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Old 18 September 2013, 05:56 PM
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Canada This Fallís Hottest Accessory: Fake Service Dogs?

http://www.care2.com/causes/this-fal...vice-dogs.html

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A growing number of dog owners are trying to pass their untrained companions off as service animals — and they’re actually getting away with it. Many owners who want to take their dogs into movie theaters, restaurants, or on public transit see it as a quick solution, but people with disabilities are starting to complain that the number of “imposters” is making it hard for people with legitimate service animals to be taken seriously.

It turns out it’s not hard to do — there is no national regulation for licensing service animals. Owners do not have any kind of special ID for their pets, and they are allowed to purchase service dog harnesses and vests without providing proof that their dog has been trained to meet any particular special needs. Unfortunately, there is no law against selling knock-off service dog gear.
What a bunch of entitled asshats. Anecdotally, I have known one lady from my retail days who had a chihuahua that she carried in her purse and claimed to be a service pet. I didn't give enough of a shit (let's face it, it was WalMart, no one cared) to call her on it, and probably would have given her the benefit of the doubt if it were well behaved, but it yapped constantly, pissed in her purse, and was as easily distracted as chihuahuas are on average. That thing was as likely to be a service animal as I am to be the Queen of England.

Last edited by Mateus; 18 September 2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: ETA: I thought about putting this in Animal Kingdom, but the focus is more on the jerks doing this, not the animals
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  #2  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:08 PM
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Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
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I have a friend who has a service dog trained to alert him when he is about to have a seizure. The dog is not otherwise very well trained, but the dog has never failed at his job and once even alerted a woman who had never had a seizure before.
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  #3  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:09 PM
RichardM RichardM is online now
 
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Your Majesty

Wait, are you trying to say you aren't the queen?
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  #4  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:12 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I have a friend who has a service dog trained to alert him when he is about to have a seizure. The dog is not otherwise very well trained, but the dog has never failed at his job and once even alerted a woman who had never had a seizure before.
How "not well trained" is it? Any service animal should have extensive training as it must accompany its person in public.
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:14 PM
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This has been going on for years. I used to have a client who had a fake service dog vest made up for her Shih tzu so she could take him on airplanes and into restaurants. She also used the service dog excuse as a way to keep the dog in an otherwise pet-free condo. (The dog had severe separation anxiety and would scream bloody murder for hours if left alone; hence why her neighbors complained.)

I always wanted to anonymously report her to some agency or fraud division, but I don't think there was/is one.
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:14 PM
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Is there any evidence at all that this is a growing problem?
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:21 PM
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Do anecdotes and personal observations count as evidence? (I don't know what other kind of proof you want.) I frequently see people pushing their little poodles and chihuahuas around in shopping carts in places like grocery stores and Home Depot. These are not legitimate service dogs; no vest, no training, they are not "on the job". They're companion animals that people get away with carrying around in purses and shopping carts because store managers are too gutless to confront the owner and say "This is clearly not a working service animal."
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
Do anecdotes and personal observations count as evidence? (I don't know what other kind of proof you want.) I frequently see people pushing their little poodles and chihuahuas around in shopping carts in places like grocery stores and Home Depot. These are not legitimate service dogs; no vest, no training, they are not "on the job". They're companion animals that people get away with carrying around in purses and shopping carts because store managers are too gutless to confront the owner and say "This is clearly not a working service animal."
No. Evidence counts as evidence; anecdotes alone are meaningless. A comparison of the number of cases now with the number of cases in the past would be a start.
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:31 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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There is no way to get evidence, really, as the data isn't tracked. There is no organization that actually certifies service dogs. Anyone can call their pet a service dog any time they want.
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:32 PM
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Then I guess the answer to my question is no.
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  #11  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Is there any evidence at all that this is a growing problem?
That's what i am wondering, too. I have views that are not contradictory, but that lead to conflicting feelings about such stories:

1. People who really, consciously fake a need just because are entitled jerks, and deserve their own level of Hell, were there such a thing.

2. Focus on "faking" being widespread and a problem may be an underhanded way, or more likely a well-meaning but have the unintentional outcome, of making things harder for people who do have legitimate service animals. Especially those who do not have an "obvious" disability or one traditionally associated with service dogs.

There is a third item, that some people might think they need (and may be right) the dog for something like anxiety, yet not have an actually trained or placed service animal. So they are self-treating as it were, but not faking.


In a partial answer of why it might seem like this is an increasing problem, even if it is not, I have a few hypotheses:

1. The increase of internet commerce in the past decade makes it true that anyone can easily order a service animal vest if they want to fake it, so it might to happen more.

2. Service animals are used for a lot more things than blindness and severe physical disabilities, so legitimate service animals might seem fake to the uninformed. Already mentioned examples are seizures and social phobia.

3. Along with the wide breadth of uses for service animals comes the point I made about self-declared service animals. A blind person probably would not do well with an untrained dog as a guide, but a person with an anxiety order may feel more at ease with their "regular" dog at side.
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  #12  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:39 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
but a person with an anxiety order may feel more at ease with their "regular" dog at side.
Hey, I get that totally. I'd love to be able to have Barkley accompany me places where I'm likely to feel anxiety, and he is a superbly trained and wonderfully behaved dog.
But I also believe that service dogs should have to pass a test and be certified in order to accompany their owners in public.
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  #13  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:47 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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I agree with at least your sentiment, Ryda. I was pointing out a possible phenomenon of not official (there is no official really, as you said earlier) but not completely made up reason for service dogs.

The reason I said I agree with the sentiment is that in practice, my concern would be that we not place a burden on the people who need and have legitimate service animals. I think that could be overcome-people get prescriptions and certifications for all sorts of things. So I guess it could be done.

Sorry if I am not clear on my position. I have a bit of mixed feelings. I would like it to be tight, but not burdensome for legit people.
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Old 18 September 2013, 06:49 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
I would like it to be tight, but not burdensome for legit people.
I totally understand.

Heck, if I had the courage, I'd tackle starting some sort of certification organization.
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  #15  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:51 PM
Aud 1 Aud 1 is offline
 
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There is a human training component too. If these folks are letting kids play with their pets it will make it harder for those with working animals.
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  #16  
Old 18 September 2013, 06:58 PM
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I don't want people with disabilities to have to document them to every curious passerby, though. Really, Nunuvya.
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  #17  
Old 18 September 2013, 07:35 PM
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To any passerby, yes none of their business. To the manager of a store or restaurant who is being asked to make an exception, possibly within the realm of his or her businesses (literally).
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Old 18 September 2013, 07:44 PM
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Every store? You go to the mall, you have to seek out the manager of every store to prove you can go in and browse?

Plus, the complaints I'm seeing come from people who fall into the category of curious passerby. If the person with the service animal has indeed shown her credentials to the manager, how will that help the perception?
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  #19  
Old 18 September 2013, 08:12 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
I don't want people with disabilities to have to document them to every curious passerby, though.
Which is why a certifying organization would be massively helpful. Once certified, you could get a recognizable badge of some sort that would clue people into the fact that the dog is legit.
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  #20  
Old 18 September 2013, 08:24 PM
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I think people would probably fake the badges.
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