Sunday, April 12, 2015

Service dog shenanigans

There have been a few side conversations on here regarding fake/legit service dogs, use of therapy dogs and the like.

To cut through the BS Here is the link to the US Department Of Justice Fact Sheet on the issue.

Read it.
Learn it.
Know it.

Excerpts from the Government website:

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

From the above, note that:

- Service dogs are NOT pets.  They are animals trained to perform specific tasks for a human owner.  Legit service dog training typically takes MONTHS and can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  This means that the pit bull you just picked up at the pound is NOT A SERVICE DOG, and probably never will be.

- "Emotional Therapy" and "comfort" dogs are NOT QUALIFIED SERVICE ANIMALS.  THIS MEANS THEY ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THE ADA!

Almost everyone, at this point, has experienced an obviously fake service dog at one point or another.  Malicious, entitled dog owners will abuse the process, abuse sympathy for the disabled, and abuse the general love of dogs so they can have Fido drag them everywhere dogs are not welcome.

The last sentence above is key:  WE are forced by LAW to associate with dogs!   If that is the case, then these dogs BETTER be legit!  How about if we were to do the same with heavy weapons permits?

They get away with this by exploiting loopholes in the law, and exploiting ignorance about the law itself.

Long term, loopholes need to be closed.  The biggest loophole in my opinion:  "Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task."

Consider what I highlighted above.  Now, you may not ask the dog owner "what is your disability" or the like because that violates their right of privacy.  However, by not requiring ID on the dog, that means the dog owner can buy a $30 vest on Ebay, slap it on the dog and take it to the local steak joint.  No problemo!   Consider this article.      Or, simply Google "service dog fraud":  It is nearly ubiquitous nowadays!

This loophole needs to close.  Each service dog should be licensed by the Federal Government.  This document should be a hard-card ID (similar to a driver's license) with a photo of the dog, a photo of the owner, with a serial number that matches a chip in the dog.  The license does NOT need to indicate the specific task training, nor the disability of the human handler - thus medical privacy is maintained.   Penalties should be steep for presenting fake ID's.   All online sales of service dog ID's, vests and the like should be shut down (HT - Eileen).  Prescriptions for service dogs must be made IN PERSON, not online or over the phone, and there should be penalties for doctors that hand out frivolous service dog prescriptions (again, HT Eileen).  Hell, they have high standards for narcotics prescriptions, why not service dog prescriptions?

Libertarian type objections will not float here.  Again, the government is FORCING US BY LAW TO ASSOCIATE WITH CERTAIN DOGS.  Whether we like it or not!  Allergic?  Terrified?  TOO BAD!  UNCLE SAM SAYS YOU MUST HAVE THIS DOG IN YOUR ESTABLISHMENT!   The rest of us then should be able to demand the dog is performing a legit function.  In a libertarian universe, there would be NO ADA.  So, either get used to some restrictions, dog owners, or give up your protections.  YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

Again, like everything else in the doggy universe there are no standards, and malicious dog owners exploit every loophole to the extreme.

FOR NOW, here are a few things that may protect you.  You ARE allowed to inquire the following:  Staff may ask two questions: 

(1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and 
(2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. 

Of course, if the owner is a good BS artist, I'm sure they may have the above down pat.

Some other tidbits that may protect you:

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: 
(1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or 
(2) the dog is not housebroken. 

So, if the dog berzerks or pees in the aisle.... BUH BYE FIDO!

Also:

If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.

Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

For now, the law protects dog owner bad behavior (nothing unusual about that).  That said, learn the law and make sure they do not step one inch over the line!

There has been a lot of buzz about implementing BSL in the service doggy universe.  This is a great idea, but I want to bump it up a notch... instead of blacklisting attack dogs and the like, there should be a "white list" of breeds found to be good service animals.  If the dog breed in question is NOT on the white list, it may NOT be a service animal.  Period.

For now, Job #1 should be a proofing/ID system.  I guarantee most (99+%) of Pit Bull service dogs are fake.  Simply eliminating the fakes should take care of the phony attack dog service issue.

Probably the worst thing about the epidemic of service dog fraud is the fact that it discredits and disparages legitimate service dogs and their owners.  Folks who are legitimately disabled and depend on their properly trained dogs to function would benefit from this new regime. 

VERIFICATION NOW.






16 comments:

  1. When I was in high school, I dated a blind classmate. He had a Leader Dog, and oh, did he and the dog have to go through training. As friendly as I was with my classmate, the rules of the dog applied to me as they did to everyone else. I could not pet or speak to the dog while it was working.

    Contrast that with the "please ask to pet" vests I've seen on some dogs. Those aren't legit service dogs. Not even close.

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    1. A legit service dog would wear a vest in public that says "do not pet".

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  2. Yes they do, but the wheelchair bound lady in town will give hers a command to relax. When the dog is off duty it's ok to pet. She's very friendly and happy to answer kids questions. I believe that's why, when they ask, she tells the dog to relax. She makes sure to tell any kid to first let the dog smell them so it knows they're safe.
    By contrast the kid walking his pit bull, claiming it's a service dog is a fake. No vest , dog trying to DRAG him everywhere. He even told me he got the papers online because he has anger issues. I'm sure not all fakes are as easy to spot but he was obvious.

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    1. And what does someone in a wheelchair need a 'servus dawg' for? We have motorized wheelchairs and devices they can use to pick something up if they drop it.

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    2. I know it seems kind and cool and sweet of the woman. Her dog should have been selected for it's non-reactive personality. Handlers should never encourage their dog to be treated as a pet in public. Its job is to not be interested in anything but the job/task that it has been trained for
      Allowing it to be a pet dog one minute and back to service in the next is going to eventually loosen that training. The dog will stop focusing on the task at hand and want to engage with humans on a doggy social level. She is also risking that small chance that even a dog chosen for temperament might become overwhelmed and snap. A child may end up hurt and she may end up out a service dog.
      I don't find it cruel to deny a dog all the loving pats. The only happy dogs I have ever seen are ones that have a purpose. It's occupied in mind and body.
      The ability to get an Rx and the SD vests and ID tags online needs to be addressed before any other significant changes can be made to the ADA. The actual training of the dog is hard to monitor. There should be a suitability phase where an individual or organization can present a dog not more than one year in age that should show basic obedience along with temperament. ( Less than one year old removes the shelter and rescue mutts with no known history) The second test should be a certification that the dog can indeed perform the specified task on a reliable basis. At that time the dog should be chipped and fitted for a vest and issued a tag with all ID visible for inspection at any business that asks. The nature of the users disability is never discussed only the illegitimacy of the dog.
      BTW AU. That grilled dog didn't look half bad. You make a special rub for that ? In the zombie apocalypse I plan on making the little fat white rat next door the first thing that hits the rotisserie. Not because I'd be that hungry but because well. it's the apocalypse and I can.

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    3. "Handlers should never encourage their dog to be treated as a pet in public. Its job is to not be interested in anything but the job/task that it has been trained for "

      I agree. The dog needs to focus on taking care of its human charge.

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  3. Here's is the problem with everyone deciding for themselves if their dog is suitable for 'servus dawg' work:http://www.albrittain.com/veterans/active-duty-fort-campbell-soldiers-ptsd-service-dog-kills-child/

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  4. And some more: http://cravendesires.blogspot.com/2012/04/vintage-stunt-pit-picks.html

    In a classic backfire, Anna Klafter's SPCA pencil whipped therapy Pit Bull goes beserk after seeing it's first police horse in Golden Gate Park. Nettie is shot, the police officer is put on the disability rolls and Anna get’s kicked in the face, sustaining a fractured skull. In a bizarre twist of irony, the Taxpayer’s Police Horse; Triple A Andy, has to be retired and is donated to the same SPCA that “pimped” Nettie out onto the public!

    Robert Weller’s PTSD Service Pit Bull “Chummy” In 2009 the noted reporter published this piece about a California* based Pit Bull group suing Evil-Denver to overturn it’s 21 year old Pit Bull ban. Later in 2010, he published another piece describing how he received a humanitarian exemption from Evil-Denver since Chummy served as his PTSD Service Dog…The piece then deteriorates as he rambles on about Chummy attacking him and the Denver taxpayers getting bitten in the ass responding to his 911 call. Robert is Denver’s last known Pit mauling victim.

    When Texas Pit Bull breeder Steven Woods got in trouble for his Pit Bull Mimi attacking a neighbor, he whipped out the disabled veteran, PTSD -Pit Bull Service dog card. Soon pictures of Tu-Tu wearing Mimi were all over the internet and gullible Pit Advocates raised $17, 000 for his legal fight against “The Man”. Woods even had the balls to wear his uniform for his court appearance. Later. the National Guard revealed that Woods had never served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and in fact that he had never deployed anywhere. Even though Woods and the Pit Bull community saved man biting Mimi, she was euthanized after attacking another neighbor 8 months later. This time Woods didn’t show up for court.

    Animal Control Officer-Nutter Aimee Chapelle establishes one of the first known bite prevention school programs using Pit Bulls to educate...err, indoctrinate children...She is on her way to Pit Bull Superstardom after getting this fabulous PR piece published:
    http://www.postindependent.com/article/20050730/VALLEYNEWS/50729010
    Then in 2006 the program is muzzled after one of her Pit Bulls defeats her fence and attacks a neighborhood child! http://www.postindependent.com/article/20061226/VALLEYNEWS/112260030

    Linda Rose Forney volunteered at the City Public library and would take her Pit Bull with her to expose as many people as she could to Pit Bulls for the “Great Struggle“. All was well until Snoopy bit a resident in the face. Now the City of Maul-lala is being sued for $158,000.

    Marc Langevin’s PTSD Service Dog “Princess” attacks a neighbor walking her dog and severely bites both of them…Langevin expresses bewilderment as to why his fighting breed dog was “triggered” at the sight of another dog.

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    1. Btw there is a cure for PTSD. https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/sage/the-treatment-of-combat-trauma-in-veterans-using-eft-emotional-freedom-NkHiVVOuN6

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    2. PTSD dogs, Autism dogs and my eternal favorite the ESD.
      The phrase- Nothing that a little duct tape( DOG) can't fix- comes to mind. How about- There's an app( DOG) for that.
      They run a program here that trains shelter pits to be PTSD dogs and then hands them out to vets with PTSD. I can't think of a worse combination, or a better one, to set a catastrophe in motion.

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  5. A dog came into work today. The owner had a walker and the dog had handles on it's vest. I assume part of it's job is to help steady her if need be. The dog laid quietly under the table while she and her friends ate. It had I'D tags on it's vest. Unless you were allergic the only way you would have known the dog was there was seeing it.
    As for the wheelchair bound woman her dog has a bright orange stripe and flag attached to it's vest making her more visible when crossing streets. The dog also helps her stand when she needs to get out of the chair and picks things up that she drops. I once saw a stupid comment that humans should be hired to do those things. Considering the amount of abusive assholes and grifters that would be a big mistake.

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    1. It's not stupid. It generates jobs. The human wants to get paid? Better handle the job correctly or they're fired on the spot. There's also miniature horses that do service work well, and they're vegan friendly. We don't need dogs for service work when it boils down to it. Everything is either motorized, community-based, or are friendlier alternatives than "Fifi". The reason it's "dogs" and not "horses" or "people" is because of the pet industry pushing the "need" for them. It's just another corporate grab for power and cash from any potential customer, even if it's the government. Why are there so many phony service dogs? Pet industry cash grab and fuel for the Mutt Machine, that's why.

      I had a friend who didn't need a service dog to get around and he was blind. He had his cane and his other friends guiding him along. That's all he wanted. I have another friend who's nearly blind, has a cane, but doesn't need a dog to get around. He says that having a service dog "only limits the boundaries, not break the boundaries". I think he's on to something, as cryptic as that message is.

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  6. As a horse lover I question the abilty to ever take the flight out of a prey animal. When my husband had a broken leg we would ask at the service desk for someone to assist him in his shopping. Never refused and it allowed him some time to just scoot around and enjoy being out. ( look I had him the other 23 hours of the day) Oh and no dog had to touch , shed , piss , crap or put its filthy mouth on anything to assist my husband. Plus it gave his someone new and human to bug.
    Service animals may help but they require a lot of care and upkeep.

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  7. When I was a kid, several members of my 4-H club raised seeing eye dogs. Some dogs would be raised from the time they were a puppy and when they'd get to be old enough they'd fail their personality personality tests, or whatever they were called. Those dogs would be adopted out as pets. All dogs are not cut out to be service dogs. This had nothing to do with breed by the way. Since these were specifically seeing eye dogs being raised as part of a larger program, they were all from the same two breeds, German Shepherds and Labs, I think.

    Service animals definitely have a role to play for people with disabilities, but I entirely agree with you that if the law requires other people to accommodate the dogs, there should be identification to indicate if it's a legit service dog.

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  8. Furbaby Family pet care, Ballwin offer private dog boarding residence where your dog has the luxury of staying in a home away from home.

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  9. I have mastocytosis and I think they are trying to train yorkies as service dogs to detect the early stages of anaphylaxsis, so the owner knows to take precautions and avoid life-threatening attacks. Yorkies are easy to keep clean with short hair and usually hypoallergnic. So, a "white list" of dog breeds probably isn't the best idea, since it won't suit every case. I agree we should start registering the dogs and have official paperwork. As someone severely allergic to everything, the abuse of this system really gets on my nerves. I read someone took their emotional support turkey on a plane.

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