When is a “service dog” not a service dog?

36
5

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We travel full-time with our dog. It is often inconvenient, but the joy we get from the companionship offsets the limitations it causes. We met a couple who are campground hosts and they invited us to go out to lunch with them. They insisted on driving because they needed to bring their “service dog” along. When we questioned them about the need for a service dog, they admitted it wasn’t actually true.

It seems the dog suffers from separation anxiety so they were able to go online and get papers that officially designate the dog as a “certified service dog.” My husband thought it would be a good idea for us to do the same, but I feel it’s dishonest. He says it is only a little white lie. What do you think? —Barking up the wrong tree in Bakersfield

Dear Barking:
I find it more than dishonest. I find it disgusting. These fake internet documents erode the credibility of actual service dogs. Many people that truly need a service animal are already suspect. To have a wave of pet owners falsifying the need for an animal will only help destroy an important program that many authentic handicapped people rely on.

Life is full of choices. If you travel with an animal it will often mean sacrificing some activities. We have more than once offered to babysit dogs for fellow campers that wanted to take a day hike on trails that did not allow dogs. In fact, dog sitting could be a very lucrative work camper business if someone wanted to pursue it. People leaving barking dogs all day in a rig while they go off is a common complaint. The service dog program is for people, not animals. Don’t let your husband confuse the two. . —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink


Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

##RVT861

 

 

36
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
19 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
27 Comment authors
Peggy CoffeyJoannGary BogartSTEPHEN P MALOCHLEBColin Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Gary Bogart
Guest
Gary Bogart

My wife is extremely allergic to dogs and cats. She cannot breathe. No dog or cat is exempt because it is the animals dander that triggers the attack. Since this goofy law was passed, her life has become very limited. People are bringing their pets into restaurants, Dr offices, cruise ships, and churches. I have seen pets in grocery carts, the same ones that carp on my lawn, then drag their butts into carts to shop with no cleanup. Where is the sanity in all this.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Animals on planes cause problems for people with allergies to dogs and cats. A doctors letter isn’t enough it should be an independent body since there are always quacks around willing to sell their signature for letters or prescriptions.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Wow! More angst inspiring comments than I’ve ever seen in this publication. Those perturbed by service animals should familiarize themselves with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). That law explicitly defines which two animal species qualify as service animals. Everyone knows that dogs meet that criteria. The other species are miniature horses. This isn’t a joke. It’s absolutely true. I can’t wait to read complaints about a miniature horse contaminating an espresso shop or a wine tasting. Emotional support animals are an entirely different category and the law doesn’t define species or training requirements, only a doctor’s statement. People seek… Read more »

Peggy Coffey
Guest
Peggy Coffey

The poster was talking about people who go online and pretend their dog or cat or chicken is a “service” animal. Not one ordered by a doctor. But I draw the line at miniature horses. And what support can a tranquilized cat in a carrier offer anyone? Actual service animals help people wuth physical disabilities. The people who need a miniature horse next to them to get through the day needs more than a miniature horse When someone dies from an allergic reaction to your animal, I hope you have deep pockets. You demand people accept your animal, but don’t… Read more »

Vanessa
Guest
Vanessa

Service dogs help diabetics, epileptics, children with severe autism and people with other unseen disabilities. Parking permits are used by people with heart problems, lung problems, back issues and other unseen disabilities. My sister said she couldn’t go anywhere without her dog due to anxiety. She is legally blind but doesn’t need a guide dog. A few months ago she accompanied a friend of mine on a three-week cruise through the Panama Canal. Now she is booking more cruises and traveling as much as she can. Actually getting out seems to have cured her anxiety. I have a friend who… Read more »

Susan
Guest
Susan

I have a condo that I rent out. I do not allow pets. My current tenant noted on the rental application that she did not have a pet. However, I found out she has a cat. I wanted to evict her for lying to me, but she told my property manager that her cat is not a “pet,” but an “emotional support animal,” and she has a doctor’s note to prove it and I can’t evict her. My property manager told me that if I do evict her, I can be fined $10,000.00. If she actually needs a support animal,… Read more »

Mike B
Guest
Mike B

Service dogs have an important role in many peoples lives however, to be dishonest for your own personal gain only brings others to question the initial practice. This is seen in many facets of society eg: handicapped parking, death in family discount flights, etc. The “good” (honest) end up paying for the actions of the “bad” (dishonest).

Aktraveler
Guest
Aktraveler

My complaint about animals that may be service or comfort on planes. If I’m around a dog or cat more than a few minutes I start coughing and can’t stop till I get away. Won’t ride an airplane because of all the service and comfort dogs possible these days.
As far as handicap placards… saw a car in a handicap parking space with a broken window. The police that responded said those placards are highly sought after and a thief can get up to $500 dollars apiece for them…

chris p hemstead
Guest
chris p hemstead

“Many people that truly need ..” Many people who.. (not that)

Jeannie
Guest
Jeannie

To those accusing people of abusing service/comfort animal certification, where did you get your credentials for judging who deserves them or not? I have a degree in Psychology and I know better than to think I can make that determination. As I stated about handicaps, one cannot make that determination merely by looking at them. I once knew a woman who had an Irish Wolfhound (think of a lanky, shaggy cross between a Great Dane and a Clydesdale) that was a certified service animal. She had epilepsy and the dog was trained to warn her before she had a seizure… Read more »

Elaine
Guest
Elaine

If it is a trained service dog, no issue. There is a difference. Service dogs work, they do not jump around, or get in the way of what is going on unless it is to protect their person. Faux service dogs are just dogs, they may be polite and trained to be still, or not. It is pretty easy to tell a real service dog from a faux one.

Doug
Guest
Doug

Everyone (including you) knows there is rampant abuse and fraud with “service animals”.

STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB
Guest
STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB

You are so right. If you want to stop the abuse stop the fake documents you can buy on the internet. My daughter just got her service dog and all the documents came from the state and federal government including the dogs ID. It has specific wording on it as well as a hologram to authenticate it. If you see the fake card at first glance it looks real, but if you look closely ,you see some very important information missing. But by federal law, no one can ask to see the certificate. Maybe that should change. And yes, many… Read more »

Jerry C.
Guest
Jerry C.

Service dogs come in many sizes and uses. You have dogs for the blind, dogs for the diabetic, and even dogs for PTSD. A service dog is specifically trained and has been issued a certificate (picture ID) with the trainers and owners name. The specific type of training is also identified. If you see a dog in a red jacket and no ID, chances are they are fakers and should be challenged. It takes a long time and lots of money to train a service dog. It is unfortunate that there are places on line that anyone can order a… Read more »

Joe Bulger
Guest
Joe Bulger

A few weeks ago we were at a function that we sat with people we did not know. They were there with their little white ball of joy that had a red vest on that said “service dog in training”. During this function they served tea and ginger snaps. They allowed the dog to put its’ paws on the table, let it drink from the tea cup, feed it ginger snaps, and when it was tired to rest it’s head on the table. I would have moved to another table but I did not want to disturb the people that… Read more »

Jerry C.
Guest
Jerry C.

Service dogs in training are not allowed at any function. If they are truly “in training” then they should only be taken to places that the trainer has specified and is there with the owner, such as airports, malls, etc. Restaurants are not usually on the training schedule nor are church functions or other food related events (unless specifically training for allergies of diabetes) and only with the trainer there. Those people were fakers.

Deanna L. Church
Guest
Deanna L. Church

What I see locally is the handicap placard being used by people that obviously don’t need to. The pass is possibly legitimate but for someone else other than the person using it. They treat it as if the ‘car’ is handicapped for whoever drives it. I actually heard a woman tell her able-bodied son or grandson to take her car so he could park close to the store.

Jeannie
Guest
Jeannie

Are you a doctor? Even if you are (which I’m reasonably certain you aren’t), you still have no way of accurately diagnosing a person’s handicaps merely by looking at the person without a proper examination. Many people have handicaps that aren’t visible. I wish I had a dollar for every time I was accused of not being handicapped simply because I drive an F150 (it’s far easier for me to hoist myself with both my legs and arms into a large vehicle like my F150–gravity works fine for getting out–than to try to get in and out of any small… Read more »

Liz
Guest
Liz

I agree that this is a problem. I ask folks to please not judge. In the time I was on dialysis awaiting my transplant surgery, I was thin but looked ‘normal’. So many people came up to me to accuse me of misusing the placard. Let me tell you, my invisible disability gave me a limited number of steps, breaths, movements to make at a time. After dialysis I had to crawl up the stairs to my apartment. Shopping for food was no party and parking close in helped me immeasurably.

Peggy Coffey
Guest
Peggy Coffey

My late father had dementia and severe arthritis. But he loved riding in the car with me. His doctor told me to get the handicapped pass for the car so he wouldn’t have to walk as far. I used it only when he was in the car with me and I destroyed it when he died.

Tony Sauer
Guest
Tony Sauer

As a paraplegic for more than forty years, I’ve seen more and more abuse of parking placards and service dogs in recent years. I can’t walk and we have a motorhome and van, both with wheelchair lifts which REQUIRE the 8 foot designated unloading area on the passenger side. In recent years more and more people use the accessible parking spaces (AKA Handicap parking) when there is an non accessible space nearby because they talked their doctor into giving them a parking placard. Or worse yet, they stay in the car while their spouse runs into the store to do… Read more »

Jean
Guest
Jean

There are only two questions that may be asked of people who claim their dog is a service dog. 1. Is the dog required because of a disability? 2. What services has the dog been trained to provide? Falsely claiming that your dog is a service dog makes you subject to penalties that could be a $1000.00 fine and up to six months in jail. I wish this was enforced more. Emotional support and comfort dogs do NOT qualify as service dogs. Having a service dog and/or a handicap placard is a necessity for many people. If you do not… Read more »

Terri & Joe
Guest
Terri & Joe

Hey Jean … was going to write the same thing…I work with MANY service animals for MANY reasons & it makes me SO angry when people try to pass off dogs as service animals
Service animals are feet on the floor at all times OR attached to the owner (like a small dog that detects diabetes issues can be in a bag on owner). ALL service animals should disappear into their surroundings when in vest … no inappropriate behavior in any way

Joann
Guest
Joann

The only people forced to allow emotional support animals (and real service animals) are landlords. Everybody else – restaurant, grocery, museum owners: You only have to accommodate an ADA-compliant critter. Use your rights, business owners, and just say no. Finally, here’s a quote from the ADA website: “There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.” Business owners, if you see someone eager to hand you some… Read more »

Ronald
Guest
Ronald

I think they need to remove the Handicap Placard from everyone and just use the auto tags instead. Being a Disabled Veteran makes me very upset seeing these people using things to keep the door dings from their new car.

RainbowRV
Guest
RainbowRV

That’s ridiculous. My grandma doesn’t have a car but uses her placard when someone else gives her a ride. Why would you take it away?

Jerry C.
Guest
Jerry C.

Placards are for the individual. Tags are for the car. Tags can be driven by anyone, but only a placard can move between cars. Yes, there are many abusers, but mostly you’ll see elderly with the placard. An exception to this is the 100% disabled Vet who has a tag.

Jeannie
Guest
Jeannie

First, thank you for your service to our country.

That said, is your vehicle the only vehicle that you ever travel in? I don’t always travel in my own vehicle. I welcome being able to ride with someone else when they have a vehicle I can get in and out of without having to have two men and a boy shove and drag me in and out of it. Being able to take a placard with me is very handy.

rvgrandma
Guest
rvgrandma

I was told to legally get an animal certified ‘comfort’ dog I needed to see a shrink. Most of these people are claiming are ‘comfort’ animals, not service animals. A true service animal is for: blind, hearing impaired. and I would include military that use them for PTSD. I know a guy with a Alzheimer’s trained service dog he takes every where with him. If he gets lost or confused the dog is there to help. My granddaughter has a ‘cat’ service/comfort animal because she has a sensory disorder. This allows them to rent anywhere since landlords can not refuse… Read more »

Terri & Joe
Guest
Terri & Joe

ESA pets are not qualified to perform in public…for the home environment they are GREAT. This abuse is hurting people that need service dogs to function and ESA’s do not have to behave to the same standard. More enforcement is needed

Peggy Coffey
Guest
Peggy Coffey

How can your grand daughter have s service cat but it’s her brothers cat? This is what makes people so angry.

Brian Clarke
Guest
Brian Clarke

I agree. This type of thinking is disgusting. While you’re at it, why don’t you get a fake disabled parking pass so you can park in the good disabled parking spaces. It’s the same thing. people that do things like this are despicable.

STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB
Guest
STEPHEN P MALOCHLEB

Brian, they already sell fake placards on the internet, as well as fake service animal documents, as well as synthetic urine so a drug addict can pass their test. If you want something illegal, search the internet. It’s there.:):):)