Service Dog?

I believe that service dogs should be required to come with a placard or a tag or a certificate, just like a disabled placard for a car.

The placard need not say what the person’s disability is, and need not supply any information other than the person’s name. It should, like a disabled parking placard, be issued by the state after confirmation of its validity by an appropriately licensed professional such as a doctor.

Yes, there will probably still be abuse, just like there is with disabled parking placards, but having to jump through some regulatory hoops would, i bet, cut down significantly on the number of assholes who just want to take their pets everywhere, and use the convenient cover of “service dog.”

As with disabled parking placards, certificates and reasonable enforcement would also benefit the people who actually need the service animals, by reducing the number of frauds and reducing public skepticism.

Like disabled people don’t have enough crap to put up with without you thinking you have some sort of right to grill them. It’s not your job to “root out” any “fake service animals,” so just go about your own business.

But it seems to me that a law requiring no certification or proof regarding their need for a service animal actually makes it more likely that disabled people will get grilled about their dog. If they were allocated some sort of placard or certificate that they could display, verifying their need for the service animal, then no-one would need to bother them, and the non-disabled assholes who bring their pets to restaurants and other public venues could easily be rooted out.

There is really not some huge problem of fake service animals ruining stores and restaurants that needs to be solved. Most people actually just assume they’d need proof and don’t even know about the loophole. Good thing their ignorance is being cured by this thread.
The ADA doesn’t want the logistical nightmare of proof to be implemented, and so far they are winning.

I agree, currently not. That is my opinion, store owners or managers may differ.

As people become more aware of the implications and application of this law, I do believe that there is a huge reservoir of self-entitled jerks out there who will salivate more than Pavlov’s pups at the prospect. This will ultimately create problems (due to allergies, fear of dogs, poorly behaved dogs, damage to property, injuries to people, or even merely dark suspicions of “free-riding” as mentioned upthread), and I think the disabled will be the ones who (again) have to overcome this. Eventually there probably will be tightened restrictions, as suggested up-post. Meanwhile, public goodwill for the prospect of service dogs will have been bruised or burned.

Or maybe not. In our area, we have an outdoor shopping center which invites ALL dogs (and nearly all shops participate). The stated goal is customer friendliness and to avoid situations of “dog left in car”. Maybe we are moving into a more “dog-friendly” society, and service dogs are just leading the way.

Fake service dogs a growing problem

Fake service dogs cause real problems

Fake service dogs a real problem at airports and other public buildings, experts say

Veterans fight back against fake service dog owners scamming the system

Disability advocates deplore rising number of ‘fake’ service dogs

Businesses say fake service dogs are a growing problem

I don’t think it’s a burden on disabled people to make sure that their animal is wearing its rabies vaccine tag, and therefore, I don’t think it’s out of line for a business manager to ask that an animal not displaying a vaccine tag be asked to leave. Also, I don’t know of a service animal training center that uses intact animals, so I don’t think it’s out of line to ask someone with an intact male animal to leave. Those are two pretty good clues that someone has a fraudulent service animal.

One of the worst offenders in the fraudulent service animal department (who I reported to animal control) had intact animals that were unvaccinated (she had been blackballed by three different vets for non-payment of bills), and one of them even had some kind of skin rash that looked like sarcoptic mange (I am not a vet, though). She had three different animals, and tried to take them all everywhere she went, and claim that she needed them all as service animals. She didn’t need any service animal at all, and at any rate, none of these animals were trained beyond basic obedience for the dogs. FWIW, this is someone who had had a child removed from her custody by social services, and her parental rights terminated by the courts.

Sounds right. Even if I am out of town diving I have to present my PADI identification to get an air tank filled. Nothing wrong with requiring a service dog to have id.

I work with people with disabilities every day, some with service animals. We regularly have service animals in training come through the office as part of their training.

A legitimate service animal is properly trained. It doesn’t sniff your butt while you wait in line nor growl as you walk by. It’s also never carried in human arms (or in a purse) and doesn’t have a tendency to snap at people as they walk by. I will “out” fake service animals because they give a bad name and reputation to legitimate service animals.

Tell that to the person with the “service dog” at the movie theater last week who was eating my effing popcorn. Which was on my lap as I waited on a bench for my theater to be cleaned. The owner of the “service dog” just said “oh just push her away - she won’t bite”.

This after the “service dog” had given my legs, ass and crotch a thorough sniffing (at the end of its very, very long leash while the owner was busily ignoring the “service dog” while he bought some popcorn of his own) followed by an extensive slurping licking earlier while I waited in line for snacks. I know it was a “service dog” because it was wearing a bright orange vest that said so. This self-same “service dog” also vigorously sniffed and licked every single patron within leash-range, to the visible distress of several of them. The distressed included some very small children, who were clearly not okay with the dog getting all up in their grill.

I like dogs, but if that dog was an actual trained and accredited service dog, I will cheerfully eat my own shoes.

Disabled people have enough crap to deal with without selfish assholes buying fake “service dog” vests for their random pets and then unleashing their marginally-trained companion animals on the unsuspecting public as “service dogs” whose right to accompany them cannot be challenged. How many fake service dog encounters would you estimate it’ll take before people start presuming that “service dog” is code for “I just want to take my dog to the movies with me and fuck the rest of ya’ll”?

Cripes, a pet with basic obedience doesn’t do that.

I had a Pit Bull/GSD mix, and she was five when I started dating DH, which meant that I was single when I was training her from a pup, so I did a lot of work with her beyond basic obedience. She could hold a lie-down stay outside a store while I went in (briefly), and she would even hold a lie-down stay while I walked around her dangling her favorite toy (it was a training exercise-- she got rewarded afterward). She was trained to walk up to people and sit at their feet if she wanted to be pet. She NEVER jumped on people or licked strangers. She could do a few tricks, and heel off leash. And she was nowhere NEAR as well-trained as my friend’s Seeing-Eye dog. That dog didn’t even turn her head if there was a squirrel running around next to her. And I’m sure if I tried to take my dog into a restaurant, she’d start sniffing around; even if I put her in a lie-down stay, she might whine for hand-outs. She also wouldn’t understand why people couldn’t come over and pet her.

A dog in a purse is not a service dog. It might be a social/emotional animal, but those are not exactly the same things as service dogs.

About twenty years ago, I went to an outdoor food festival with some friends in Massachusetts. Someone came by with a service dog (easily identified by the special harness). I was amazed that the dog didn’t go for all the food everywhere. He/she was very well-behaved.

Sounds like a well trained dog. She should go for Canine Good Citizen, if she doesn’t already have it.

For the past 15 months, we have raised puppies for autism service, which is a much lower standard than seeing eye dogs. Basically, it is socialization and training to good obedience, with emphasis on exposing the dog to lots of the situations likely to come up in the final handler’s life (basically everyday life). We’ve done 2 dogs now.

Our first was quite a smart and wonderful Aussie/Lab mix- she was perfect in jacket, but out of jacket she would occasionally growl or bark at people- too aggressive for a service dog, so now she is our pet.

The second was a very affable standard poodle. We turned him over to the sponsor organization to finish his training about a month ago. We are hearing good reports of him, and apparently they will try placing him this week (an element of sympatico has to develop between the dog and the child). So we have our fingers crossed for his success.

If a disabled person has to carry “certification” for a service animal, they would obviously be required to present it on demand, or what would be the point?
This would mean that at each and every place you and your animal go, someone is demanding to see proof that it’s okay for you and the dog to be there. Making the disabled person prove over and over that they have a right to bring a dog is unfair and unpleasant.
Worse, what if you forget it at home? After navigating public transportation blind and reaching your destination, you realize your card is at home and you are denied admittance.
And think about all of the people all over the country who now must recognize the certification. Store clerks, wait staff, bus drivers, etc. will have to correctly assess the authenticity of your proof. People will be denied entrance because someone thinks the card “looks fake,” and will miss out on important stuff.

Unfortunately, she passed away in 2005. I thought about getting her the Canine Good Citizen Award, but I was afraid she wouldn’t pass the separation part. She tended to get some separation anxiety if I left her with other people. I could leave her outside a store in a lie-down stay, where she could see me, but if someone came along and tried to lead her away from me, she got upset-- like when she had to be boarded before I went on a trip. That was her only real “fault.” When I got married, and we got a second dog, she did a lot better in boarding situations, because she had the other dog with her. Also, she eventually got comfortable enough with my husband that he could take her out. Amazingly, we still have the second dog-- she’s 14 & 1/2. She just got a clean bill of health from the vet.

It would be really nice if it never comes to this, and it would have been nice if, back when places first started having designated handicapped parking spaces, it could have been entirely on the honor system, but there are always assholes who ruin it for everyone.

Service dogs wear collars anyway, so they can wear a tag that designates them as a service dog. Having a fraudulent tag, or another dog’s tag on your non-service dog could carry a hefty fine, just like parking in a handicapped space without a tag. Or, since most legitimate training places microchip anyway, the microchip could contain the info that the dog is a service animal, and businesses could be provided with scanners. Every business has a computer somewhere, so all you need is the scanner. Places like Walmart can afford them, and there is probably a way to subsidize them for small businesses.

At any rate, just spreading the word that enforcement exists-- if your dog’s microchip doesn’t pop up the “service dog” designation, you can be fined for trying to pass it off as a service dog-- will probably cut way back on the problem. People with legitimate dogs will be inconvenienced for a short time, then, as word gets around, they won’t get questioned any longer, and other people will stop worrying about misbehaving dogs, which in the long run will improve the lives of people with legitimate dogs.

If all that happens is that fraudulent dogs are limited to dogs that behave well enough not to get questioned in the first place, then the problem is essentially solved.

We have to carry ID and papers when out in stores with a service-dog-in-training. We keep it in a pocket in the dog’s vest. I think a government issued tag would be good, too.

Of course, anything can be counterfeited. But it might up the ante a bit on fraudulent abuse.

Look at mhendo’s post up-thread. Failure to act may also have consequences. I’m not saying that things are awful right now, but I really do expect that this will be better regulated in the future (due to increasing abuse now), for the benefit of those who most need service dogs to be widely accepted in society.

When disabled people start pushing to be required to present proof, maybe THAT is the time to consider it.

It was recommended to my mother that my sister with Down’s Syndrome have a pet. and said sister assumed she had a right to take it into Walmart and everywhere else. It took a bit of training of sister to overcome that. “But they said I should have a dog!!”

Give me a break.

We have to carry our drivers licenses whenever we drive a car. I have to carry my Green Card with me whenever i leave the house. It’s not exactly a burden.

We could even make the proof a part of the dog’s uniform. Many of these dogs wear vests of some sort already. The certification could include a patch or sticker, with a registration number or some other form of identification, that goes on the dog’s vest.

Hell, they could even make dogtags (they’re called that for a reason) that could be worn around the animals neck on its collar, and that would have a logo and some other form of identifying mark such as a number, or the holder’s name. It’s not exactly rocket science.

People do ask for your drivers license or green card everywhere you go. A disabled person should not have to deal with a daily string of confrontations just to go about their lives.