Thursday, July 31, 2008

Commentary: Controversy over "Fake" Service Dogs

So I open up my email tonight I find yet another article railing against "fake service dogs". Check your Faux Service Dog at the Door heralds trends we in the service dog community needs to pay attention to. First, the general public and business owner's are getting tired of having to guess is it a service dog or isn't it. The article quotes the owner of a Trader Joe's who hesitates to ask the questions the DOJ says businesses can ask because "people get huffy". To those huffy people I say what did you think was going to happen when you chose to take an animal in public spaces where animals are not allowed normally? Of course you are going to attract attention. I imagine these same huffy people are also the ones who complain the loudest when they spot what they believe to be a faker service animal spying on their dog their dog from the safety of a shopping cart. Or could it be that some of these people can't actually answer the questions because they are not a person with a disability, their dog is not task trained, and is not a service dog. I, for one, have no problem glowing about all the the great things my dog does for me. I am deeply proud of the work we put into training, grooming, and finding the right gear to ensure that we would be welcome no matter where in the world we went.

I also have never understood some people's aversion to outfitting their service dogs in a some sort of identifying gear. The argument that a person doesn't want people to know they have a disability has so many holes in it is not funny. These same people who don't want people to know they have disability should realize that dogs as a regular occurrence of dogs in public is still very uncommon, and this will continue to be the case as long as there are irresponsible dog owners who insist on bringing animals who can't handle the stress of being out in public out. No to mention the problem of stinky dog sydrome. Having a dog in public will always draw attention dressing one's service dog in clean, identifiable gear goes a long way in reducing the number of confrontation encounters with business owner's, store personnel, and the general public. Yes, the argument people can't afford to buy vest or other gear. I have known many crafty people who made their own gear, so it can be done!

The article also proposes that certain breeds of dog be banned from serving as service animals. As a dog lover find it extremely sad that entire breeds (that we humans asre responsible for making what they are) are suffering for the actions of a few. These individual dogs are the result of irresponsible human owners yet no one is talking about passing legistlation to ban these humans from making anymore dogs suffer. The Monthly National Legislation Report keeps tabs on all dog related legislation around the country.

Finally, the article pushes for certicification and registration of all service dogs. I think if owner trainers would train their dogs to adhear to the standards set by the professional service dog training community this seemingly inevitable event will be no problem. The U.S. is the only country that doesnot require certification. It is coming, it is only a matter of when. The proposed rule changes to the ADA foreshadow this, we as an owner training community must in sist on high standards within our own community if we wish to stave ofd this restriction.

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