[nagdu] The harm a fake service dogs good article

Marianne Denning marianne at denningweb.com
Mon Aug 17 13:28:49 UTC 2015

Below is the text of the article.  I was not the one who posted the link.

I have a friend who lost a leg ten years ago. No one has ever said how
lucky he is to have such a cool prosthetic and how they really want
one, too. Yet, if he used a dog instead of a prosthetic to function,
that's exactly the kind of comments he would get. Even worse--plenty
of people are trying to pass as disabled so they can bring their dog

I don't think they realize what it means to have a disability so
severe that they cannot function at a "normal" level--to be unable to
work, go shopping, get around in their own house--without assistance.
Constant pain, seizures, loss of vision, hearing or having a
life-threatening illness are not good trades for a pet, even a
miniature horse, or a really cute monkey.

By expressing a desire for a Service Dog, you're also wishing for the
accompanying disability. For a disabled person, hearing an able-bodied
person openly wish for a disability (even if you don't actually say
those words) is deeply hurtful. It suggests you don't take them or
their disability seriously and furthermore, it makes light of the
thousands of hours of training and socialization their partner has
undergone to perform his [or her] job. Anythingpawsable.com

I have a friend with a disability that is often invisible to
strangers. She uses a service dog to pull her wheelchair, or provide
balance assistance while walking. The dog can retrieve items and
provide a number of other tasks, for which she underwent two years of
intensive training.

The cost of a dog like this is around $20,000. While sponsorships are
available, one site which places around 75-100 dogs a year, has a
current wait list of 1,600 people. That equates to 16-22 years of
potential wait time.

 "To see someone who threw a cheap vest on their dog's back because
they like to have it around is like kicking me in my dislocated knee,"
one service dog handler said.

Emotional Support Animals are not the same as service animals. They
provide much needed comfort to many people. They do not require
training, and accordingly do not receive the same protection. Properly
documented Emotional Support Animals can be legally kept in housing
that prohibits pets. Often times they can be brought on airplanes. But
they cannot be brought to restaurants and movie theaters and
everywhere their owners go. Unfortunately, the ease with which a pet
can be labelled an Emotional Support Animal means that few people
really know what rights they do and do not have.

Service animals provide valuable assistance in myriad ways. This full
list  details ways animals can help with psychiatric disabilities,
which are above and beyond the comfort of an Emotional Assistance

Here are just a few examples of the tasks a trained animal can perform:
•Bring medication in a crisis, by retrieving bags, even opening cupboards.
•Bring fluids to swallow medications.
•Remind their partner to take medication on schedule.
•Call 911, alert partner to smoke alarms.
•Provide balance support for walking, ascending and descending stairs.
•Vigorously lick their partner's face to interrupt an episode of
combat side effects.

I was with someone who brought their emotional support dog to a
restaurant last week. She had her doctor write her a letter stating
her need for such an animal because her condo didn't allow pets and
she wanted a dog. The pet sported an orange vest she bought online and
sat next to its owner in one of the restaurant's chairs. She couldn't
put the dog on the floor because it was not reliably housebroken. The
dog ate off the table on one of the restaurant's plates. She told me
the dog was "legally allowed anywhere she went," and that she was
considering, "getting a letter to make her cat an emotional support
animal, too."

The only indicator that [a handler/dog] team is "legit" is the dog's
behavior. Service Dogs are well-trained, well-mannered, calm,
unobtrusive and handler focused. anythingpawesable.com

In researching this, I went to the American Airlines website to review
their policy on service animals and emotional support animals.

To show that an animal is a service animal, you must provide (at least
one of the following):
▪ Animal ID card
▪ Harness or tags
▪ Written documentation to verify the service, psychiatric or
emotional support status of your animal
▪ Credible verbal assurance

Sounds good, right? One problem:

There are no papers, documents, certifications, vests, tags or special
IDs required for Service Dogs in the United States. Under federal law,
disabled individuals accompanied by Service Dogs are allowed access to
places selling goods or services of any kind, including places
offering entertainment, lodging and food.

Yet you can easily register a fake service animal online and have
really nice paperwork to prove its necessity. Do you see how the
preponderance of fake service animals is making it harder for disabled
people with legitimate service animals to get around?
While it's tempting to buy a fake vest online and bring your beloved
pet everywhere, think about what you are really saying. Think about
what your actions are doing to the community of disabled people who
rely on their animal partners to function. If that isn't enough to
sway you from faking a service animal, CBS News reported that,

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it's a federal crime to use
a fake dog. And about a fourth of all states have laws against service
animal misrepresentation.

However, the need for creation of laws to punish people who are taking
advantage of the system is placing the burden of proof on the
legitimately disabled.

I am a dog owner and an animal lover, but faking a disability to enjoy
your pets' companionship is not only inappropriate, but detrimental to
people who rely on service animals to experience a modicum of the
able-bodied privilege so many of us take for granted. Calling your pet
a service dog is the same as the person you see in the disabled
parking spot in the Home Depot parking lot, throwing one hundred pound
bags of concrete into their car using their grandmother's parking

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On 8/17/15, Marsha Drenth via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Julie and all,
> It would be preferrable  if the person who is posting a link, could also
> copy and paste the article along with the link into the email. We have lots
> of people on list who are reading emails in many different formats. Yes,
> links do fall under the one line one word rule.
> Marsha drenth, NAGDU List Moderator
> email: marsha.drenth at gmail.com
> Sent with my IPhone
> Please note that this email communication has been sent using my iPhone. As
> such, I may have used dictation and had made attempts to mitigate errors.
> Please do not be hesitant to ask for clarification as necessary.
>> On Aug 17, 2015, at 7:04 AM, Julie J. via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> I'm with Debbie.  If there isn't something in the body of the message
>> explaining the article in a way that makes me believe it's a legitimate
>> link and not a link to download a virus, then I'm not clicking.   I would
>> specifically like to know why you thought it was a good article.  What was
>> the key take-a-way?  Was there a new idea brought up?  Does it relate to
>> something recently discussed?
>> And does posting the link only violate the one word one line message
>> rule?
>> Julie
>> Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman's Quest to Train her Own Guide Dog is now
>> available! Get the book here:
>> http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QXZSMOC
>> -----Original Message----- From: Jimmy via nagdu
>> Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2015 10:40 PM
>> To: Debby Phillips
>> Cc: Jimmy ; NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog
>> Users
>> Subject: Re: [nagdu] The harm a fake service dogs good article
>> Good evening.
>> Thankyou for your reply. I understand your thought. Hence, that is why
>> when I posted the mentioned article I put in the subject line of my
>> posting-The issues or problems of fake service dogs-good article. This
>> this give you a good idea of what the article is about. If that subject
>> interests you, you can select the link and read it.  I would prefer myself
>> a short and to the sweet posting that gives the subject  and the main
>> point in the subject and then I can choose to read it or not rather than
>> have a posting that rambles on and on . I will keep your mention in mind
>> in the future to make sure my subject lines are specific, but I, like
>> many, do not have time to always rewrite or explain the article. I hope
>> you are well! Have a great week!
>> James Alan Boehm
>> Phone: 901-483-1515
>> Personal Email: jimmydagerman80 at gmail.com
>> Refer NFB correspondences to:
>> secretary at nfb-tn.org
>> "Blindness never limits- Low expectations do! Live the life you want!"
>>> On Aug 16, 2015, at 9:44 PM, Debby Phillips <semisweetdebby at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> Hi Jimmy, I'm not a moderator, but I do wish that you would post
>>> something about why you've sent these links, at least.  I usually read my
>>> email with my Apex and forward emails to another email address I have
>>> that's just on my phone for when I want to look at a link someone has
>>> posted.  But if I don't know anything about the article, I don't do it.
>>> Perhaps I'm the only one who feels this way, but there may be others who
>>> don't wish to just hit a link just because someone posts one.  Thanks.
>>> Debby and Nova
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>> -----
>> No virus found in this message.
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Marianne Denning, TVI, MA
Teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired
(513) 607-6053

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