January 2, 2016- The NYT has an essay about the abuse of divisibility laws by normal people who claim that their dogs are “therapy dogs”.
“These days half the people I know, myself included, are sneaking their dogs everywhere. We sneak them into restaurants, too, often by providing questionable letters from therapists or Internet outfits saying the animals offer us emotional support for anxiety disorders. And we keep getting away with it because laws are just unclear enough to intimidate anyone who questions a disability. Never mind that misrepresenting our pets as service animals (when, like mine, they don’t always behave like them) makes life more difficult for those who really need them.
“Is that a service animal?”
I heard a hostess ask a very healthy-looking young couple the other night as they entered a TriBeCa pub with a big black dog. They pulled out a letter, showed it, got the O.K. and proceeded to walk the dog through the restaurant as if they were on a sidewalk.
I marveled at the nerve, although I myself have a letter from a psychologist that says I have a panic disorder and suffer from fear of crowds, and that my dog allays my symptoms.
Making matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view), United Airlines recently placed “comfort dogs” in seven airports “to help take some of the stress out of holiday travel for our customers.” (Another way to do that would be to stop charging $150 each way to have a small dog in a carrier bag under the seat.)
After a recent premiere of his short film celebrating the new “open pet policy” at the W Hotel Times Square, Alan Cumming told The New York Post he can now sit at the bar with his dog.
And this year, guests at the Standard no longer have to be sneaks to avoid a pet fee. An article on the hotel’s website featuring Anjelica Huston posing on a bed with several dogs announces that two per guest are welcome free. Children, on the other hand, are (without irony) prohibited. “They don’t ask questions,” Ms. Huston says of dogs in her interview. “They just understand the answers.”
In other news, Amtrak, after a decades-long pets ban, has started allowing small cats and dogs on trains. Representative Jeff Denham, a California Republican, set things in motion when he realized he couldn’t ride with his French bulldog, Lily. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the passenger experience,” an Amtrak spokesperson told The Washington Post.”