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  1. Holly
    Holly November 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm | | Reply

    I personally didn’t find the article offensive, but that’s just my perspective on it. I think there are many people who don’t know there is a difference between service animals and ESA’s, and I hope that the article did raise awareness of that. And whilst by no means do I consider ESA’s useless for people who have serious mental illnesses, the fact that anyone can simply fake anxiety by filling in a form on a website and getting an ID issued is quite disturbing.

    Perhaps if the industry so to speak was more regulated it would mean people with real need could have the dogs, and people who do simply want to take their dog wherever they go can’t do this.

    I hope that businesses would also learn that they are not required to permit ESA’s, it’s their choice. I do think they can be quite damaging to genuine service dog handlers, and so if more businesses are aware of the laws that is a good thing.

    I’m not sure if the author assumed that most service dog handlers are fake, or that most ESA’s are. I don’t have the stats on either so can’t say, but it is a concern to me that anyone can get issued documentation and bring their dog places because businesses are often too scared of getting into a discrimination battle by refusing the person, and also because of a lack of education.

    Having said all this, I think it’s important for people to know that service animals do come in all shapes and sizes as their tasks are so varied, so people shouldn’t see a small dog and automatically assume it’s a fake. And yes, people with mental illnesses are often entitled to a service animal, and nobody under any circumstance should judge them for that, it’s none of our business to do so.

    I do think it was interesting that she faked her own documents, because it highlighted that people can do this, which is why I’d call for more regulation of ESA’s, so that people with real need can have them rather than those who want the right to take their pet everywhere.

  2. Sheri Z
    Sheri Z November 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm | | Reply

    @ Regina Lizik: Brava! I couldn’t have said it better myself! With a few minor edits (I’m a writer, so I notice these things), this letter should go to the editor of The New Yorker. Have you sent it to that person?

    Frankly, I’m AMAZED that a publication like The New Yorker would publish Marx’s article. As a former freelance features writer for the Chicago Tribune, I had to know some key basics of legitimate, professional journalism. While every publication–and editor–is different, the Tribune requires, in a feature story, three “expert” sources to back up the FACTS in a journalist’s story. (These experts and their contact information must be submitted with the story–for fact checkers to verify–or the story doesn’t run.) Certainly anyone can make just about any “fact” subjective, except things like the color of the sky, the win/loss record of the Chicago Cubs, and the winters here are cold & snowy.

    However, depending on one’s slant, it’s fairly easy to find one “expert,” who’ll say a cold & snowy Chicago winter is wonderful, with lots of activities to enjoy, and its unpredictability is part of its “charm.” Turn around and find a different expert, equally credentialed as the first, who will state unequivocally that winters in Chicago are deadly, horrible experiences that should only be endured by those who don’t have enough money and/or sense to live in a more temperate climate, at least from November-April.

    Contradicting viewpoints? Great! Let the “experts” you’ve found duke it out–each can back up her/his position with whatever reports, studies, scientific or anecdotal data, then let your readers decide for themselves. Or if it’s clear that one conclusion supersedes the other, back it up with a THIRD expert, who supports the stronger side. If you DON’T address all major positions on a complex subject such as able-bodied Americans committing fraud by pretending their pets are Service Animals, you’d BETTER do due diligence and provide sound data for facet of the topic.

    Otherwise, you’re writing an editorial, a letter to the editor, or a first-person opinion essay. Is that how The New Yorker presented Marx’s piece? If so, I’m even more surprised that the publication printed such an ill-informed story without checking the facts. Surely The New Yorker has fact checkers…

    …don’t they??

    Sheri Ziemann
    Journalist, Disabled American, and Service Dog owner/handler

  3. Jennelle
    Jennelle July 19, 2016 at 12:59 am | | Reply

    Absolutely ! I just read it and I was shocked a journalist could be so narrow minded and oblivious . I’m so pissed I looked her up to see if there was some way I could let her know how her article effected me and probably hundreds of others who need their service animals …. It might not make sense to her but tell that to the mother of 8 year old Devon who needs his service chicken to cope with life while having autism . He has made it to amazing milestones he couldnt reach before he had his chicken .

    Me , I have severe emotional disregulation that can be crippling , and before I got my dog i was spending most of my days in my p.jays at home crying and too scared to go anywhere or do anything . It’s too complicated to explain to people who don’t have disabilities like mine and it’s really nice to be able to show some proof to people quickly that I NEED my dog with me … The reasons I need him are really no ones business anyways . I apologize if that makes some people mad or uncomfortable …. But stop judging and try to remember that you can’t ever truly know what others are facing in life. We all have our own battles and we win them in different ways . Patricia’s article was careless and hurtful and plain WRONG!……

Please comment politely with a regular pseudonym or real name.

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