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The problem with fake service dogs

The other day, Web Watch was in a grocery store where we saw a woman with her chihuahua on a leash walking through the produce section.  The dog was wearing a “service dog vest”, indicating that this dog was specifically trained to assist the disabled in some manner.

And we’ve been seeing more and more of this.  Service dogs appear to be everywhere nowadays.  Have you seen this trend also?

Service Dog Harness
Service Dog Harness

So that does lead to the question of why there seems to be an uptick in the number of disabled people out there who choose to have a service dog assist them in their everyday activities.

Or is there really?

Perhaps what’s happening is that people have decided that the only way to take their beloved puppy out with them everywhere they go is to PRETEND THAT THEIR DOG IS A SERVICE DOG, when in reality, the dog is nothing more than a travelling companion that Betty didn’t want to leave at home alone or in the car while running errands.

So they go out and purchase a Service Dog vest or apply a nametag to the dog’s collar, proclaiming that the dog is a service dog — allowing them to bring the dog everywhere they go.

And while there is a legitimate need for service dogs out there, Web Watch is really seeing them absolutely everywhere we go — and there’s no way that all those dogs wearing Service Dog vests actually are really-for real Service Dogs.

According to the linked site above, any dog that merely “…provides emotional support, comfort, therapy, or companion benefits… are not service animals.”

A Service Animal must actually be trained to do something.  And according to the linked site, business are allowed to inquire about the animal in question before allowing the animal into the store:

  1. Is this service dog required because of a disability?
  2. What is it trained to do to mitigate the disability?

Note that you’re not asking what the disability itself happens to be.  All you’re trying to do is ascertain whether the animal fulills a Service Animal role or not.

So now that you’re thinking about it, have you seen more service animals than before?  And how many of them do you think are fake rather than being real?