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  1. #1
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    Default Dog days at Epcot...literally?

    I came out of the Living Seas at Epcot and saw an adorable micro dog on a leash outside the attraction. It hit me a minute later...there was a dog at Epcot. I figured the guest got some approval to bring it as an emotional support dog though it appeared as more of a fashion accessory. Didn't think anything more of it until we crossed the bridge by France. There were several people standing around with several large poodles with outfits that looked like leather jackets. The dogs were well behaved, are probably better suited as service dogs, but looked like a group of friends with identical dogs in matching clothes which would argue against the service dog theory.

    So does WDW allow dogs at the theme parks now? (Not talking about obvious service dogs for disabled people) If so, I'm not sure how I feel about this. What if a LOT of patrons bring pets and we are navigating already crowded paths with trip ropes (leashes), inadequately trained dogs making noise in attractions or soiling attractions and paths, or animal fights. Anyone else notice dogs in the world? Any opinions?

    Disclosure: I'm a dog lover and belong to an association that provides annual support for an organization that provides service dogs to vets.
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  3. #2
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    What we noticed was a number of dogs in baby strollers, no baby just the dog.
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  4. #3
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    I haven't heard of pets being allowed in parks and I wouldn't be a fan of it either. My guess is that you probably saw a few people that are manipulating the "emotional support dog" policies to basically take their pet with them and get into places pets aren't allowed. Like everything else, the abuse of the policy will eventually get out of hand and they will have to modify the policy to only allow legitimate service animals for those with legitimate medical needs for a service dog.

  5. #4
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    Emotional Support Animals are only authorized by law on Airplanes. The funny thing is no law requires Airports themselves to allow ESAs.

    Service Animals are different. (Under federal law, it can be a dog or a miniature horse.) The are authorized everywhere.

  6. #5
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    I'd really be interested to know the facts about this. The thing that bugs me about this type of situation is how small dogs are often given a pass. Whether it's on an airplane or in public places, I don't think it's fair that there are different standards for small vs. bigger dogs (yes, I have bigger dogs!)
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  7. #6
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    Maybe the group was service dogs in training? Or perhaps a support group for a disability that organized a group trip to Disney World?
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  8. #7
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    I've seen an influx of dogs in the parks lately. Mostly, they're wearing a service animal vest, but that's not always the case.

    Are emotional support animals supposed to be trained to stay away from strangers and remain calm? I've seen otherwise.
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderelley View Post
    Maybe the group was service dogs in training? Or perhaps a support group for a disability that organized a group trip to Disney World?
    That is a possibility. They were larger poodles and it look like they were wearing Harley Davidson jackets.

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  11. #9
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    The published policy is still to limit animals, in the park, to actual service animals (dogs or miniature horses). Others may still be abusing the “emotional” support animal looseness. Can’t speak to that.


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  12. #10
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    I've seen an increasing number of dogs in all of the parks and, at the resorts as well. I just noticed the increase within the last few days - prior to that, there was only the occasional sighting of a service animal.
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  13. #11
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    It may also just be an increase in service animals period. With better awareness of what dogs are capable of the number of service dogs around the country (and the world) are increasing.

    I'll also add just a gentle plug of even while you may not see a disability, many disabilities are invisible. Full fledged service dogs, of all shapes and sizes, are used for seizure disorders, autism, PTSD, diabetes, and traumatic brain injuries, just to name a few.
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  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dulcee View Post
    It may also just be an increase in service animals period. With better awareness of what dogs are capable of the number of service dogs around the country (and the world) are increasing.

    .
    This is true, unfortunately there is also a lot of abuse of the system.
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  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy1998 View Post
    This is true, unfortunately there is also a lot of abuse of the system.
    Yep. I don’t doubt the legitimacy of “unseen” challenges, but I have personal experience with an instance where a person straight out said they just wanted their pet with them and managed to get an official to certify that the dog was a service dog. This was pure abuse, and I’m certain it’s not an isolated case.


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  16. #14
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    You can get service vest on ebay.
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  17. #15
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    I love my dogs and would love to have them with me at Disney. I've even photoshopped them into some of our Disney photos. I have also seen service dogs at work in the hospital. My dogs are nowhere close to behaving like a service dog. Once that vest is on, they don't leave. They don't bark. They don't go to the bathroom for hours (at least 12 hours. That dog never left once during my shift.)
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  18. #16
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    I used to work at a hospital in the midwest, and once we had a patient who wanted her pet dog with her. Of course, the hospital said no, even though she argued it was an "emotional support" animal. But it had no training, and she had no diagnosis that warranted a certified support animal. It was literally her pet.

    Anyway, after she was released, she sued the hospital and won. And as part of the judgement, we had to create and require training for the entire staff on support animals, and this training was provided by the ADA. And, of course, in the training, it specifically stated that emotional support animals should be certified and that the owner should have a diagnosis! So, the training that we were mandated to undergo basically upheld our own policy.

    People will go to all lengths to abuse that law.
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  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by azcavalier View Post
    I used to work at a hospital in the midwest, and once we had a patient who wanted her pet dog with her. Of course, the hospital said no, even though she argued it was an "emotional support" animal. But it had no training, and she had no diagnosis that warranted a certified support animal. It was literally her pet.

    Anyway, after she was released, she sued the hospital and won. And as part of the judgement, we had to create and require training for the entire staff on support animals, and this training was provided by the ADA. And, of course, in the training, it specifically stated that emotional support animals should be certified and that the owner should have a diagnosis! So, the training that we were mandated to undergo basically upheld our own policy.

    People will go to all lengths to abuse that law.
    Yeah, just a pain dealing w/ the masses pet wishes. I don't really want to deal w/ all the folks at the park,let alone their pets. I hate pet day at the office. Too many issues. Too much bio material.
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  21. #18
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    I have seen those poodles at MK. The people that bring them have had arguments with Disney about them being in the parks. They are there a lot. But with the emotional support training label put on them- I don’t think Disney has been able to get the group not to bring them into the parks.

    Have you been in a Walmart lately? Lots of people bring dogs in. I hate it when people bring dogs in and they are in the shopping carts. Gross. Home Depot allows dogs in the store and that doesn’t bother me. No food so seems fine.
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  22. #19
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    Being local and having two dogs, both not suitable as service dogs. One is 4 and obnoxious, the other is older and a couch potato. We keep them home in the A/C. They are more comfortable at home and not out in the Florida heat. They are our "home" ESA. They are happy at home.
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  23. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by njespers View Post
    Yep. I don’t doubt the legitimacy of “unseen” challenges, but I have personal experience with an instance where a person straight out said they just wanted their pet with them and managed to get an official to certify that the dog was a service dog. This was pure abuse, and I’m certain it’s not an isolated case.
    This is upsetting because there may be people with legitimate needs that either have the privilege taken away or have people look at them wrongly because others abuse the system.

    On a different note, Lowe’s near my house allows dogs in for any reason. My son is petrified of dogs. Irrational fear. He is only 9 and when he sees a dog at Lowe’s he freaks out. Sometimes that freaks out the dog,
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