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Service Dogs at DragonConEdit

Service dogs are permitted to attend Dragon Con, of course, but you may not be aware that recent changes may change the way a dog is considered by Dragon Con, so I wanted to take a moment to review. 

Service dog 1

Geisha, service dog in action


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  This includes helping people with vision and hearing impairments, seizure and medication warnings, stability and balance assistance, calming anxiety attacks for PTSD, and a host of other things.


Under changes made in the law, however, therapy/emotional support/companion animals no longer fall under this category.  They do not qualify for the universal public access right that service animals have.  Your therapy animal may be allowed into the hotels: you will have to negotiate that with the hotel you are staying in.  They are not, however, allowed into Dragon Con programming spaces.


When you come to Disability Services with your dog, we will ask you what services your dog is trained to perform for you.  Partially because we need to make sure your dog meets the standard for being a service dog, but more just because we think they are awesome, and the range of things they can be trained to do is nothing short of amazing.  (HOW can a dog tell you need your medicine?  That you’re about to have a seizure?  It boggles the mind.  Well, mine anyway…)


Dragon Con requires that you keep your service animal under your control at all times.  No free run/play time as the ballroom is loading up, for example.  A dog that has aggressive behavior toward people or other dogs would also fall under this.  (As always, we mention this because we at DCDS have seen examples of both.) A dog that is not under control can be evicted from the Con.  I’m not going to mention the housebroken thing, even though the ADA does… that should be a given.


People using service animals will be accommodated with the “Sightlines” sticker with a caveat that it will most likely not be front row center and in rare cases may not be front row at all.  The reason you are given this accommodation is all about safety for the dog.  A seat where people will not be stepping over the dog, or trying to navigate around him or her in crowded environs.  If the room is already full when you arrive, you may get a seat to one side, out of the main aisles.


Check out http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm for more information on the new regulations for service animals.

Relieving Spots

SheratonEdit

If you come out the doors on the very bottom level (where registration is located) and go to the right toward the parking deck, there is a small grassy area available.  Also if you go out either the bottom level or the lobby level and to to the street corner toward the Hilton, there is a dirt/pine straw area.  Trash can on the street corner.

HiltonEdit

If you come out the front door on street level, turn to your right.  Follow the building's exterior, turning another right.  There is a small grassy area specifically for dog relieving purposes, with a baggie dispenser and trash can.

MarriotEdit

If any of you know the best area, please let us know in the comments...  We haven't stayed there in our nearly 20 years with the Con...

HyattEdit

There are small areas at the base of the trees along Peachtree street, but We'e always gone across the street.  If you go out the lobby of the Hyatt to the street, turn left.  Go to the corner and cross Peachtree.  If you go about a hundred feet down that street, (John Portman Blvd) is a grassy area.  Trash can back up toward the street corner.

WestinEdit

Another unknown, sorry.  If you have any information, please let us know.


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