Why Do Pets Matter? Hosted by Debra Hamilton, Esq.
Why Do Pets Matter? Hosted by Debra Hamilton, Esq.
Debra Hamilton, Esq.
Sheila Goffe - Why Emotional Support, Therapy and Service Dogs Matter on "Why Do Pets Matter?" with Debra Hamilton #157
32 minutes Posted Oct 22, 2020 at 4:24 am.
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Sheila Goffe, VP of Government Relations of the American Kennel Club (AKC) joins us on "Why Do Pets Matter?" to discuss the importance, capabilities and credentialing of service animals.

Our dog breeds are a reflection of how humans have evolved. Dogs are very special because they are dogs -- many of them were originally purpose-bred to help their humans stay alive and thrive. They were helpers in so many ways -- they were and continue to be both a physical and emotional lifeline for their people.

This is especially true for us right now while we are in the middle of this COVID pandemic. Our dogs are always happy to see you, loving companions we come home to and they are here for us 24/7 while we are spending more time home now than ever before -- they are keeping us sane and grounded. They are truly functioning as emotional support animals.

The conversation about emotional support animals leads us to a bigger conversation about therapy and individually task trained service dogs. 

Currently, the AKC and government relations are focusing more on what is the correct and proper role of service animals and the damage that's being done to these amazing dogs because of fraudulent "emotional support" and "service dog" claims. 

They are doing some incredible work to ensure that all those who need to partner with a service dog are able to go out into the public confidently.

American Service Dog Access Coalition (ASDAC)

Fake and poorly trained Service Dogs are inundating airlines, restaurants, hotels and other access providers creating undue burdens for disabled individuals when they travel. In response, industry leaders have come together to form the American Service Dog Access Coalition(ASDAC).

ASDAC prioritizes collaboration with the goal of building the broadest possible coalition of Service/Guide Dog providers and access providers to end the use of fake and poorly trained “service dogs” while simultaneously raising Service Dog training standards through the creation of an opt-in credentialing system.

Unlike other attempts at Service Dog registries, the ASDAC is a stand-alone not-for-profit coalition established by industry leaders with expertise in a canine registry, technology, Service Dog training and advocacy.

The ASDAC recognizes the legitimacy of a variety of sources of Service Dogs but also the issues and confusion caused by a lack of unified behavioral standards for true Service Dogs as defined by federal law.

The ASDAC believes that this is an opportunity for our industry to collectively create a solution for our federal policymakers that will prevent additional policy-induced complications and ensure sustained success for service dog teams moving forward.

Learn more about ASDAC credentialing here: https://warriorsresearchinstitute.org/service-dog-pass-asdac

More About Sheila Goffe

Sheila leads the AKC’s efforts in working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. She oversees AKC legislative policy strategy and AKC outreach at the federal, state and local levels, works with legislators, legislative staff and regulators on key issues in canine policy, and supervises the AKC Government Relation team. She also serves as Secretary on the AKC PAC Board of Directors.

Sheila joined AKC’s publications department in 2006. In 2008, she returned to her previous career in public policy/government affairs as AKC’s Director of Government Relations. Prior to working for the American Kennel Club, she was a Senior Legislative Analyst/Editor and Deputy Director of Editorial Product Development for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC. 

Previous experience included federal legislative staffing and advocacy, work as an editor and analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit, and serving as an adjunct in Political Science/Comparative Politics at the State University of New York/Stony Brook.

Sheila has completed Ph.D. coursework and research in American Politics/Public Policy, earned a Masters of Philosophy in American Politics and an MA in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University, and is a former Fulbright Scholar, studying Political Economy and Development in Sri Lanka.

Sheila breeds and shows Siberian Huskies. She is a member of the Siberian Husky Club of America, and several other specialty and all-breed kennel clubs.