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Pit Bull Service Dogs

Nurses   (3,374 Views 40 Comments)
by RobbiRN RobbiRN, RN (Member) Member Innovator Expert Nurse

RobbiRN has 25 years experience as a RN and specializes in ER.

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You are assigned a patient who brings two pit bulls with him to the ER claiming that they are service dogs. While it is illegal to falsely claim that a dog is a service dog, we are not allowed to challenge the claim or ask for proof. The patients complains of abdominal pain, but he has wounds on his hands he states are from separating the dogs when they got in a fight. He has no one else with him to help with the dogs, and they are on long leashes which allow them free access to the majority of his room. When you prepare to draw his blood they jump onto the stretcher, standing on either side of him. What would you do?

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Ordinarily even if a situation is goofy I prefer to take a crack at developing a good rapport. It often works out okay.

However, there's no point in asking the two allowable questions; the employer is going to be skittish about offending this guy even if his answers don't indicate that the animals are service animals. Because of that and several other variables, I would probably just skip all the super-nurse stuff and just get admin staff involved. I have no tolerance for hearing one single iota about stuff like this after the fact. I like to get MMQ-type people involve pronto - that way if wrong ends up being done, they can blame themselves instead of acting holier-than-thou about a difficult situation someone else hand to handle.

BTW, it isn't so much about "pit bull" - it's about the fact that these dogs have a hx of aggression and the patient himself has been wounded by them.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

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Agree, would not touch that with a 10 foot pole, this problem goes up to admin to figure out. Not going to put myself or anyone else in harm's way and not taking the blame for anything either.

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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I had a homeless patient with his 'service' dog recently. His dog was a good sized, medium dog, laying quietly on the gurney with this man, who also had physical disabilities. 

The hospital was going to accommodate this well behaved dog as best we could,  since he would be admitted. The patient was humble, sweet,  and appreciative. 

Fortunately, I hadn't taken my dog food out of my car after shopping so was able to give a bunch,  since the fellow didn't have any. 

The law clearly states that service dogs need to be safe.the dogs described obviously weren't, so don't need to be accommodated. 

Edited by Emergent

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Tenebrae has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Primary Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

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"hey there, I need to come into the room to do X to help you. Are your dogs ok with strangers?"

Our service dogs training system are much more regulated and there is no way a pitt bull would be ever used as a service dogs so this wouldnt happen here

My goal would to be establish a rapport with the patient while ensuring my safety and that of my colleagues

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Terrified of dogs. Doesnt matter the breed. They’d have to find another nurse. 

 

Chihuahuas have very long teeth. 😳

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1 hour ago, Wuzzie said:

Terrified of dogs. Doesnt matter the breed. They’d have to find another nurse. 

 

Chihuahuas have very long teeth. 😳

Chihuahuas are pretty hateful towards non owners says this mom of 2 chi’s. 

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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We volunteer with a service dog training facility - breeds are very selective and pit bulls or pit bull mixes would never make it for the above-mentioned reasons. 

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pixierose is a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro-ICU, psych.

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It could be a Yorkshire terrier ... like others said, I wouldn’t go near that situation with a 10 foot pole. 

People or animal, aggression shouldn’t be tolerated.

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OldDude specializes in Pediatrics.

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I wouldn't allow him into the facility with the dogs. If he brought them inside already, I'd evacuate the waiting area of everyone but him and the dogs and call animal control. When the dogs were taken away by animal control I'd resume normal activities.

Remember the first rule of all emergency response...is the scene safe?

I've seen too many animal attacks on humans, especially working in pediatrics, for anyone to convince me this would be safe...safety trumps everything.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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9 hours ago, Emergent said:

 

Fortunately, I hadn't taken my dog food out of my car after shopping so was able to give a bunch,  since the fellow didn't have any. 

The law clearly states that service dogs need to be safe.the dogs described obviously weren't, so don't need to be accommodated. 

My grinchy heart grew three sizes, Emergent. You are a blessing.

And you're right - we can ask about the nature of the disability. There's a good amount of info on service dogs vs comfort animals. But....this would be above my pay grade.

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8 minutes ago, ruby_jane said:

And you're right - we can ask about the nature of the disability.

In the spirit of keeping us all out of trouble (not nitpickiness... 🙂)

We cannot ask about the nature of the disability.
 

Quote

 

GENERAL RULES

Q7. What questions can a covered entity's employees ask to determine if a dog is a service animal?

A. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.

These are the two questions I referred to earlier. ^

Edited by JKL33

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