FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 1996                            (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

                                 
     DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO JOIN EFFORT TO ENABLE PEOPLE 
          WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS TO TRAVEL TO HAWAII
                                
     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today asked a
federal court for permission to join a private suit seeking to
ensure that people who use guide dogs can travel to Hawaii for
work or pleasure without having to put their dogs in quarantine
for four months.

     Relying on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) -- a
law that celebrates its sixth anniversary next week -- the
Justice Department seeks to help remove barriers to travelers
with disabilities who, because of quarantine requirements, have
been unable to travel to Hawaii.

     Scientific evidence shows that a system of vaccination for
guide dogs proposed by the plaintiff would keep the state free
from rabies as effectively as the current policy, which requires
all carniverous animals that enter Hawaii to submit to a 120-day
quarantine.

     In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, the
Justice Department is asking to intervene in Crowder v. Kitagawa,
a 1993 class action suit on behalf of a group of individuals with
disabilities.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has already
held last April that the quarantine policy violates the ADA
because it discriminates against individuals who use guide dogs.

     Now the District Court must decide whether a plan proposed
by the private plaintiffs to vaccinate the animals is a
reasonable modification to Hawaii's quarantine policy. 

     "Right now, people who rely upon guide dogs are essentially
denied the chance to visit Hawaii,"  said Deval L. Patrick,
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  "Modifying the
current quarantine policy by vaccinating guide dogs is safe and
reasonable.  It will let people who rely on guide dogs enjoy the
wonders of Hawaii and travel there on business."  The exemption
from the quarantine policy would apply only to guide dogs.

     The private class action suit was brought in March 1993 by
Vernon Crowder, a California resident, as well as by a number of
Hawaii residents who are blind and rely on guide dogs.  In
addition to people with disabilities who wish to travel to
Hawaii, the quarantine policy also affects individuals with
disabilities living in Hawaii who wish to obtain or travel with a
guide dog.  As a result of the quarantine, it is costly and
difficult for Hawaiians to obtain a guide dog.  Trainers of guide
dogs from the U. S. mainland may be reluctant to send a service
animal to Hawaii because the long quarantine may cause a dog to
lose its training.  

     Under Title II of the ADA, state and local governments must 
make reasonable modifications to their policies if those policies
discriminate against people with disabilities, as long as those
changes don't fundamentally alter the goal of the policy or program.

     Next Friday, July 26, marks the sixth anniversary of the
enactment of the ADA.  Over the past six years the Justice
Department has been working to educate Americans about their
obligations under the law and the rights of people with
disabilities.  

     Citizens interested in learning more about the law can
contact the Justice Department's ADA information line.  The
hotline was established by Attorney General Janet Reno as part of
a nationwide campaign to educate the public about the law.  The
number is 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).    Reporters who
are covering the ADA sixth anniversary can call (202) 616-2765
for Justice Department anniversary materials.
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