Did you know that more and more people are pretending that their pet dogs are service dogs in order to gain access and privileges normally reserved for legitimate service dogs? Unfortunately it’s all too easy to download fake service dog vests and certificates from the Internet and pass any dog off as a real service dog.
Genuine service dogs are highly trained animals that provide valuable services for people with such disabilities as sight and hearing impairment, psychological disorders like PTSD, autism, epilepsy, allergies, paralysis, and diabetes. These amazing dogs perform many important functions and improve their owners’ quality of life.
Real service dogs are allowed access to places normally off-limits to pets. Unethical pet owners are taking advantage of this access and using phony service dog gear and credentials to bring their pets on board with them on airplanes and trains, and into restaurants. They even use the service dog excuse to avoid paying hotel pet fees.
Service dogs come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s hard to spot a phony one, particularly if the dog is well-behaved. What can be done to stop this unethical activity? Advocates argue that official government identification should be issued to real service dogs and the people who genuinely need them. And more needs to be done to crack down on service dog fraud. California is one of the few states where this is treated as a crime, punishable by a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail.
Interested in learning more about this issue? Pets Adviser has created a special 20 page report about the fake service dog problem. You can download the report HERE. Get involved and help put a stop to this unscrupulous practice. Be the person your dog thinks you are and do the right thing!
- Aaron Seminoff