Fake Service Dogs | AspenTimes.com

Fake Service Dogs

Following up on Richard Gordon's excellent letter Friday, I came across a wonderful article on the hidden complications of fake service dogs. It should provide (dog) food for thought for people who love their pets so much that they cannot stand to be separated from them for the 10 minutes it takes to pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.

The gist of the article is that true service dogs are service dogs because their owners are disabled! If you falsely claim that "it's a service dog", not only are you misrepresenting your animal, but you are masquerading as a disabled person, which totally dishonors the wounded warriors, those with health-based challenges and the unfortunate victims of accidents who are truly in need of the assistance provided by a service animal.

Fake service dogs create an atmosphere of suspicion that falls unfairly on actual service dogs. Fake service dogs do not receive socialization, obedience and special skills training that true service dogs receive. Fake service dogs can (and do) create distractions for real service dogs, which may prevent them from performing their job — including detecting seizures and diabetic episodes.

Please visit http://www.anythingpawsable.com/fake-service-dog-complications/ and take time to read about the unforeseen consequences to misusing the label "service dog."

Sadly, most businesses have not trained their employees to know the difference between service dogs and therapy dogs/emotional support animals. Necessary and wonderful for their owners, I am sure, but not entitled to the same access as service dogs have under the ADA.

If you have been misrepresenting your dog out of ignorance, I hope the article persuades you to change your behavior. If, as I fear it is in most cases, out of selfishness, perhaps the article will shame you into doing the right thing, both under the law and out of respect for the truly disable.

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Michael Campbell

Aspen