Advice needed: fake service dog law

Independence1776

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 26, 2007
To make a long story short, I recently moved and am boarding my dog for at least a month while my family finds a house because we're currently staying in a no-pets apartment. I asked on a LiveJournal community how often I should visit her.

One person said this: "If your dog is relatively well obedience trained and could pass as a service dog in training, buy a service vest online and tell the landlords that you need her for a specific reason. It's not like you'll be there for more than a month, anyway. If you want it to be less of a lie, tell her she's a service dog in training, and actually follow through with it by taking her to a hospital to be a therapy dog - plus, that gives you the added benefit of another way to bond with your dog."

My reponse: "It's illegal. It's the reason why people with legitimate service dogs have access issues. I would never do it. And service dogs aren't therapy dogs. Two different sets of training and skills."

The response (paraphrased): "It isn't illegal. Proceeds to say this, 'There is no law that details rules or regulations of what a service dog is or is not.' and then quotes from a website that certification is not required for SDs. That he (editorial) says stores allow him in if he presents the laminated Canine Good Citizen card. That I am right about the difference between service and therapy dogs." Direct quote after all the above: "Thanks for being a total jerk while I was trying to help, though. Feel free to leave your dog in the kennel for a month."

I only stated facts. What I need now is the actual US law (or a link) where it says that it is illegal to pretend a pet is a SD. I do not like the fact that I am having to defend myself after having done nothing wrong, and I need proof to back up my statements. I figured this was the best place to ask. I thank you in advance for your help.
 

LauraVV

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Some people have nerve. We were in a store once and a lady asked me about my daughter's dog. She asked about training her dog to be a service dog. When I asked her if she is disabled she said, "well, no." I told her that unless she was going to give her dog to a disabled person her dog could not be a service dog. She admitted she just wanted to bring the dog with her while she shopped.

I've had other people come up and ask about training their dogs to be service dogs. They don't seem to understand the difference between therapy and service dogs.

Service dogs have NO public access rights. Disabled people do!

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_there_anywhere_that_seeing-eye_dogs_are_not_allowed

http://www.mobar.org/525d0c75-a53d-4d07-bc10-320e1f51c83f.aspx

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

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

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20070901-9999-1n1dogs.html
People who pretend that their dogs are service dogs are breaking the law. In California, it's a misdemeanor and punishable by at least six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
 

dclfun

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 13, 2000
I second all that Laura has said. It's only getting worse. As I always say, we now live in a "me-first" society where rules don't matter and people feel free to get away with whatever they can to serve their own interests. SD vests and patches are sold online without anyone having to prove they have a SD or are disabled in order to buy one. People with invisible disabilities can't be asked to prove their disability (a good thing but it also allows frauds to proliferate ) and no one has to prove their dog is trained ( also a good thing as our dogs don't have to put on a "show" but again allows fraud to proliferate). I'm sure it will eventually come to a head and laws will be put in place that perhaps may infringe on the rights of the disabled in order to prevent people from trying to claim their pet is a SD or claim they are somehow disabled so they can bring their pet everywhere with them. I don't question anyone I see with a dog in a vest as I have no way of knowing if they are disabled or if their dog is a SD but when my SD is growled at, snapped at, and threatened, then I'm concerned. And yes, it happens. Thank you to the OP for being a person of integrity who did the right thing...and by doing the right thing you stood up for those of us who are disabled and cannot function without our SD's and protected us by speaking up against fraud.---Kathy
 
  • SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    I agree with the others. It's sad when dogs have become 'accessories' and people will lie about it to get their accessory admitted places.

    I am not sure, but imagine that different states might have different statutes that apply. I'd suggest contacting the Attorney General's office in your state. Someone there would probably be able to direct you. I had dealings with the Attorney General's office in my state about a situation having to do with car repair for our accessible van and they were very helpful.
    Also, google to find the Disability Law center for your state. They are probably more involved in the 'I am disabled and have been denied access' side of the service dog question than the side you are wanting to deal with. They probably do know/can find out what the laws are about people 'faking' a service animal. They will help you free of charge. I have also had dealings with the Disability Law Center several times in my state and they were beyond helpful.

    Good luck to you and thank you for trying to make a difference.
     

    LauraVV

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 2, 2007
    I agree with the others. It's sad when dogs have become 'accessories' and people will lie about it to get their accessory admitted places.
    I am sure that Kathy can also attest to this but it's not exactly easy to take a dog with you everywhere. You have to plan everything. And people stare. A lot. They seem to feel that you MUST give them your life history. They also seem to think it's OK to speak about your history loudly (even though they don't know you and are making huge assumptions). I hear people talking about us and the dogs all the time. I thought that they stared before, when we just had a kiddo in a chair. But now we have a chair and a dog. If my son is with us then we have two dogs and a girl in a chair.

    Some friends tell this story. They were in a restaurant and over heard some people at a nearby table talking. One person said, "Well, they're not blind because they're reading the menu." Another person said, "They're talking to each other so they must not be deaf." After a while one of the people at the other table said, "I know. The dog must be blind."

    Our dogs are wonderful. But I wish we didn't need them.
     

    Independence1776

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2007
    Thank you, LauraVV, for the links. They were much help.

    Kathy, thank you for this: "Thank you to the OP for being a person of integrity who did the right thing...and by doing the right thing you stood up for those of us who are disabled and cannot function without our SD's and protected us by speaking up against fraud." I told my mother about this person and my response, and she thought I was being too harsh on the person until I mentioned that people with SDs were applauding me for this. As for integrity, someone has to have it.

    SueM, thanks for your advice, but I'm not going to contact them. I was able to get the information I needed from the links Kathy provided. Since this incident is purely Internet-based, there's only so much I can do.

    My response post, in summation: I quoted the ADA's definition of a service dog, the San Diego article, and a couple of statutes.

    I'll let you know what his response is, if there's any at all. I hope the person learns something, but rather doubt it.
     

    Ms_Butterfly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 16, 2007
    http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html are the current ADA laws (it is in the long process of being changed/clarified) for public access. Note that these laws do NOT apply to housing. You need to look up the FHA (Federal Housing Act) for housing laws. Both service animals and emotional support animals (non-task trained pets for people with mental disabilities) are allowed in no-pets housing, but ESAs are not allowed in public no-pets places like stores, restaurants, etc. like SDs are.

    The federal ADA definition of a service animal is: "Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."

    Therapy Animals are anybody's pet who has been certified to be INVITED into a no-pets place such as a hospital, nursing home, or school in order to provide emotional support/comfort to the residents/patients/students at those places. TAs are not otherwise allowed in no-pets public places.

    Thank you for sticking up for disabled ppl who have SDs because we NEED them. Those who fake their pets and show dogs as SDs DO INDEED actually harm real SD handlers. The air travel law in the US was recently changed to reflect this problem - one type of SD handler has to provide proof via a recent (not more than a year old) doctor's letter and if the fakers continue to pass their pets off as other types of SDs, those types will have to go through hoops just so the disabled person can fly, too.

    Pets, therapy dogs, and show dogs are wonderful things to have in life, but they are not actual necessities for somebody's health, mobility, independence, etc. Real SD handlers would much rather leave their dogs at home, but cannot. Having an SD can be limiting in some ways and can be tough in some ways.
     
  • Independence1776

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2007
    You're welcome. Someone has to do the right thing.

    Well, it's been a week, and the person never responded. I'm really not surprised.
     


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