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New Jersey Designated August 14 as Assistance Animal Recognition Day
TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez today announced that Governor Chris Christie has designated Wednesday of the second week in August as "Assistance Animal Recognition Day."  A State Proclamation issued by Governor Christie recognized that “assistance animals enhance the lives of their human partners by performing a variety of tasks that are important to an individual’s independence, mobility, confidence and comfort.” "The partnership that develops between an individual and an assistance animal is often key to an individual’s community independence,” said Commissioner Velez.  "It is important for us all to be aware that assistance animals are working animals that provide vital services to people with disabilities.”

Assistance animals are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, such as guiding a person who has vision loss,  signaling a person who has hearing loss, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure or providing daily services for individuals with disabilities such as flipping a light switch or picking up a dropped object. The trained animals assisting individuals are most often dogs. 

“Our goal in highlighting Assistance Animal Recognition Day is to raise awareness about the right’s of people with disabilities to use assistance animals and have equal access to public accommodations,” said Commissioner Velez.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as New Jersey laws, businesses and organizations that provide services to the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their assistance animals into areas where customers are typically allowed to go. This applies to all businesses that are open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis, buses and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks and zoos.

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