relief for people with dog/cat allergies, unless there is legislation put in place to protect our right to breathe.

I haven't been able to fly since 2011. I contacted the ACLU and they declined to take on the issue of pets being allowed on planes and trains without even the ADA standards in place to protect those of us with dander-sensitive asthma and allergies. It is very unjust how profits are being put before life and death health issues.

Welcome, 805Native, and I can understand your frustration. 

The ADA does not regulate air transportation. Instead, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulates flying. Currently, the ACAA regulations have a much broader definition of a “service animal" than the ADA does.

You can read more about this on AAFA's blog post Share Your Stories About Animals on Planes and How They Affect People With Asthma and Allergies.

I contacted Amtrak through their website with an electronic message option in October 2018. I received no reply when I inquired about how they are accommodating passengers with dog/cat allergies and allergy induced asthma. It appears that the travel industry as a whole is putting profits before public health and safety. Also, I don't understand why the travel industry is not subject to make accommodations for a breathing disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I  had an allergic reactions on a flight when I came into direct contact with a person playing with their dog on their lap, the dog's dander was airborne, and by the time we landed, I had a full blown allergy attack. This, even after taking my allergy/asthma medication before I boarded the flight. Upon landing, due to congestion, I had pain in my head, so severe that it felt like my brain was going to explode. So, I haven't traveled by plane from the west coast to the east coast since that flight in 2011. Now, it appears that I will no longer be able to travel by train without fear of being in direct contact with a dog allergen that can cause an allergy and asthma attack. There may  be no relief for people with dog/cat allergies, unless there is legislation put in place to protect our right to breathe.

LAC posted:

I am working in my state to get a bill introduced on behalf of those of us with life-threatening asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis in regards to this ubiquitous problem of fake service pets, "emotional support" dogs and just general entitlement of pet owners bringing pets into nearly every public building and store. Those of us with dander-sensitive disabilities have been suffering in silence, are being pushed out of our communities and have been ignored, treated rudely and unheard while the number of dogs in stores, public buildings, hotels and on public transportation is multiplying to an out of control degree.

Those of us with dander disabilities need to unite and attempt to push for law changes or perhaps class action lawsuits. We should not be forced to leave stores, offices, businesses, buildings and events because dogs are being put ahead of human beings. It should be "People Before Pets"! Store and business owners and managers, building managers/owners, airlines and other public transportation companies are failing to adequately accommodate our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing "emotional support" dogs and other pets into their buildings and vehicles and by claiming to be "dog friendly". This is illegal, but without a lobby or someone to start a class action suit, we have no recourse. What about places that are "human friendly"? Please reply to this if you are interested in being a part of organizing for some brainstorms...

Definitely interested!  There is an enormous amount of misinformation being disseminated about animal dander allergies, and appropriate treatment for asthma and allergies.  There is a lot of work that can and should be done to help people understand the facts and the fair treatment of persons affected by these conditions.    

Melissa G posted:

I am so sorry you have had so many struggles. We have four in our family with asthma and two children with life threatening food allergies. 

I'm really sorry to hear about your family's allergies and asthma, as well. It is so scary, especially with children. We have multiple family members with various allergies and four that have/had life-threatening asthmatic reactions to dander. I am here to try to find other like-minded sufferers to help us mobilize a legal effort to put a stop to this out of control problem of dogs and other animals in public buildings, stores and on public transportation. It seems like the dander issue is inadequately addressed by many of the organizations that advocate for those with allergies and lung issues, but the problem is growing exponentially.

Melissa G posted:

Welcome to AAFA LAC! How long have you been dealing with alleriges/asthma?

Hi, I've had allergies since age three and asthma since age 14, after a severe case of bronchitis. The animal dander reactions became increasingly severe to the point of being life-threatening by age 15. I also have food sensitivities and a food and drug allergy, but it is the dander allergy that poses the greatest threat, as our society is so hostile towards anyone who points out that people need to come before dogs.

I am working in my state to get a bill introduced on behalf of those of us with life-threatening asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis in regards to this ubiquitous problem of fake service pets, "emotional support" dogs and just general entitlement of pet owners bringing pets into nearly every public building and store. Those of us with dander-sensitive disabilities have been suffering in silence, are being pushed out of our communities and have been ignored, treated rudely and unheard while the number of dogs in stores, public buildings, hotels and on public transportation is multiplying to an out of control degree.

Those of us with dander disabilities need to unite and attempt to push for law changes or perhaps class action lawsuits. We should not be forced to leave stores, offices, businesses, buildings and events because dogs are being put ahead of human beings. It should be "People Before Pets"! Store and business owners and managers, building managers/owners, airlines and other public transportation companies are failing to adequately accommodate our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing "emotional support" dogs and other pets into their buildings and vehicles and by claiming to be "dog friendly". This is illegal, but without a lobby or someone to start a class action suit, we have no recourse. What about places that are "human friendly"? Please reply to this if you are interested in being a part of organizing for some brainstorms...

Kathy P - Please feel free to use my comments below.

I am being excluded, which is discriminatory and illegal, by being unable to travel on trains, planes and unable to go to airline terminals, hotels/motels, buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. because I cannot be where dog/pets have been in the past year due to my allergy to dog/pet dander. This is a direct threat to my health by limiting my major life activity of breathing due to forcing me, in these enclosed areas, to inhale such dander which creates life-threatening respiratory issues for me. Dog and pet dander permeates the air similar to smoke and is present even though it is not visible to the naked eye and remains for around a year even after dog/pet has been removed and the air and environment cleaned. Dog/pet dander is breathed into a human's body, attaches externally to human's hair, eyelashes, body hair, skin, clothing, footwear, etc. and requires removal and cleaning of clothing, as well as, hair and entire body showering to remove dander. Ignorance of dog/pet dander is no excuse for discriminating against me and others with asthma and allergies due to dog/pet dander; discrimination is illegal. Please resolve this nationally and internationally.

Ann Barbiero

Since when do pets take precedence over the health of humans? This is discrimination and is illegal.

The Americans with Disabilities Act needs to be revised to address this discriminatory situation. Persons advocating for persons with asthma &/or allergies should call and/or write to:

Civil Rights Division of US Dept of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530 USA, phone: 1-202-514-4609

and give them your story/case (asthma and/or allergy situation). Important to stress in your story/case: Pets inside any confined area is a direct threat to your health by limiting your major life activity of breathing due to forcing you, in these enclosed areas, to inhale dog/pet dander which creates life-threatening respiratory issues for you. This violation of your major life activity of breathing is illegal because it is discriminating against persons with asthma and/or allergies and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act which is to protect people with disabilities. A possible accommodation: provide a separate enclosed area that was not exposed to dog/pet dander for at least a year; dog/pet dander permeates the air for up to and possibly longer than a year after dog/pet has been removed and air has been cleaned. That is why it must be a separate enclosed area where dog/pet dander has not been the past year or so.

I personally have a hard time with people bringing their "service animals" into the grocery store.  What about public health standards for the rest of us? And I agree, that there should be an area on planes, trains and buses for those of us who need a pet free space.  Cat dander, dog fur, dog smells etc. are all an irritant to someone with asthma and allergies.  Even after the pets leave their evidence remains long after.  

Dogs are everywhere now. In restaurants, they are on the patio.  They are in grocery stores, in carts, no less.  Where is the Allergic Asthma Lobby?  There was a Group that got peanuts removed from some airlines.  What about those of us that could go into a massive asthma attack due to dander.  Oh, and I love telling people there are no such thing as hypoallergenic animals.  They don't like hearing that at all.

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