" />
Home > Dogs and the Law, Florida Animal Law, Working Dogs > The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

August 17th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
Fake Service Dog ID

Fake Service Dog IDs are Easy to Come By

Recently, as my husband and I were waiting to board a plane from Atlanta to Tampa, we noticed a young woman walking around at the same gate.  With one hand, she held a cell phone to her ear.  With the other, she held a canvas bag.

Hanging limply in the crook of the woman’s cell phone arm was a tiny Chihuahua with a pink, rhinestone-studded collar around its neck.

We watched the woman for fifteen or twenty minutes as she walked back and forth carrying on her never ending phone conversation, all the while clutching that sad looking little dog, its back paws dangling as she gripped it by its stomach in the crook of her arm.

Finally, my cynical husband echoed my own thoughts as he remarked, “Just watch.  She’s going to claim that is a service dog so she can take it on the plane.”

Sure enough, as she boarded the plane, the woman flashed some sort of laminated card and, without further inquiry, she went to her seat.  By then, the little Chihuahua was stuffed into the canvas bag.  Cell Phone Lady was still on the cell phone.

Phony Service Dog IDs

Of course, I cannot say for certain that the woman I saw was not disabled.  Many disabilities are not readily observable to strangers.  And I can’t say for sure that the sad looking little Chihuahua hanging there like a rag doll was not a service dog, trained to help the woman with whatever disability she suffered from.

But, given the look of the entire scenario, it did raise my suspicions, particularly as the dog had more of an appearance of an unwilling and not very well-cared-for accessory than an animal trained to assist someone with a disability.

And there have been a number of disturbing stories in the news recently about nondisabled dog owners trying to pass off their pets as service animals in order to gain access with their dogs to restaurants, stores, restricted housing, public transportation, and other areas where dogs would not otherwise be permitted.

Fake Service Dog IDs are Easy to Obtain

Fake service dog vests, ID cards, certificates, and other indicia of legitimacy are readily available for sale on the internet for anyone who wants to spend a little money.  The problem is, these fake service dogs and their owners are doing a disservice to people with real disabilities who use trained animals for legitimate assistance.

On top of just plain fraudulent behavior, these phony service dog handlers:

  • Often fail to properly clean up after their animals;
  • Frequently bring animals that are poorly trained or badly behaved into establishments; and
  • As a result, give legitimate service dog handlers a bad name.

Florida’s Definition of a Service Animal

Under Florida Statute § 413.08, a “service animal” is defined as “an animal that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability.”  This broad definition includes animals (not necessarily just dogs) that are trained to perform such tasks as:

  • Guiding a visually impaired or blind person
  • Alerting someone who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Assisting someone in a wheelchair
  • Assisting with mobility or balance
  • Alerting and protecting someone with seizures
  • Retrieving objects
  • Performing other tasks as needed

Florida law specifically provides that a service animal “is not a pet.”

Florida Law:  Penalties for False Service Dog Credentials?

Service Dogs are Trained

True Service Dogs are Trained to Help Their Disabled Owners

Florida law provides that a person accompanied by a service dog does not have to provide documentation that the dog is trained as a service dog.  An establishment may, however, ask if the animal is a service animal, and may ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform in order to determine whether the animal is really a service animal or just a pet.

And the establishment may exclude or remove an animal from the premises, even if it really is a service animal, “if the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.”

Although there are criminal penalties for people and companies who deny or interfere with the accommodation of a disabled person accompanied by a service animal, Florida law does not appear to provide any penalty for persons who fraudulently seek accommodation through the use of an animal falsely identified as a service animal.

How to Spot a Phony Service Dog

Wayne K. Roustan in the Sun Sentinel reports that the best way to determine whether a dog is a legitimate service dog is to observe its behavior.  Real service dogs:

  • Do not appear restless
  • Do not jump or bark
  • Will obey the disabled owner’s commands
  • Will perform tasks
  • Will lie down passively when instructed

It is a disgrace that any nondisabled dog owner would try to gain an undeserved accommodation for their pet by passing it off as a service animal.  Real service animals perform valuable tasks for their disabled owners, and several years of often very expensive training can go into making a dog a true service dog.

Nevertheless, as long as sellers are willing to sell, and owners are willing to buy, phony “credentials” for pets, all with apparent impunity, the practice of unscrupulous pet owners passing their pets off as service animals will continue.

Post to Twitter

  1. Gilda
    December 4th, 2011 at 02:52 | #1

    Actually, the dog was probably an Emotional Service Animal, which is allowed on an airline flight as long as the owner can provide medical documentation that the ESA is required. She would have had to get that from her doctor.

    You should see what I had to go through to take my service dog (who is also a Chihuahua) to Hawaii with me last month. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I cannot be without her, as she alerts me to a medical condition.

    Service dogs come in all sizes, and aren’t just large breed dogs. It’s sad that people frequently assume that a small breed dog can’t be a service animal. Also, nothing says that the animal cannot be carried. Personally, I like that my SD can be carried, as sometimes, it makes things much more convenient for me when I’m in a crowded place (like, say, shopping malls during the holiday season).

    Just a heads up for you here.

  2. Mindy
    December 29th, 2011 at 10:11 | #2

    Gilda – That is INCORRECT. An emotional support animal does NOT qualify under the ADA. “Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets”—United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division) http://www.lapublishing.com/blog/2009/tbi-canine-service-dog/

  3. January 31st, 2012 at 03:02 | #3

    It sounded like the owner needed to be trained how to treat her little dog.

    An emotional support animal is not a service dog. A service dog has to demonstrate some type of physical action that helps the owner.

  4. Lorena
    March 16th, 2012 at 23:10 | #4

    Mindy- actually, psychiatric service dogs really are considered service dogs, provided that the service they give includes the interruption of impulsive or destructive behavior. A dog of any size can perform this task, although if the prevention of impulsive or destructive behavior includes physical restraint of the person with a disability by said dog, then the dog can be the size of what most consider a service dog to be. Here, check this out:

    “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” *

    Reference: 28 CFR 36.104; (CFR = Code of Federal Regulations);

    Website: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html

  5. March 31st, 2012 at 16:33 | #5

    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
    Lena´s last blog post ..michaels coupons

  6. April 18th, 2012 at 20:23 | #6

    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome weblog!
    Dorothea´s last blog post ..Joanns Fabric Coupons

  7. Celina
    May 9th, 2012 at 03:40 | #7

    Gilda- you are INCORRECT. An ESA is not a service dog but IS by the ADA allowed on a plane and in housing where dogs may not be allowed, such as various apartments. Please do your research. nsarco.com is a good place to start.
    @Mindy

  8. Seth
    May 11th, 2012 at 21:20 | #8

    Celina, what part of 28 CFR 36.104 do you fail to understand?

    Service animal means ANY DOG that is INDIVIDUALLY TRAINED to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, PSYCHIATRIC, intellectual, or other mental disability.

    If the individual with an emotional disability, such as someone who experiences panic or anxiety attacks (like my significant other) has a dog that is trained to help relieve those anxiety/panic attacks, or recognize them when they are coming on and alert the disabled person or others, then this “emotional support” certainly qualifies under the ADA.

    Moreover, due to medical privacy laws, a business owner may ask what service function the dog provides, but the owner may simply refuse to answer that question because doing so is an indirect invasion of the owners medical privacy, and the owner NEED NOT ANSWER such intrusive questions. All that is required is that the owner either affirm that the dog is a service animal or identify the dog as a service animal by, for example, having the dog wear a harness, vest or other indication that it’s a service animal.

    The Justice Department says this in it’s commonly asked questions document:

    “3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

    A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.”

    The definitions and requirements for service animals have been left deliberately broad and open because it is neither possible nor just to strictly regulate this field. So long as a particular service animal is not disruptive or dangerous, there simply should be no questions raised to the owner about the necessity of that animal. It’s not up to you, or “Frankie” or anyone else to judge whether or not another person has a disability that requires or is helped by the presence of a service animal. Doing so is discriminatory on its face, and it’s precisely what the ADA intends to prevent.

    What it boils down to is that this “problem” with “fake service dogs” is not actually a problem at all. If the dog misbehaves, it doesn’t matter if it’s a legitimate service dog or not, it can be removed. If the dog does not misbehave, it’s nobody’s business what service the dog performs. Nor does a “fake” service dog impugn the reputation of “real” service dogs, because a business owner CANNOT EXCLUDE any service animal unless that particular animal misbehaves or creates a danger to others. Therefore the argument that someone passing their dog off as a service animal threatens the “privileges” of real service animals is just a bogus argument based in what amounts to jealousy by “legitimate” disabled persons who think it’s an “undeserved accommodation.”

    Who cares whether it’s deserved or undeserved? So long as the animal behaves, no harm is done and the law expressly forbids discrimination based on a business owner’s prior experience with other service animals:

    “10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?

    A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.”

  9. ginny carro
    June 17th, 2012 at 14:08 | #9

    yes you cannot tell if an animal is legitimately recognised as a service animal however on traveling, in an airplane you must be prepared to have legal documentation from a vet and or medical up to date signed papers.I WOULDNT TRAVEL WITH THEM.

  10. June 30th, 2012 at 11:08 | #10

    @Gilda
    Thank you so much for your comment! I have a small maltese and I get so sick of people saying, “Don’t service dogs have to be german shepards or something like that. I’ve never seen a Maltese as a service dog!”
    My answer to those people is you have now! Truth is, i am a veteran, I suffer from PTSD and seizures and Amos alerts when I am about to have one! He’s amazing and he’s not a pet! He’s part of our family! These people can claim that having a certificate denotes a fake all day long but some people in the South just have to see that little card so that can justify in their minds letting a “DOG” in their restraunt so I personally would appreciate it if you guys would stop spreading that propaganda! Your making it hard on those of us who already have a hard time and and actually find that card useful! sorry!

  11. Beth Wheeling
    July 3rd, 2012 at 18:47 | #11

    Seth,
    I care if it is real service dog. If it is not you are committing a federal crime.
    You are incorrectly quoting the law for psychiatric service dogs as the same law for emotional support dogs. Emotional support dogs are not trained to mitigate psychiatric symptoms. They just reduce anxiety or depression by being there.Psychiatric service dogs, which are trained to aid and assist people with emotional disabilities like PTSD or dissociative disorders. t
    An emotional support dog is not a service dog. A psychiatric service dog is a highly trained animal that assists by calming the person; getting then out of upsetting situations, recognizing when they are stating to dissociate or get destructively angry.
    All service dogs mitigate a disability. Emotional support dogs do not do that. Unless your dog is trained to do something that assists you in managing your disability (besides just showing up) it is an emotional support dog. Why don’t you write Service Dog Central who posted this article. They will set you straight.

  12. Enough said
    July 26th, 2012 at 13:54 | #12

    Seth :
    Celina, what part of 28 CFR 36.104 do you fail to understand?
    Service animal means ANY DOG that is INDIVIDUALLY TRAINED to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, PSYCHIATRIC, intellectual, or other mental disability.
    If the individual with an emotional disability, such as someone who experiences panic or anxiety attacks (like my significant other) has a dog that is trained to help relieve those anxiety/panic attacks, or recognize them when they are coming on and alert the disabled person or others, then this “emotional support” certainly qualifies under the ADA.
    Moreover, due to medical privacy laws, a business owner may ask what service function the dog provides, but the owner may simply refuse to answer that question because doing so is an indirect invasion of the owners medical privacy, and the owner NEED NOT ANSWER such intrusive questions. All that is required is that the owner either affirm that the dog is a service animal or identify the dog as a service animal by, for example, having the dog wear a harness, vest or other indication that it’s a service animal.
    The Justice Department says this in it’s commonly asked questions document:
    “3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?
    A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.”
    The definitions and requirements for service animals have been left deliberately broad and open because it is neither possible nor just to strictly regulate this field. So long as a particular service animal is not disruptive or dangerous, there simply should be no questions raised to the owner about the necessity of that animal. It’s not up to you, or “Frankie” or anyone else to judge whether or not another person has a disability that requires or is helped by the presence of a service animal. Doing so is discriminatory on its face, and it’s precisely what the ADA intends to prevent.
    What it boils down to is that this “problem” with “fake service dogs” is not actually a problem at all. If the dog misbehaves, it doesn’t matter if it’s a legitimate service dog or not, it can be removed. If the dog does not misbehave, it’s nobody’s business what service the dog performs. Nor does a “fake” service dog impugn the reputation of “real” service dogs, because a business owner CANNOT EXCLUDE any service animal unless that particular animal misbehaves or creates a danger to others. Therefore the argument that someone passing their dog off as a service animal threatens the “privileges” of real service animals is just a bogus argument based in what amounts to jealousy by “legitimate” disabled persons who think it’s an “undeserved accommodation.”
    Who cares whether it’s deserved or undeserved? So long as the animal behaves, no harm is done and the law expressly forbids discrimination based on a business owner’s prior experience with other service animals:
    “10. Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?
    A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.”

    THANK YOU.

  13. Jay
    August 13th, 2012 at 02:52 | #13

    Gilda- you are INCORRECT. An ESA is not a service dog but IS by the ADA allowed on a plane and in housing where dogs may not be allowed, such as various apartments. Please do your research. nsarco.com is a good place to start.

    Celina, actually Nsarco.com is a “for fee schemed” company and no documentation is actually required for a service dog. Please see attached link:

    http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/node/509

    A lot of people on here have good points. As long as the dog is behaving, you can’t raise questions. You don’t have a right to ask anything other than those two basic questions and the person has the right to refuse. I have an autism spectrum disorder and as much as my dog calms me and helps me through sensory issues, he is NOT a service animal. I’m having a hell of a time finding housing for us, because he’s a German Shepherd and although technically he could be seen as an ESA, that doesn’t help us much when we’re being told that not only does the place not take dogs, but even if they did, many places refuse to take a Shepherd based on the fact that they’re listed as an “Aggressive breed.”

  14. August 20th, 2012 at 22:01 | #14

    What kills me about all of this discussion is how we RARELY even see these dogs around. I am a 100% disabled veteran myself with PTSD. I lived 4 years in Las Vegas, 4 years in Nashville TN and 4 yrs in Ft. Lauderdale FL. I am from Los Angeles and have been to London. My goodness…you just don’e see them everywhere! LMAO. A dog is helpful in ways you cant imagine. What the hell does it matter if it is a physical handicap or emotional or mental? How many couples want to go out to a bar or a night club or even a fancy restaurant and bring their dog along? NONE! LOLOLOL. How many dogs do you see piling onto the plane when you fly. Baby’s vomit, babies cry and that bothers me. Yes, I have a child. Everyone mind your own business…yes? I think I will go buy Cupcake a red vest just to piss off all the nosy people and because she would curl up under any seat and velcro her body to my leg if she could. Clearly if you feel like you absolutely must bring your dog with you everywhere you go…then damnit you need to bring the dog and by golly if you can get that dog to behave than you are lucky and should be allowed just like anyone else with a physical disability. Dogs are helping people. Just train them PLEASE. But you should be allowed. Just pick up the poop—I mean its not like Service dogs should be allowed to poop indoors. I woudl rather sit next to your dog than a man sometimes. Now there you have it. :o) WOOF WOOF

  15. elizabeth jones
    August 31st, 2012 at 23:41 | #15

    Well said, Jenine – people, why don’t you just mind your own business? The folks with service dogs trained to help them in unique and particular ways are absolutely necessary and appreciated by everyone – those that have emotional support dogs NEED THEM JUST AS MUCH – why make it your business to classify whether one is more important than the other? Bottom line – if a dog misbehaves – it can be removed from the (business), otherwise – let the dogs do their work – whatever their masters deem necessary as it has been for countless years of history.

  16. Michelle
    September 16th, 2012 at 01:57 | #16

    Katie, Gilda, Jenine, etc.,
    Thanks! I agree. I have a small service dog, and because my spinal issue is not obvious, and I am legally disabled, I feel better having the card/ID. (because on the outside, most of the time I look perfectly fine.) I hired a professional trainer to help me with teaching her tasks, and she now turns on & off my lights when I cannot reach them, picks up things I drop, etc. She will also bring my glasses or pills. I think service animals are amazing, and don’t think I should be made to feel guilty because there are those who are so much more “disabled” than I. The ADA allows me her help. I purchased the tag & ID only after her training, and her trainer told me she was ready. As there ARE no real Documentations available, why should I feel uncomfortable when someone asks me for them? It is easier for me to show her little “fake” ID, than to start in explaining ADA REGULATIONS. Cut us a break here?

  17. Bryan Copeland
    September 16th, 2012 at 19:11 | #17

    These false service mutt acsessories make me sick. I do not believe anyone above who claim to have one! You are morally bankrupt and laws should be made to outlaw the practice and severely fine these idiots. I hope its worth it. I believe in karma you will get yours!

  18. Ellennor Wolfe
    September 18th, 2012 at 12:53 | #18

    Emotional Support Animals ARE covered under the ADA for CERTAIN rights. They are allowed on airplanes flights, and you are allowed to apply for no pet housing with them. They are NOT service animals. But they do still have rights! I know this because I have a letter of prescription from my doctor that allows me these rights for my severe anxiety disorder. I need him just as much as someone who has a trained service animal. He is in tune with my anxiety levels and provides a little extra affection if I’m bordering on having a panic attack. It would be great if people pulled their heads out of their butts and let me bring him into public, because honestly that’s when I need him the most. My dog is a small breed, so don’t assume small dogs can’t be ESAs or even a service animal, and don’t judge someone who carries around a small dog and jump to conclusions that it must be a fake. Ignorance.

  19. September 24th, 2012 at 15:25 | #19

    Why is this such a big deal? Who cares if small dogs are on the plane. I would rather sit with the small dogs person than the people with screaming kids any day. People do this because we are way too stringient with our dog laws. I should be allowed to take my dog with me anywhere as long as he/she is well behaved. Trust me when I say my dogs are cleaner and better behaved than most of the kids I see on planes and eating out. Go to France. There’s a dog at every table.
    Pam White´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  20. Matthew Hanson
    October 28th, 2012 at 05:01 | #20

    First of all, here is the direct link to the revised ADA code pertaining to service animals. It’s an easy read (when it doubt, get it directly from the source).

    http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

    You can ask two questions when it comes to service animals.
    1) Is this a service animal that is required because of a disability?
    2) What task is this animal trained to do?

    As mentioned above, ESA’s are not service animals but according to the ADA link above, they do fall under other laws such as the Air Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act.

    It is important for owner’s of both businesses and service animals to note that service animals in training are NOT service animals. While you can allow these animals into your business, you are not legally obligated to do so, at least in Washington State (source: Washington State Human Rights Commission: http://hum.wa.gov/FAQ/FAQServiceAnimal.html)

    Also, the law pertains to service animals servicing those with disabilities. The law does not pertain to individuals who do not have disabilities with a service animal. Therefore, you cannot take Grandma’s service dog into a business and legally apply the ADA act since the dog is for Grandma’s disability specifically and not yours. A business can legally require that service animal to be removed since the person it serves is not present and therefore the animal will not serve its intended function as a service animal.

    Also, according to the ADA revisions, dogs and miniature horses are the only service animals now recognized by the ADA. I have yet to see a miniature horse service animal come into a business, but read the ADA link to know your responsibilities and rights as both business owners and service animal owners.

  21. Lydia
    November 29th, 2012 at 18:20 | #21

    This is an interesting topic. I bought the service dog vest my partner wears. He was adopted at the Humane Society. He went to a prision program for basic commands training for 6 months and was introduced to his task training. His tasks were completed with me at home with the aid of a professional trainer. He assists with my TBI issues. When I first brought him home and was going out in public, I felt guilty because he wasn’t a “real service dog yet.” He wasn’t fully trained. But, he needed to be with me to understand when and how to intervene. And, for the first few times, just exposure to a store. I wasn’t trying to pass off a pet. He has made outstanding progress in his training and has 3 solid tasks now.

  22. Darcy
    November 29th, 2012 at 21:34 | #22

    Hmm, the comments are almost a more interesting read than the article. 🙂

    Whereas I agree that many people are abusing the situation by trying to pass off pets as ‘service animals’, and not just dogs, I think we all need to calm down about it and remember that ANY animal, even a legit service animal, can and should be asked off any premises if it is misbehaving. Knowing that any proper service OR emotional support animal will have basic if not advanced training, people should just keep their eyes open for the obvious fakes, and chill about all others.

    I have several mental disorders, including social anxiety. Since I can’t drive, I have to take the bus everywhere…and being surrounded and pressed in by strangers is the #1 trigger. I currently own 2 animals that serve as therapy for me, and one of them is becoming my ESA, but he’s…rather different. He’s a blue tongue skink – a mid-sized lizard. I like to call him a furless dog, as he acts just like one. I am working on figuring out how and Where I can bring him out with me to prevent anxiety attacks. Luckily my main issue, buses, isn’t a problem because up here animals of all sorts are allowed on as long as they’re clean and well behaved. But before I can bring him with me I have to make sure the places I use the bus to reach will allow me to have him. And yes, FYI he does have a carrier that I would always have with me. So, we shall see. 🙂

  23. Eliz
    December 1st, 2012 at 14:12 | #23

    ACTUALLY, seth- there are 2 questions that can be asked legelly by the ADA. how about you do YOUR OWN research.
    1. is the dog a service animal required bc of disability?
    2. what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

    @Seth

  24. Julie
    December 1st, 2012 at 22:16 | #24

    I was planning a trip, and I noticed that when I bought a plane ticket directly from the airline, the representative I spoke with said that since my dog is specifically a psychiatric service dog, she needs to be documented differently from other service dogs. This sounds discriminatory to me. The airline (this was US Airways, and I assume all airlines) requires the initial document from the psychiatrist, which I normally don’t carry around and consider to be like my dog’s social security card. The airline also required a document stating that my dog was necessary either for the trip itself or that I needed my dog at my destination, or both. Like the contributors above, I also have a small psychiatric service dog who sits in my lap on the buses, and occasionally in a sling. I sure wouldn’t want her on the floor of a crowded, dirty subway during rush hour! She is just too small. The airline rep suggested that since she is under 15 pounds, I should probably have her in a carrier. I did not object and thankfully, my dog enjoys hiding out in her carrier. We ended up cancelling the trip for medical reasons so I don’t know how it would have ended up. Though I questioned the double standard, I figured standing there in front of TSA and some big important-looking uniformed security personnel is no time for me to be mouthing off about the ADA and parity.

  25. Paul
    December 3rd, 2012 at 02:18 | #25

    The conversation about Emotional Support Animals is absolutely inane. The people who say that Emotional Support Animals are not ‘service animals’ under the ADA are absolutely correct. However, they are ignoring the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which allows Emotional Support Animals that are not trained to do any task provided that the person accompanied by the Emotional Support Animal has a letter written within the last year on letterhead from a licensed mental health professional indicating that the person has a DSM-IV diagnosis that is severe enough to constitute a disability and that the Emotional Support Animal is prescribed as part of that patients treatment plan.

    Google is your friend, people.

  26. December 4th, 2012 at 21:11 | #26

    @Wanda
    Wanda, you are not correct. My chihuahua is an emotional support dog and she travels with me all the time. I have met others who have the same documentation and the airline is not allowed to ask what your disability is, as that is confidential medical information. Just like they can’t ask those elderly and others who claim to need pre-boarding and special seating for no other reason than they are pushy and want to be first in line. I had an elderly lady sit next to me at the gate who actually admitted it. Don’t even get me started on those fake wheelchair requests, they really make it difficult for those who really DO need a w/c

  27. john douglas
    December 18th, 2012 at 20:29 | #27

    I’m an attorney and I’ve represented some service dog owners. I have collected some large settlements on behalf of service dog owners. What typically happens is that some employee wants to become assertive. If I owned a service business i.e. hotel, dining facility,etc. I would train my staff to understand that discretion (and common sense) is the better part of valor. If someone enters your establishment with a dog, the burden is on you-not the dog owner. Ignore that at your peril.

  28. cheongyei
    December 28th, 2012 at 23:30 | #28

    @Gilda I wish nothing but bad things for you and your pet. Shame on you for milking the law.

  29. Alyssa
    January 21st, 2013 at 09:00 | #29

    I am in the process of training my Pomeranian to be my
    Emotional support dog because I have terrible anxiety and low iron, being around large groups of people make me dizzy, shake, and I can’t breath. Having my Pomeranian by my side in these situations help me out more than you know, people should be able to have emotional support service dogs but I don’t think that lady should.

  30. January 25th, 2013 at 20:44 | #30

    I read all the comments with great interest. I have a service dog who is a small dog (10 pounds) because I choose to have a small dog rather than a large dog. It’s one of the great freedoms we enjoy in our beautiful country.

    I understand about people taking advantage of the ‘service dog’ vests etc, but I bought one because it is just easier for some officious people to see an ‘official’ tag. It’s no one’s business what I suffer from, but since it’s not ‘obvious’ I finally went to my psychiatrist and asked her to please write me up a letter explaining my condition. I’m not ashamed of my condition, it is no different than any other medical condition. It’s just not READILY VISIBLE.

    There will ALWAYS be people who are going to game the system and bend the rules to their benefit, but thankfully they are the minority. We see them in everything that has rules. There’s always a loophole.

    But don’t assume because a dog isn’t a German Sheperd or a Golden Retreiver that the dog ISN”T a service dog. Not everyone who has a disability has the space, economics to feed a large dog, or the interest in a large dog. Small dogs are easier to travel with and live with for many people, and are their preference. It doesn’t make the dog any less ‘able’ to perform as a service dog.

    Having said that, I agree, people do take advantage. But it’s not our job or right to assume that when we see a small ‘service’ dog that it ISN’T a service dog.

  31. January 27th, 2013 at 21:59 | #31

    i have noticed not many people have service dog in my area. i think i have only seen one.
    Stormy´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  32. Ronald Hofmeister
    February 5th, 2013 at 21:47 | #32

    Dear Sir,
    I wanted to commit on Dirty Service Dogs. I witnessed back in 2010 where a lady brought a Dressed up Lab to a Doctor’s office I said that’s no Service Dog? Because the Dog Barked at me She said Quiet the lady wrote a Doctor’s Name & Telephone Number on a Piece of Paper & gave it to me. That Lady Said the Doctor will write you up a letter in his Stationary plus a RX Prepscription any way you want it wrote up She then asked me if I had Medicare I said Yes & she said that’s a bonus. That lady said she went Doctor Shopping. So there are a lot of dirty Doctors out there also.

  33. Kate
    February 18th, 2013 at 21:40 | #33

    Hey guys,
    Just wanted to give my 2 cents. 🙂 I agree that it’s not good to have people illegally claiming to have service animals, but if you have questions you should probably go ahead and ask the person with the dog directly. I’m 23 and my service dog is still in training, but I look perfectly healthy.

    The thing is, I have Dysautonomia and my symptoms aren’t visible unless I’m having an episode (which can include tons of symptoms but my most dangerous one is passing out unexpectedly). My dog is being trained to alert me of blood pressure drops, and respond to me passing out by pressing a call button (when we’re at home) which will alert someone and tunneling under my legs to raise them and get my blood flowing back to my head.

    My point is, I’d rather someone ask me about my dog than think that I’m abusing the system. Besides, Dysautonomia is really rare and I’m always looking for a chance to raise awareness. 🙂

  34. Kouth
    March 1st, 2013 at 17:14 | #34

    Blah blah blah. This article sucks. Only thing to highlight in it are the HIGH COSTS OF TRAINETS, RIPPING THE DISABLED OFF AND NOT WANTING COMPANIES TO SELL DISABLED IDS, so that with ease, a disabled person can flash info quick versus being harassed or stressed condition whic h is DUH, a big thing a service dog is for. With tons of disabled

  35. Kouth
    March 1st, 2013 at 17:19 | #35

    Needing service dogs and tons of dogs euthed daily that are trainable, these types of propoganda, anal retentive articles and gossip are bs and invasive and CAUSE PROBLEMS. Mind tour own biz and ause the time to train or give a disabled a dog. The overcharging is the scam and fraud.

  36. barbara
    March 4th, 2013 at 13:56 | #36

    @Lorena
    psychiatric service dogs are a service animal i have one and she is 18 pounds. she alerts me to when it is time to take my meds and helps me when i am depressed it was not an easy task but she is a real service animakl.

  37. Tennille
    April 30th, 2013 at 21:05 | #37

    While I understand your frustration with the example provided, there are smaller service dogs like chihuahuas that should not be discredited merely due to size. My mother has diabetes and has limited mobility. Her service dog completed and excelled in scent training to help alert for drastic blood sugar levels. A chihuahua was a perfect fit for her due to the limited exercise requirement. Also her dog can sit in her lap when her limited mobility requires the use of a wheelchair (I.e. at the airport). This helps in several ways, keeps her close to her body to detect scent, less risk of accidental “bumps” by strangers and helps my mother maintain control of people petting her dog while working.

    Her service dog completed public access testing and was video tapped doing so to combat those who believe only labs or goldens can be service dogs.

    Again I agree that people faking it to save $$$ is wrong but wanted to chime in to ensure true small working dogs are not discreminatied against.

  38. May 8th, 2013 at 16:40 | #38

    I have a yorkie that is very well behaved and is an actual service dog. I have diabetes and when my blood sugar starts dropping, my dog starts licking me in the face like crazy. She detects it is dropping before I do and she started doing that a couple years ago on her own. At first I just brushed her out of my face, (more than a couple puppy kisses is enough) but when she wouldn’t be brushed off, I got up thinking she needed outside at 2am,so out of habit, I checked my blood sugar and it was 41. I immediately took care to correct the situation and loved all over her. She has done this multiple times and now I know if she starts her crazy licking, to check my blood sugar and she has been a valuable asset to me for this, since I live alone. By the time I can detect that it is low, it’s usually call EMS and a trip to ER follows. She has been a life saver and I am teaching her to get my glucose tablets as well. My disability isn’t visible, but it is still ever more present. Just saying…

  39. Misty
    May 21st, 2013 at 02:13 | #39

    @ginny carro
    I just wanted to get someone’s opinion of a situation I have experienced. I am disabled with multiple issues, my physician recommended a service animal, so I obtained one…it wasn’t working so I got a different one that has been a blessing…my ER visits have been cut down by 2/3!!! I take her to the casino with me as I take her everywhere, but there is a lady who brings her “service dog”, it’s usually on her lap with a leash that can extend up to 15 feet and rolls back into the handle, I never know where she’s sitting and recently my service dog and I were slowly making our way to the rest room when out from no where comes this little dog jumping in my dogs face biting and aggressively badgering my dog, my dogs initial response was a yelp and a bark…she was not prepared for this little dog to jump out of it’s hiding place under the owners blanket on her lap…once I commanded her to “here” which is by my side she was calm and orderly while the little dog continued as it’s owner drug it back by the cord. Management saw only my dog by the time they came over and began telling me I had to remove my dog for barking. She would not have barked the one loud yelp had she not been bitten by this dog, I was able to explain what happened and let me go about my business but she continues to bring her animal with her and has no control over it..as I saw it jump out at another service animal that frequents that casino also. The management does nothing about this and I refuse to let her take away the one thing I am able to do for enjoyment…other than steering clear of her location, any ideas of how to handle this? (The bite did not puncture the skin of my service animal, thank goodness!!)

  40. Kathy
    July 15th, 2013 at 20:55 | #40

    we purchased a small morkie puppy for my husband after years of illness and uncontrolled diabetes. we have been through obedience school and she is very well behaved. It was not our intention in the beginning to have a service dog but she decided differently. She will not leave my husbands side when his sugar is high or low. She will lick his face and skin until he resets his pump and balances his glucose numbers. She has saved us from many trips to the hospital due to this issue. These ups and downs happen so quickly that I don’t always see it. I am so thankful for this pup. Just because you can’t see the disability doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And just so you. Know…we have a vest from one of these companies because it saves time and lessens stress.

  41. S Block
    July 19th, 2013 at 10:34 | #41

    As a Puppy Raiser for a large Service Dog Agency,and an owner of a Medical Alert SD (Service Dog) for 9 years, I can tell you I have had to research, and have experienced a lot. My dog is not tiny, but she is medium build and my disability is not physically apparent. Difference with us is I have a well trained dog who has been trained and tested for public access and is always, always, appropriate and inconspicuous in public. Many times people don’t even know there is a dog until we go to leave and they are shocked. That IS a sign of a true SD!! I have learned that Emotional Support Dogs DO NOT have public access as Service Dogs do, but on airplanes, they ARE allowed as long as the handler presents to the airline (in advance) a letter from a Mental Health provider (within a one year time frame) of the need for such animal. I agree that just because they are small, doesn’t mean they are not credible, though. I have a friend who is severely deaf, and her SD is a miniature poodle. The difference is unless you see him, you would never know he was there. He is trained to be inconspicuous to everyone but his owner when needed. It is a very complex issue and I certainly see both sides. I too have been shopping with my SD and she has been growled and lunged at by a supposed SD. Those are clearly fakes, as one who trains them, I can tell you a REAL SD would take any and all abuse before attacking another animal, person or any living thing!! That is what makes them more than “just a pet”. I hope this conversation continues….

  42. S Block
    July 19th, 2013 at 10:48 | #42

    I would like to respond to the person who had the Fake SD attack her Service Dog in the Casino. I would not only report that to the management of the Casino, but also demand that the dog be removed, as it is the LAW that SD’s will be asked to be removed if they cause a “threat or danger” to another participant. Clearly that dog is causing a threat to you and your REAL Service Dog. If the management didn’t see it, as that they be present when you approach the person with your SD and watch the behavior. Also, the management cannot ask you to leave just because the dog barked. You must have “control” over your SD which clearly you did when you called him back and he came. Clearly, the other woman does NOT!! He could as easily attack you as well. Also, if the management does not do anything, I would call the police as Service Dogs are protected under the ADA law and you have a RIGHT to be in the establishment without feeling threatened or harmed in anyway. I hope this helps. Also, there is no SD that would attack another and no handler I know that would have a FlexiLeash on their dog i public!! These are the dogs that give Medical Alert SD’s a bad wrap. Clearly, you need your dog and I feel at some point we need to fight for our rights and our REAL SD’s! Only my opinion, hope it helps….

  43. July 23rd, 2013 at 07:49 | #43

    It’s the problem with people who only want to have their way and a non-service dog claimed as a service dog can really be a big risk for the people traveling with the animal.

  44. July 30th, 2013 at 23:50 | #44

    effortlessly much like your web page and you must look into the spelling about a number of your content. Quite a few tend to be rife by using punctuation issues so i to find them pretty bothersome to share with the fact nonetheless I’m going to surely appear just as before once again.

  45. August 11th, 2013 at 18:09 | #45

    what is wrong with you dog haters? if the dog is well trained and cared for who cares if it boards a plane
    sara corbin´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  46. August 11th, 2013 at 18:10 | #46

    why are you all on a witch hunt that hurts dogs? if an owner has a well trained, and clean dog, let it go anywhere
    sara corbin´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  47. August 11th, 2013 at 18:11 | #47

    dog is god spelled backwards for a reason…got it?
    sara corbin´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  48. August 11th, 2013 at 18:22 | #48

    dogs are gods gift to man. they are precious and should never travel in cargo… it terrify’s and hurts their ears, shame on those who hate gods gift to man as to be so judgmental and petty, mean spirited etc. A small dog in a bag? what is wrong with that? small dogs can get hurt in crowded areas, I carry mine in a clean white scarf around my neck to protect, keep her clean and away from harm and stress, she is a service animal that is well treated, and comes with me everywhere she can, though I do not take her to fancy restaurants indoors where there is pomp and ceremony, I rarely can tolerate that myself and prefer European style better restaurants that make it their policy to admit any well trained clean dog, because they see the value. My last experience in a restaurant, the owner came over and pulled out a chair and asked if my dog would like a seat, I went over to the seat and put a paper napkin on it so the next customer would have a pristine seat. The owner then brought water for the dog. It was kinds strange at breakfast the next morning when the waiter was seen blowing on our food. When I asked about it, I was told they were worried my friend would give the dog the sausage that came with the eggs before it had cooled sufficiently to avoid burning the dogs mouth….LOL :))))
    sara corbin´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

  49. August 11th, 2013 at 18:24 | #49

    risk what risk? thats a laugh…give me one example and I’ll send you $1000
    sara corbin´s last blog post ..The Problem with Fake Service Dogs

Comment pages
1 2 3 1595
  1. July 4th, 2012 at 23:28 | #1

CommentLuv badge