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City Club of Eugene: Companion Animals and Service Animals: What's The Difference

Linda Maria

Recorded On: October 6, 2017

Air Date: October 9, 2017

In recent years, there has been much confusion regarding the different types of animal assistants. For decades, society has recognized the value of service animals to assist people with disabilities. In recent years, a new type of animal assistant, known as a companion, comfort, or emotional support animal has become more prevalent. Companion animals are utilized by people across a variety of disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations allow the use of service animals in public places. The ADA does not require that companion animals be admitted to public spaces. However, the Fair Housing Act requires a reasonable accommodation be made to allow companion animals to live in rental units without the imposition of extra fees or deposits.

The misrepresentation of pets as service or companion animals has become problematic. This occurs both in places of public accommodation and housing situations. It is important to know the facts and laws regarding companion animals and service animals. Landlords and business owners should strive to ensure buildings can accommodate residents and the public in a safe and fair manner, while those in need of service animals or companion animals are entitled to respect and dignity.

City Club of Eugene presents this forum in an effort to inform the public on this topic and promote discussion on companion animals and service dogs and their benefits and barriers in public spaces.

Speaker Biographies:

Eugene Organ is Coordinator of the Oregon ADA Center, a Program of Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA). Eugene has been involved with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) since before its passage. For 13 years he was employed as the Executive Director of the Oregon Disabilities Commission. He also worked with the Oregon State Legislature as an advocate for legislation relating to persons with disabilities. He is a Master ADA Trainer through the National ADA Networks ADA Trainers Network (ATN). Currently he serves as coordinator of the Oregon ADA Center by LILA.

Erycka Organ is an Access and Training Associate in the Oregon ADA Center, a Program of Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA). Erycka became involved with the disability rights movement as a young adult, while assisting her father with his advocacy and coordination efforts. She has been employed at LILA as part of the Oregon ADA Center for 10 years. She is a certified ADA Coordinator through the University of Missouri ADA Coordinators Training and Certification Program (ACTCP). As an ADA Access and Training Associate, she has conducted access surveys and trainings throughout Oregon.

Lane Independent Living Alliance (LILA) is a non-residential, consumer controlled, cross-disability Center for Independent Living (CIL), offering peer delivered services, with offices and a center on 13th Avenue near Willamette Street in downtown Eugene. The majority of LILA’s staff and board are people experiencing disability.

LILA addresses the significant accessibility, housing, employment, civil rights, voting rights, recreational, and other issues faced by community residents with disabilities.

Program Coordinator: Ralph Pledger

Copyright KLCC, 2017

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Public Speaking.