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My emotional support hamster.

Cute little thing isn’t he?  I need this furry friend to help with my day and accompany me wherever I go.  That includes shopping in the commissary. Federal law allows support animals to accompany me so don’t try to stop me and Little Hammie from coming in the store.

Not so fast…

Under the Americans for Disability Act, Service Animals are defined as animals that are trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The definition of a person with disabilities has been extended to include people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the term Service Animal includes animals that provide support and security to individuals suffering from PTSD. Additionally, service animals are not limited to dogs.  Service animals must be allowed in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. Finally, service animals may not be removed from the premises unless it is out of control and the owner does not take effective action to control it.

So I’m good?

As a result of this act, there is only question we may ask of a customer who brings an animal into the commissary: is the animal is a service animal? If the patron indicates that it is, we are not allowed to pursue the discussion. We cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card/vest, or training documentation for the animal or ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

So Little Hammie can come in the commissary?

Please don’t bring in “comfort animals” under the guise of service animals.  Comfort animals are not service animals.  We have a responsibility to keep the commissary clean and sanitized and it makes it extremely hard when you bring in rodents or tropical fowl because they make you feel good. We rely on you to leave Little Hammie in the cage at home and not make the other patrons uncomfortable.

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