Service animal awareness has increased over the last few years, but it is nowhere near where it needs to be. Folks still parade their pets around as service animals. At the same time, business owners, law enforcement, and property managers do not understand their responsibility to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Every time someone lies about their dog being a service animal it erodes the public’s perception of the vital role a service animal plays for its owner. Service animals allow folks with disabilities to be independent, they allow us to participate in life. Please don’t pretend your pet is a service animal.
MCD is moved by the passing of Dennis (Denny) Prothero last December. Denny’s story reminds our community that the PCA and homecare shortage is more than a workforce issue. We share his family’s belief that Denny’s legacy is bringing people together – advocates and leaders alike – to move legislation forward.
Businesses and other property owners must keep disability parking spaces and access aisles free from obstructions. In the winter, these obstructions include plowed snow. If they don’t, they could be fined up to $500 and be guilty of a misdemeanor. If you come across anything – including plowed snow – in any part of a disability parking space, call your local law enforcement.
On November 3rd, Lois Curtis died peacefully in her home surrounded by close friends and family. The disability community will remember her as the main advocate in L.C. v. Olmstead (the “Olmstead Decision”). The decision recognized that people with disabilities have the right to live in the least-restrictive environments. It also recognized that people with mental health challenges should, when possible, receive services in community integrated settings.
As the weather turns colder, MCD reminds you to keep your sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Sidewalks and curb ramps are lifelines for many people with disabilities and our senior community. When not cleared, they can limit their ability to get groceries, get prescriptions, go to work, and attend local gatherings. Improperly cleared snow can pile up and make sidewalks and curb ramps impassable. People using wheelchairs and other mobility devices must often travel in the street alongside traffic, a potentially life-threatening situation.
The Minnesota Council on Disability continues to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Poppy Sundquist, an advocate from Saint Paul, shares a perspective on disability and employment. Poppy writes about finding on-the-job adaptations that work, dealing with transportation challenges, and being your own advocate.