~April 15, 2021
First of all we would like to thank everyone who has called and sent us words of encouragement as we create this unparalleled network of service animal advocates across the nation. So many of you have told me there is a void in this space and you want to be a part of creating change by helping service animal handlers understand their rights. You have also shared that many businesses are unaware of their legal responsibilities or have overly permissive attitudes concerning service animal, leading to challenges for those of us with service animals. Many of you have also expressed your concerns over online companies that irresponsibly sell fraudulent identifications to anyone willing to pay the price. We also know most law enforcement officers are woefully unaware of the state laws that provide our right to access public places, resulting in tacit discrimination by inaction. At the same time, we know there are several states with burdensome requirements and unenforceable provisions. And, of course, there are training programs that treat competent disabled adults in a manner that can only be described as disrespectful and undignified!
The above list may seem like a daunting undertaking; the good news is that each of us do not need to do all of them! Each has our talents and gifts to offer. You may have an interest in one area and another in a different. Like the small strands of a rope unable to withstand much strain, when woven together the many strands can withstand an incredible amount of pressure. We are stronger when woven together. This is the purpose of ASAP: To create a strong network of service animal partners willing to lend their fiber to create a strong network to enhance the lives of service animal partners in the United States!
I would also like to take this opportunity to share that while this message was being written, we received notification that we are now a Florida nonprofit corporation! Our next step is to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for our letter of determination that we meet the requirements for exempt status under IRS code 501(c)(3). This enables us to accept large donations and foundation grants to support our work.
On Thursday, June 10, 2021, Advocates for Service Animal Partners will host a free webinar entitled, ”Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act”. This webinar will provide an overview of the ADA in plain language, including
• What is a Covered Entity?
• Who is Protected?
• What is Discrimination
• How Do I File a Complaint?
With warm regards,
~Marion Gwizdala, President
~Merry Schoch, Vice President
~Marilyn Shafer, Secretary-Treasurer