Sunday, May 17, 2009

Access DENIED! Part 2

Sorry I haven't gotten on here to post lately...to catch everyone up on the continuing drama with the Social Security Administration. John's been hogging the computer and talking on the phone. He's been very busy talking to lots of different people regarding this debacle.

For those that didn't know...here is the law that covers Assistance Dogs (and Assistance Dogs in Training) for federal buildings. It is not the ADA, but the General Services Administration.
Here is the law for federal buildings owned or leased under General Services Administration(GSA) The first one is:

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 41, Volume 2]
[Revised as of July 1, 2002]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 41CFR101-20.311]

[Page 212]
TITLE 41--PUBLIC CONTRACTS AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

CHAPTER 101--FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS

PART 101-20--MANAGEMENT OF BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS--Table of Contents

Subpart 101-20.3--Conduct on Federal Property

Sec. 101-20.311 Dogs and other animals.

Dogs and other animals, except seeing eye dogs, other guide dogs,
and animals used to guide or assist handicapped persons, shall not be
brought upon property for other than official purposes.

The second is from www.regulations.gov , search for GSA-2005-0041-0001.

[Federal Register: November 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 215)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 67785-67860]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr08no05-5]

GSA's real property policies contained in this part and parts 102-
72 through 102-82 of this chapter apply to Federal agencies, including
GSA's Public Buildings Service (PBS), operating under, or subject to,
the authorities of the Administrator of General Services.

Sec. 102-74.425 What is the policy concerning dogs and other animals
on Federal property?

No person may bring dogs or other animals on Federal property for
other than official purposes. However, a disabled person may bring a
seeing-eye dog, a guide dog, or other animal assisting or being trained
to assist that individual.


(This means that they couldn't kick Mom and Denver out either.)

Let me tell what's been happening since I last posted:

John called and filed a complaint against the SSA office that denied us access...via the SS Fraud Hotline. He then called the local office and asked to speak to the supervisor...the one that was "out" when we were there. John was told that he'd call back, but after waiting all day, John called again and asked to speak to him again. I was next to him the entire time, and was listening intently. The supervisor got on the line, and apologized for not getting back to him sooner. John went over the situation again for him. He gave him the info on the law that covers federal buildings and Assistance Dogs ( and asked that they review their "policies" regarding Assistance Dogs and asked also for a formal apology. Guess what happened next?

Mom and I were listening to John's end of the conversation, and we were expecting John to say something along the lines of "Thanks, etc" Instead we were surprised to hear John defending himself and me again! The supervisor told him that there was a question as to John's disability (though he did say "I know I can't ask you what your disability is!")...and a question as to what he needed the dog (meaning me! of all things! hmph!) for in the SSA office. John explained what he needed me for (in case he dropped something, etc)...and told him that he didn't know anyone that hopped in a scooter and drove to the SSA with their dog, just for grins and giggles. The guy kept insisting that he didn't NEED me (the dog, remember?) at the SSA office. John was not pleased when he hung up the phone.

He then called the SSA Office of Inspector General, Senator Barbara Mikulski's office and the ACLU. We're waiting to hear back from all of them. The ACLU was interested, and will be discussing the situation at their next meeting...and will be getting back to John on Thursday.

Right now it's a waiting game...I'll keep you posted when we know more!

~SDS

8 comments:

Eedra at Barking Mad said...

Oh dear - what a drama. This is one area where Australia is ahead. Our disability discrimination laws are very good, including for people with assistance animals. Good luck@

KrisMom said...

Ir might be interesting to stage a protest by having as many of your fellow service dogs and thier people suddenly need to do business at that ss office. Each should have a printed copy of the policy in hand. perhaps one at a time all day long!

dannah said...

I fully support your move. And pls promise not to let go of this issue until properly resolved (by resolved, i mean for the people of that federal bldg to give their apology)...by the way, I just joined in this fun Pup-peroni Sweepstakes Promo that gives me the chance to win $750 worth of prize package! It's so fun, you should try it, too!

Laurie Luck, CPDT said...

Holy cow, I'm so sorry to hear this. I used to work for the Department of Commerce and brought a service dog in training to work with me every day.

At the Main Commerce building in D.C., one of the police officers denied access to a woman with an assistance dog. To help educate the police officers, they called me downtown with the dog, to do an educational seminar-type event in order to raise awareness.

I was astounded at some of the inaccuracies the general public had, as well as the police officers. Thankfully, Commerce realized quickly the mistake, rectified it, and educated their staff and employees.

I can only hope that SSA "sees the light." And quickly. What a bad, bad situation.

inaradog said...

That's absolutely unbelievable! I really like KrisMom's idea.

Tamanda said...

What a coincidence! I've had issues with the Social Security office here in San Diego, with Borias. The guard insisted on a tag. I want to pursue doing something about it. Maybe we can join together. I've been hassled twice now. Then got hassled at the Housing Administration, too. Another Federal building.

Old Man Henry's said...

ARGH! We just had a similar experience at our local POST OFFICE with the clerk threatening to deny us service if we come in again (Henry is my Service Dog). I found your blog from a search on Service Dogs and access to federal buildings, so we both thank you for this post! I'm still fuming because this guy pulled the same crap--that only Seeing Eye Dogs were allowed. As if that's the ONLY kind of Service Dog there is! Well, off to email the USPS about it! GRRR.

Arthur said...

The White House is federal property, right? First family dogs are pretty common. Too bad one couldn't find a way to take the offensive and file some action asking for the first family to desist from bringing dogs onto federal property - or alternatively moderate the federal government's unreasonable, rule book quoting bureaucrats. Fat chance of that. I'm sure they'd have some legal exception at the ready.