Skip to comments.Your Unsocialized Hound Is Not A Service Dog!
Posted on 10/12/2015 7:54:23 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Ah, the fake service dog. Like out-of-sync traffic lights and above-ground power lines, theyre one of those things that make my normally mild British temperament fall by the wayside.
Allow me to rephrase that - its not the dogs that make my blood boil, but rather their owners. Who are these people? Youve probably seen them. For me, the most recent was a lady in the grocery store with a teacup poodle in a Coach purse. Before that, there was the guy in the health food store pushing a Yorkshire terrier in a stroller. A few years ago it was a rather surly gentleman on a bus in Philadelphia. His service dog kept trying to attack an elderly passengers footed cane. And remember my friend Sue from last weeks column? Yeah, her actual service dog was recently attacked in public by a Corgi wearing a homemade service dog vest.
For the past five or so years, there has been a marked increase in incidents of pet owners who attempt to pass off their unsocialized pets as emotional support animals. Add to that the growing number of handlers who attempt to pass off their emotional support animals as service dogs, and you have the makings of a perfect storm that makes life more difficult for a demographic that already faces considerable challenges: the disabled. If you think Im exaggerating for effect, think again. Airline complaints against ESAs and their handlers have risen steeply, causing many to demand a crackdown. As a response to this very issue, a recent law was passed banning so called service dogs from riding in shopping carts. Another new law makes misrepresenting a pet as a service dog a second-degree misdemeanor.
In all of the events I have personally witnessed, the humans handling these canine culprits shamelessly bullied service providers who were unaware of their rights. They blindsided these hard-working individuals by brandishing letters, threatening lawsuits, and throwing the kinds of public temper tantrums that would put a toddler to shame.
If you are one of these people, I am calling you out. If you would like to leave nasty comments, send me indignant emails, or blow up my social media accounts, be my guest. The traction is awesome and brings lots of hits to my website. I probably wont bother to respond to you because I dont have time to be bothered with entitled jerks - and that, my dear imposter, is exactly what you are. If on the other hand, youre one the many beleaguered employees that has had to deal with said jerks, then listen up.
An emotional support animal is NOT, repeat NOT a service animal. They are not the same thing. ESAs are NOT working animals. They are pets. For a refresher course on the differences click here.
A service dog has the right to accompany a handler wherever the general public is allowed. ESAs are pets. If pets are not allowed, then neither are ESAs. Period! Exceptions are made in matters of housing and air travel, but thats it.
Emotional support animals are not required to go through any special training - and oftentimes, to be perfectly honest, it shows. If a so-called service dog is barking, sniffing, exploring, socializing, growling, lunging, freaking out at the sight of an old ladys cane,or doing anything other than focusing exclusively on its handler, it is probably not a service dog.
If the animal is not a service animal, it is not entitled to be there. You can ask them to leave, and you should. This is not just a matter of principle. Its a matter of complying with the rules and laws that may govern your place of business. Do you really want to be saddled with health code violations and the fines that accompany them because a hyper-attached pet owner just had to bring Fluffy to brunch? No pets allowed means just that. Even legitimate emotional support animals are still pets. You have every right to ask their handlers to leave, even if they get nasty.
If youre reading this article and wondering what kind of person would risk jail time and fines for the privilege of schlepping their pets around, youre not alone. As long as theyre promised anonymity, fakers are very frank about their motivations. They often cite reasons such as not wanting to leave their pets home alone, not wanting to hire dog walkers, not wanting to crate-train, separation anxiety (presumably the pets!), convenience, not wanting to pay a fee to fly with their pet, or my personal favorite, This country is so backwards. In Europe, you can bring a dog anywher.! Im European and guess what? When my wife and I go out to brunch, we leave our dogs at home. Heres why:
Its. The. Law.
Perhaps the all-time prize-winner was the pet blogger who bragged that her fake service dog was the best trained dog she knew. I will not publish her name or the link to the article because I refuse to reward her behavior with money and/or attention, but the long and the short of it was that she felt the privilege of taking her dog in public was her reward for having put so much time and effort into training said dog. The piece reeked of entitlement and sent my blood straight to the boiling point. Thankfully, the authors self-righteous attitude was ripped to shreds in the comment section, so perhaps the world has not gone completely mad just yet.
Ill close this article with a missive from a client whom Ill call Bob. Bob is combat veteran who survived a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and a second in Iraq. He came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and his service dog has been vital in helping him along the long road to recovery. He explained his frustration with the fake service dog phenomenon as follows:
When people get burned by a fake service dog team, they develop anti-bodies. Then I come along with my legit service dog, and theres an issue. They get defensive, or they ask questions theyre not supposed to ask, they give me attitude, they tail me like Im some kind of criminal. Dude, the S in PTSD stands for stress. I dont need that expletive. And on a bad day, I cant handle it. I knew when I enlisted that my choice involved risk, so Im not looking for anybodys sympathy. Im looking to get my life back. All I want is for people to respect a set of laws that allows people like me to keep going. I dont think thats so terribly much to ask. Neither do I.
But if youre surfing Etsy to find a convincing-looking service dog vest for Snowflake, well, apparently you do. Way to go thanking our wounded warriors for their service. I told you I was going to call you out, and while I realize the animal section is generally a place for feel-good pieces, I hope I made you feel bad about yourself. If I did, dont despair. The fix is an easy one. Instead of the faker-vest, buy Snowflake a nice fluffy bed and an interesting toy. Shell have great fun with both when you go out for brunch and leave her - and your letter- at home.
For more information about service dogs, please visit the Americans With Disabilities Acts website.
My parakeet is a seeing-eye dog. Why not?
They have an inward desire for human companionship. The dog is just a metaphor.
My dogs are terrific. But I don’t take them to stores or restaurants.
Mental illness. These types would be in the nut house in the 50’s and 60’s.
Oh my kind of article.
Where do I start with this subject?
I’m sick of everything being an illness and every illness needing a dog.
This stuff is absolutely rife for fraud. Between ADA PC crud and dog-love, it’s an uphill battle fighting this “service dog” stuff so fraud will really slip through.
No kidding, don’t where this guy lives, Florida?, but in my neck of the woods no one would bring their black lab or blue healer into a store or restaurant. This is a new one on me.
I dunno. I read an article written by a veterinarian bragging that she passes her pit bull off as a service dog.
He drives just fine....especially when you consider his head is hanging out the window...
Doris Day owns the Cypress Inn in Carmel, CA. Dogs are allowed in the restaurants, rooms, etc.
I take my dog where it is welcome. At Home Depot a lot of the store help keep milk-bone biscuits in their aprons.
“No kidding, dont where this guy lives, Florida?, but in my neck of the woods no one would bring their black lab or blue healer into a store or restaurant. This is a new one on me.”
He is in the UK. People there walk more and take their mutts everywhere.
I was in Panera when a lady came in with a huge service dog. It looked like an emotional support dog.
She could have sat in a way that was out of the way. Instead,she parked herself right behind me and dog was wagging it’s tale thumping me in the back.
I moved to the other side of the table and quickly got out of there.
It really hacked me off. If you need that dog and MUST bring it in..then have some consideration for other people who pay for an overpriced sandwich and drink.
All these kind of stories will still never beat the lady who tried to bring her potbellied pig on an airplane in Seattle and it pooped all over the floor at the boarding gate. She claimed it was a service animal.
My mutt is not a service dog, but would have better manners than that.
When did they become all-purpose dogs?
Are people allowed to designate any dog thy like one of these things? I do see that little rat dog thing a lot, being carried everywhere. Of what use they are, I dunno, so where is the "Service"?
If it is just companionship, get them a stuffed teddy bear, they do not piss and crap all over.
NBC. Miami. What horrible hells, some folks are burdened to endure.
My guy takes our dog Tiggle wiggles into Walmart all the time. He usually just zips him up in his hoodie and carries him. The workers just ask if they can pet tig. But we never claim he is a service animal.
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