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Old 04-28-2011, 06:55 AM   #1
k9mania
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The service dog scam - big issue

I know that many agility people have their vet write a prescription so that the dogs can travel as service dogs. I also know many of them feel bad about the fact that they can do this. Read this article and tell us what you think.

Imagine you're confined to a wheelchair, blind, autistic or suffer from a seizure disorder. Your dog has been trained for two to three years to help you handle your disability which can include everything from diabetes to PTSD in these days of advanced service dog training techniques. Yet when you try to enter a supermarket, the manager informs you your dog is not welcome.




Now, that's not exactly legal. But it's not uncommon. And while most of this less-than-tolerant behavior is the unfortunate result of the kind of blithering ignorance that says dogs are dirty and bad for business, much of it is currently being stoked by those who would try to pass off their ill-behaved dogs as service dogs.
It's a commonplace enough scenario: A dog trainer, veterinarian, physician or psychologist is approached by the owner of a dog with a simple enough request: "Can you write something that says my pet is an assistance dog (or that I need one) so that I can take him x, y, or z place with me?"
Which would be wrong, of course. Not only is an individual veterinarian, trainer, physician or psychologist highly unlikely to be qualified to make an independent determination as to service dog status and/or need outside the framework of a multidisciplinary assistance pet program, but here's the obvious problem with this scenario: it's fraud.
Unfortunately, fraud or not, it's increasingly common to see everyday dogs trained or not passed off as "service dogs." Which, in part, happens because privacy laws are in place to protect Americans with disabilities from getting badgered by shopkeepers and restaurateurs as to their specific need for an assistance animal. Because if they can't ask, any idiot can keep a so-called "service" pet as long as they have the gall to call him one.
Sure, they're committing fraud. But that's the loophole: Even the cops can't ask to see proof of service pet status. And heres' the clincher: Even if they did it'd be hard to prove the dog was other that what its owner claimed it was. Now that the Internet abounds with sites that'll send you fake certification documents for a fee, all the less-than-scrupulous have to do is whip out a badge and have their pets don an orange vest.
Doubt that it happens? Then you're more gullible than I was when presented with the following recent scenarios:


1. The gorgeous pointer I saw prancing through the airport last week with one of those fake-o service dog vests. Now, the dog may have been the real deal but the outfit said otherwise, seeing as I recognized it as hailing from one of those Internet scam sites that offers certification and its trappings for a fee.
No, this was no service dog. I would almost bet my career on it.


See the rest of the article at:


http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenti...dog/46180352/1
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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While I'd love to be able to take my dogs more places with me, the service dog scam is just plain wrong. I would imagine that it's next to impossible to prove that a dog wearing a vest is NOT a service dog. People who pass pets off as service dogs are just displaying another unsavory aspect of irresponsible dog ownership.
I saw a woman carrying a Yorkie wearing a vest in a purse recently. I know there are "emotional support" animals that allow people to get into housing that otherwise prohibits pets (another brand of canned worms), but this does not qualify them as service animals.
These fakeries are causing increased issues for people with real disabilities

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Old 04-28-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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It is possible the Yorkie in the purse was a hearing dog or a medical alert dog. There are small legitimate service dogs. It is also quite possible it was fake. I think the current laws are too loose. While programs such as Canine companions for Independence have very high standards, anybody with a disability can train any dog to do a few simple tasks, and viola, a service dog. I think the public is going to get tired of fakers and poorly trained service dogs and demand restrictive laws. And as in many cases, innocent people will suffer.
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:41 AM   #4
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It is possible the Yorkie in the purse was a hearing dog or a medical alert dog. There are small legitimate service dogs. It is also quite possible it was fake.
No, she was waiting to board a plane and was laughing with her companions about how easy it was to get her dog on the flight at no additional charge. I really don't think it qualified as a service dog but no proof is required.

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Old 04-28-2011, 05:17 PM   #5
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How about a service bird? We met a Quaker Parrot today. It was a service bird. We were speaking on dog guides at a home school coop this morning. The lady with the parrot is mobility impaired. One of the birds main duties is to summon her husband to help her when her legs go into spasms. It also alerts her when strangers approach from the rear and protects her. It has a little red suit that says ''Service'' on it. The suit also holds a diaper. I am afraid the newly revised ADA limits their public access.

Our dogs were a hit with the kids. We had both 9 years old Sampson, now retired, and 9 month old Delilah, too young to start training as a dog guide.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:54 PM   #6
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I think the rules need to be tightened up too. Unfortunitly the owners and managers in these public places dont know how to spot the frauds.
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Old 04-28-2011, 05:56 PM   #7
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I would love to have kinder treatment of dogs in the US. In England, I saw dogs in stores and restaurants and many public places banned in the US. All of the dogs that I saw were extremely well trained and behaving perfectly.
However, using fraud as a means of getting this treatment for all dogs is just wrong. When an untrained "fake" is behaving badly, it only makes the public more hesitant in accepting the role of legitimate service dogs. We don't want to distract from the valuable services these dogs do by giving them a bad name by dogs that are not what they appear to be.
There are better ways to try to gain access to more public places; perhaps with public information campaigns to show the public how clean and well trained dogs can behave. Perhaps a card for dogs that pass their CGC would be in order to be allowed in stores, ect. with the idea that they could be asked to leave if they were disruptive. It might encourage people to train their dogs instead of committing fraud. JUST A THOUGHT
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by elsasmom View Post
I would love to have kinder treatment of dogs in the US. In England, I saw dogs in stores and restaurants and many public places banned in the US. All of the dogs that I saw were extremely well trained and behaving perfectly.
However, using fraud as a means of getting this treatment for all dogs is just wrong. When an untrained "fake" is behaving badly, it only makes the public more hesitant in accepting the role of legitimate service dogs. We don't want to distract from the valuable services these dogs do by giving them a bad name by dogs that are not what they appear to be.
There are better ways to try to gain access to more public places; perhaps with public information campaigns to show the public how clean and well trained dogs can behave. Perhaps a card for dogs that pass their CGC would be in order to be allowed in stores, ect. with the idea that they could be asked to leave if they were disruptive. It might encourage people to train their dogs instead of committing fraud. JUST A THOUGHT
I couldn't have said it better!!! Well done!!!
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