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  1. #21
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    I'm sure some dog owners are classifying their dogs as 'Service Animals' so they are exempt from those regs. I heard several dog owners talking about this on my thru-hike this year. Never did see dogs in either Nat'l Park (GSMNP or Shenandoah) on the trail, tho.

  2. #22
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    GSMNP is closed to dogs basically because it is a National Park.

    I don't know why, but the link Starchild provided is coming up pretty much empty at the moment. For anyone else experiencing similar problems, here is a similar page at a "National Parks" level.
    Bs - see dogs all the time here on the trail at Valley Forge.

    Quote Originally Posted by wicca witch View Post
    dogs 2 them scare&cause chaos with wildlife. yet horses on the trail in gsmnp cause more damage 2 the trail than any other thing around cept nature,get my drift

    welcome to my understanding...never understood this or that.. we all hike trails and spot coyotes, are they not a large dog? the gods are crazy - we can't fix it. Non dog lovers have fears, the environmental folk wrapped their heads on feces and bad behavior on owners. Specifically the dogs feces has e coli - and dogs chase squirrels... Yet you can go to a restaurant and get ice with e coli... Uh nuts.
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 09-13-2013 at 22:34.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    Bs - see dogs all the time here on the trail at Valley Forge.
    Valley Forge is a poor comparison to GSMNP because VF is a National HISTORIC Park. It doesn't have a "back country" with camp sites.

    And you can see by the general purpose rules listed on the link I provided, it seems to imply that, generally speaking, dogs are allowed in National Parks if kept on a leash, and that dogs are generally not allowed on [back country] trails.

    Having said all that, I still don't understand why a place like GSMNP allows horses on roughly half of all its trails. I know it has something to so with the fact horses were historically used to get around the Great Smoky Mountains. But still...

  4. #24
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    honest it wasn't personal.. just not sure how you came up with the idea.


    Still waiting for horse baggies and spades.

    Imagine if John Wayne had to pack it out...
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 09-13-2013 at 23:13.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  5. #25
    Registered User stushica's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but according to a wildlife and fisheries student I talked to once; She said dogs were banned from the smokies when someone brought in a dog with parvovirus that spread to the red wolf population killing a litter of red wolf pups that had cost the NP quite a good deal of money in a population restoration project.

    I will most likely have my dog with me when if I can ever get around to a through hike. However I'll have papers from my doctor stating his use as a service dog. I don't actually need them because there really aren't regulations or registries on "service dogs" but occasionally it's easier to hand them over than try to explain how useful my dog is to me since I'm not blind. Not everyone is just BSing.... He is also leashed 90% of the time and doesn't dare chase the precious squirrels for fear of momma. Not all dogs are allowed to misbehave ya' know.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stushica View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but according to a wildlife and fisheries student I talked to once; She said dogs were banned from the smokies when someone brought in a dog with parvovirus that spread to the red wolf population killing a litter of red wolf pups that had cost the NP quite a good deal of money in a population restoration project.
    There is not a blanket ban on all dogs in the smokies... they are only banned in the back country (i.e. hiking trails... with some exceptions).

    Dogs have been banned from the back country since before the red wolf repopulation efforts in the 90s. There is no evidence that a pet dog introduced parvovirus to a litter of red wolf pups. What did happen was that the wolf pups in general had a 1 year survival rate of 0%. Most pups known to be born in the park were never found. Of those found, one was known to have been killed by a coyote and another one was found to have parvovirus.
    Red Wolf Restoration Halted in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    As for service animals in the back country, you might want to verify your situation with a park ranger before heading out. While I can't find any rules specific to GSMNP, there is a general National Park Memo on Service Animals. It basically says that service animals, as defined by ADA section 28 CFR 36.104 must be allowed where ever the general public is allowed (not every 'service' animal meets the ADA requirements). But it also allows for a park superintendent to close sections of a park to service animals.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by stushica View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but according to a wildlife and fisheries student I talked to once; She said dogs were banned from the smokies when someone brought in a dog with parvovirus that spread to the red wolf population killing a litter of red wolf pups that had cost the NP quite a good deal of money in a population restoration project.

    I will most likely have my dog with me when if I can ever get around to a through hike. However I'll have papers from my doctor stating his use as a service dog. I don't actually need them because there really aren't regulations or registries on "service dogs" but occasionally it's easier to hand them over than try to explain how useful my dog is to me since I'm not blind. Not everyone is just BSing.... He is also leashed 90% of the time and doesn't dare chase the precious squirrels for fear of momma. Not all dogs are allowed to misbehave ya' know.
    I understand that "service dogs" aregetting increased scrutiny, due to abuses. You know your situation, and should plan accordingly.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Quote Originally Posted by stushica View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but according to a wildlife and fisheries student I talked to once; She said dogs were banned from the smokies when someone brought in a dog with parvovirus that spread to the red wolf population killing a litter of red wolf pups that had cost the NP quite a good deal of money in a population restoration project.

    I will most likely have my dog with me when if I can ever get around to a through hike. However I'll have papers from my doctor stating his use as a service dog. I don't actually need them because there really aren't regulations or registries on "service dogs" but occasionally it's easier to hand them over than try to explain how useful my dog is to me since I'm not blind. Not everyone is just BSing.... He is also leashed 90% of the time and doesn't dare chase the precious squirrels for fear of momma. Not all dogs are allowed to misbehave ya' know.
    Not to be nosy or rude, but I'm wondering what kind of "services" service dogs can provide and still be labeled as such. I know they are used for the blind and those in wheel chairs. Can someone with a bad back and who can't carry a pack use a dog as a service dog to carry their pack? Are you saying that there aren't any regulations on the use of service dogs? If someone is scared of the woods could they say, "I need a service dog to deal with my anxiety"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlZ993 View Post
    I'm sure some dog owners are classifying their dogs as 'Service Animals' so they are exempt from those regs. I heard several dog owners talking about this on my thru-hike this year. Never did see dogs in either Nat'l Park (GSMNP or Shenandoah) on the trail, tho.
    We were backpacking in Shenandoah NP on the AT 4 years ago and there was an older man backpacking with his dog and the dog was off leash. We were very near Elk Wallow Wayside, so there were plenty of people around to see it.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

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    The NPS website concerning Service Dogs....

    Use of guide dogs for the hearing and vision impaired and other service animals in the backcountry is allowed with the following guidelines:
    A service animal is defined as an animal that performs some of the
    functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform such as carrying a pack for persons with mobility impairments, assisting persons with balance, or alerting medically dependent persons of specific conditions (such as oncoming seizures).Prior to accessing the backcountry with a guide dog or service animal, individuals with disabilities shall complete and obtain the Guide/Service Animal Permit; ask for Yell 470.
    Companion dogs or other pets for the mentally or emotionally impaired are not allowed in the backcountry, or on nature trails or boardwalks.

    Stushica, it looks there are "regulations and registries for service dogs" in National Parks.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by doritotex View Post
    If someone is scared of the woods could they say, "I need a service dog to deal with my anxiety"?
    Service animals are being allowed in the back country (where 'pets' are not allowed) to meet ADA requirements.

    What you are talking about is known as an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). Based on things I've found online, ESAs apparently do not meet the legal qualification of a service animal as stipulated by the ADA. As an example, check out the Wikipedia article on ESAs. You'll notice they talk about ESA in regards to things like Fair Housing Act and similar laws, with no mention of ADA laws.

    So from what I understand, ESAs fall more on the side of 'pets' than 'service animals' and are therefore not allowed in the back country where 'pets' are not allowed.

    But another point is that there isn't any thing like a federal registry of 'service animals', and as such there isn't any way for someone to prove or disprove if an animal is or is not a service animal. So some people are taking advantage of that 'confusion' and taking their 'pets' into the woods simply claiming that they are a service animal whether they are or are not. That is the type of abuse I believe Feral Bill is referring to.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by doritotex View Post
    The NPS website concerning Service Dogs....

    Use of guide dogs for the hearing and vision impaired and other service animals in the backcountry is allowed with the following guidelines:
    A service animal is defined as an animal that performs some of the
    functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform such as carrying a pack for persons with mobility impairments, assisting persons with balance, or alerting medically dependent persons of specific conditions (such as oncoming seizures).Prior to accessing the backcountry with a guide dog or service animal, individuals with disabilities shall complete and obtain the Guide/Service Animal Permit; ask for Yell 470.
    Companion dogs or other pets for the mentally or emotionally impaired are not allowed in the backcountry, or on nature trails or boardwalks.

    Stushica, it looks there are "regulations and registries for service dogs" in National Parks.
    Thanks for the information...

    Do you have any links I can share with others to prove to them these "regulations"?

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Service animals are being allowed in the back country (where 'pets' are not allowed) to meet ADA requirements.

    What you are talking about is known as an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). Based on things I've found online, ESAs apparently do not meet the legal qualification of a service animal as stipulated by the ADA. As an example, check out the Wikipedia article on ESAs. You'll notice they talk about ESA in regards to things like Fair Housing Act and similar laws, with no mention of ADA laws.

    So from what I understand, ESAs fall more on the side of 'pets' than 'service animals' and are therefore not allowed in the back country where 'pets' are not allowed.

    But another point is that there isn't any thing like a federal registry of 'service animals', and as such there isn't any way for someone to prove or disprove if an animal is or is not a service animal. So some people are taking advantage of that 'confusion' and taking their 'pets' into the woods simply claiming that they are a service animal whether they are or are not. That is the type of abuse I believe Feral Bill is referring to.
    The same abuse happens in restaurants. Who wants to get into a 50/50 chance argument with a customer to determine if Fido is a real service dog.

  14. #34
    Registered User stushica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doritotex View Post
    Not to be nosy or rude, but I'm wondering what kind of "services" service dogs can provide and still be labeled as such. I know they are used for the blind and those in wheel chairs. Can someone with a bad back and who can't carry a pack use a dog as a service dog to carry their pack? Are you saying that there aren't any regulations on the use of service dogs? If someone is scared of the woods could they say, "I need a service dog to deal with my anxiety"?
    In a nut shell yes yes and no. For entrance to public areas with a service dog the only thing you every have to tell someone if you are questioned is the service the dog provides. You may be asked to leave if the dog is a nuisance etc. but business can't inquire about medical issues, specific disabilities or demand proof The services vary widely and I'm sure sure occasionally some are just plain made up. There are no real regulations, some states have tried to start registries but no one is required to use them; there are organizations that will back their dogs validity like many of the seeing eye dogs but nothing governmental. As far as the last situation about the anxiety that is not a service dog but a MHA (Mental health assistance) or a therapy dog. They are not permitted the same accesses as a service dog. However many service dogs are also therapy dogs or canine good citizens, which are both organizations that require obedience and temperament testing to qualify for. some but not all. It's really just hoping the person with said dog is honest.

    I will most certainly plan according and speak with the rangers before heading out, I don't want to cause waves, or be inconvenienced/ inconvenience others. Additionally I'm aware that the likely hood of my needing my dog with fellow humans is pretty rare, but I just prefer him to asking for help. In all honesty I only really only take him with me 100% of the time unless I'm in a flare. I have Ulcerative colitis and it's a non issue most of the time but when I get sick he help me out for a while before hospitalization and for months after when I'm recovering. He provides me with balance assistance, retrieval of dropped objects, picking me up off the floor, and can get an epipen or bite block if I were to go into anaphylaxis or seizures. I've never done either, but the training is there. I've spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of training him myself over the last six years and have only deemed him suitable for "public use" about a year and a half ago. He was what I had dumped on me and we made it work. Until then he was just used at home when I was alone and I had someone take me to the store. My old dog would let me know before I had muscle spasms so I could basically sit down and wait for the pain much like a seizure alert dog.

    Also thanks for the clarification on the wolves! As I said please correct me if I'm wrong which apparently I was :P
    The polish plodder and her pampered puppy

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    Registered User stushica's Avatar
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    holy cow I missed a good bit.... going back and reading new posts.
    The polish plodder and her pampered puppy

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    Quote Originally Posted by stushica View Post
    For entrance to public areas with a service dog the only thing you every have to tell someone if you are questioned is the service the dog provides. You may be asked to leave if the dog is a nuisance etc. but business can't inquire about medical issues, specific disabilities or demand proof The services vary widely and I'm sure sure occasionally some are just plain made up. There are no real regulations, some states have tried to start registries but no one is required to use them; there are organizations that will back their dogs validity like many of the seeing eye dogs but nothing governmental. As far as the last situation about the anxiety that is not a service dog but a MHA (Mental health assistance) or a therapy dog. They are not permitted the same accesses as a service dog. However many service dogs are also therapy dogs or canine good citizens, which are both organizations that require obedience and temperament testing to qualify for. some but not all. It's really just hoping the person with said dog is honest.
    BAM!
    That pretty much summarizes in a nutshell everything I think I've learned about service animals because of this discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    Thanks for the information...
    Do you have any links I can share with others to prove to them these "regulations"?
    While not necessarily "authoritative", I did come across this web page that looked to be a good summary regarding National Parks and Service Dogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doritotex View Post
    Not to be nosy or rude, but I'm wondering what kind of "services" service dogs can provide and still be labeled as such. I know they are used for the blind and those in wheel chairs. Can someone with a bad back and who can't carry a pack use a dog as a service dog to carry their pack? Are you saying that there aren't any regulations on the use of service dogs? If someone is scared of the woods could they say, "I need a service dog to deal with my anxiety"?
    A friend of mine's wife has a "service dog" to reduce her anxiety. I think it's total bull......
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    Quote Originally Posted by perdidochas View Post
    A friend of mine's wife has a "service dog" to reduce her anxiety. I think it's total bull......
    A dog to "reduce anxiety" isn't a "service dog", it is an ESA or an MHA. Such animals do not meet the requirements for ADA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    A dog to "reduce anxiety" isn't a "service dog", it is an ESA or an MHA. Such animals do not meet the requirements for ADA.
    As an owner of four cats, what would an animal be classified as if it is a pain in the a.. and raises your anxiety level?

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