I have a “bone to pick” with the “service dogs” that are rampantly taking over the United States. I have seen more “service dogs” in the last year than any other time I can remember: unfortunately, there is a huge reason why this is happening.
As you know, service dogs play an important role in many people’s lives. For example, many members of our military who have come back from Iraq/Afghanistan, and many members of the general public who truly rely on these dogs to perform a specialized task to get them through their daily lives.
As you may or may not know, according to the ADA (American with Disabilities Act), a service dog can accompany a person “anywhere” that they go. The only 2 questions anyone are allowed to ask is, “Are they a service dog because of a disability?” and “What task are they trained to perform?”
By law, those are the ONLY two things that a business or individual may ask. You are required to show NO identification/certifications, no proof, nothing. You answer those two questions and you have an undisputed service dog.
The recent growing problem lies in the fact that the ADA rules are so strict on businesses (limited to those two questions) and there is NO official service dog certification, registry, or testing. For example, I can go to Google, and type in, “make my dog a service dog,” and there are literally countless websites offering everything you need (Id, tags, etc) for $59.00 and now you technically have a “certified service dog.”
Now, your highly people/dog aggressive (insert any breed here) is a service dog that can go with you anywhere: hotels (that do not allow dogs), cabs, restaurants, stores, and the list goes on and on.
Read this article that just came out yesterday about this growing problem:
Seen At 11: Man’s Best Impostor? Fake Service Dogs A Growing Problem
This is bad on numerous levels! First, it discredits the people of the US who “truly” have a service dog, now people assume they are just a phony, as well. Second, it puts businesses, hotels, restaurants (and any other place) in a bad position, because they can clearly see your dog isn’t trained; however, according the ADA, they can only ask them those two questions, and that’s it.
What’s more ridiculous to me, is there is a standardized/certification test for therapy dogs and therapy dogs do not have NEARLY as much access to public facilities as service dogs.
I would like to propose legislation where certified service dogs have to pass a standardized obedience, behavioral, and socialization test (similar to Therapy Dog or Public Access Testing). This database would be a true national/federal registry that have standardized ID cards.
Currently, I have contacted state representatives in order to try to push this legislation at the state level and ideally at a national level.
This way, we all at least know that they have met certain behavioral and obedience requirements prior to having the ability to slapping a computer created ID and a $2.00 patch on them. As of now, I can take ANY DOG IN AMERICA and claim it’s a service dog and literally nothing can be said or done about it. Unfortunately, this is done with thousands upon thousands of dogs per day by phony people who just want to take their dog with them everywhere they go.
I also would like to see fines implemented for phony people who do try to pass off their dogs as service dogs, just so they have the ability to take “Fido” everywhere.
Ideally, I would like to see a standardized certification and a note from a doctor to accompany the ID (doesn’t need to specify “why;” however, just said that you are aided by a service dog), this would greatly help eliminate this growing trend and mainly only have service dogs for people who “truly” need them.
Please share this so we can help put an end to the thousands of phony and integrity-lacking people. I have many friends from Iraq/Afghanistan who served their country bravely and now NEED a service dog to get through their daily lives, these people are a mockery of them and should be penalized. To clarify, there are numerous non-military people with disabilities who have a great need for these dogs, as well!
We have stiff penalties for impersonating a police officer, member of the military, government official (etc); therefore, we should also have these things in place for people who pass off their fake service dog.
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