When ever people see our Amber service-dog-in-training even strangers are quick to give us unsolictited advice. “You gotta get registered to get that card so you can take your dog any where. The card is even laminated!”
My son’s response is “Bullshit! There is no legal registration for service dogs. Have you read what the ADA website says about service dogs?”
This post will share my opinion about those on-line company’s selling service dog vests and those take your dog anywhere laminted cards.
If you chose to not read my story, please scroll to the bottom to where is read SKIP to HERE.
My son can quote what the ADA says about service dogs versus; emotional support dogs verbatium.. Amber service-dog-in-training, 8 months old, wil be my son’s 2nd service dog when she is about 2 years old provided she has been properly trained. We take the “service-dog” thing very seriously, So don’t be trying to pull the wool over our eyes with a laminated card you got on the internet… I will give some links below for any one to read the laws before they buy into the “take your dog any where certification.”
The first faithful service dog, Tacks, passed away 3 years ago after 9 years of service. My son and I checked into about every place we could to get him a new dog to be trained specifically for his disabilites. We opted to train a pup ourselves with professional assistance locally. That is Amber in the image above, resting comfortably on my son’s wheelchair parked by his hospital bed.
David bought Tack’s service dog vests from SitStay.com. I was reading through and comparing Sit Stay dot com with thos registeries. After reading under the service vests I tell you what, Sit Stay dot com does not want to register your fake to take everywhere. Check out their page that spells out the facts. https://www.sitstay.com/blogs/good-dog-blog/fake-service-dogs?utm_source=Page&utm_medium=Fake%20Service%20Dog%20Complications_link&utm_campaign=ServiceDog_Guide
The Final Straw that prompted this post:
Last week Amber got spayed. She was to stay over night at the Vets. My home bound son had a personal errand that he could do by taking a bus versus 48 hour advance scheduling a para transit van. [For the record Yes, persons declared ” home bound” by their doctors stil have to do things in person. They get out with extra ordinary effort and support. David does not have the desire to go out to fancy restrurants and such. He can not go out more than a block or so away from our home without help. His dog will allow him some peace away from me for a short while and allow him to do a few more tasks on his own with help of the dog.]
I have not begun training Amber to ride the bus yet. Since she was well taken care of at the Vets this was there perfect time for David to catch the bus with my assistance and no distractions of a puppy. Amber has been riding in a special wheelchair taxi with David and I soon after we got her. She still needs to mature a lot.
Training to take a service dog anywhere:
We had just talked to the bus driver who regularly drove the route near by our new apartment as she strapped down my son’s wheelchair. I had been planning on making practice runs to the mall and back with the service dog in training stating that we always check with the people in charge about bringing Amber in and out to train in the few places my son can go to in public in his wheelchair later on with the dog. I was building trust.
YES!!!! Service dogs must be trained in different scenarios to be prepared for anything when they eventually will be working as a team member as an extention of the person with the disability. The training sessions are kept short for success. Dressing a dog in a vest with out training is a recipe for disaster.
I love the reaction from folks when I tell about the tasks Amber is already doing. She picks up quarters off the floor and puts them in our hands. It is painfully obvious that if my son, David were to drop change; his ID, debit card or cell phone he can not bend down to reach those small items. Amber can do it for him already but not consistently, yet..
She loves to pick out laundry from the clothes dryer…her stuff! She will pick through to find her own just washed toys and blankets then leave the rest. It is pretty funny how she leaves David’s clothes and only puts her things in the basket ready to go back to our apartment. She started this all on her own. I think she imitates me in her own. She is always by own sides. We talk to her like we would a small child. This is start and she is having fun learning new things.
Let me tell you, I love it when she picks up the laundry quarters when I drop them. I’m getting old and my knees don’t bend well. (But I am her handler. She is not my future service dog.) One of the goals is for Amber to help David bring his own laundry from the dryer back to our apartment. He can not reach inside the dryer, so Amber will perform the task of putting clothes into the basket on David’s lap.
Back to the wheels on the bus that were going ’round and ’round until it pulls up to a bus stop to load and unload people on the bus.
…along comes two young woman running to catch the bus with a large poodle wearing a red vest. Of course I perked up at the sight of a service dog…Guess what happens next! YIKES!
The bus drivers asks the women, “What does the dog do as a service dog?” The driver can legally ask that question. We had already heard the driver verbalize to us that “not all disabilites are visible.”
To determine if an animal is a service animal, a public entity or a private business may ask two questions:
- Is this animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has this animal been trained to perform?
One of the women flipped out! “I have anxiety. This is my emotional support dog. I have the registered card that allows me to take my dog ANYWHERE I WANT!”
Well, the driver did not argue and let them on as the women ranted to my son. Both women seemed like they wanted to get sympathy from a disabled man. (Part of the reason the driver did not argue was the bus was 7 minutes behind already before David and I were let on. When ever a wheelchair gets on the bus, including my son, the bus gets behind schedule. People grumble about not being on time because of stupid wheelchairs. What some riders don’t realize is that there is special funding for disabilites that helps keep their fare lower than it could be. No time to put up a fight for the bus driver.)
One woman pulls out her laminted card. “See my dog is registered to take her anywhere I want!”
David, who has a diagnosis of anxiety before his diagnosis of severe MS, kindly asked, ” What does the dog do?”
The irrate woman indignantly replied “It licks me!”
The other woman was yelling, “We will call the news. We will sue you! We have the registered card!”
Flash Back to Tacks the late service dog.
When David got first got Tacks he was still walking. Tacks job was going to be to help balance David’s gait so he could go further about town. Tacks was welcomed as a service dog in the places’s David frequented. At times Tacks would get anstey forcing David to leave where he was sitting having a leisurely cup of coffee.David was not happy with his service dog making him to leave before he was ready.
After this happened a few times with David being hit hard with anxiety within minutes, he realized that Tacks the service dog smelled the anxiety coming on. The service dog had added a new tasks all on his own. (David had a friend who had a remarkable seizure dog whose name was Amber. Davids puppy was named after that wonderful dog.)
Tacks was warning David about the anxiety attacks about 15 minutes prior to an event, (Much like Amber the siezure dog who was highly trained at $20,000 price tag.). This allowed David time to get to a calm space to deal with the anxiety rather than in a coffee shop full of people. ( Note: this is specific to my son who also has MS. Tacks could have been a Pyschiatric Service dog, but that bonus would have been a moot with so many tasks to be done. Later on when David had to go into a manual wheelchair, Tacks pulled the wheelchair some to save David’s energy. Tasks was trained to do more and more tasks as the disease progressed.).
Back to the Bus:Question for you:
Do you think my son and I gave sympathy to this woman with the dog in the red vest and the laminated card?
No, we did not give any sympathy.
- A laminated card has no legal value. A card will not excuse a poorly behaving dog whom the owner can not control.)
- Emotional Support Dogs are not SERVICE DOGS specifically trained to do tasks for their disabled owner as an extentsion of that person. ( Eye glasses; cane; prothetic limb; wheelchair are examples.)
- After listening, we knew she had bought the vest and card, but the dog had no training neither did either of the woman. The dog should not have been on the bus. It was a nice dog tho’/
David very kindly stated, “According to the ADA an emotional support dog, is NOT a service dog. Tho’ housing laws have changed somewhat this year, an emotional support dog has not been trained to do specific tasks for a disabled person according to the ADA. I know how bad anxiety can be. But you do not have a legal right to bring your dog on the bus.”
“But the TRC says I can take my dog anywhere. Who the F__ is ADA to tell me what to do when I have a registered card!”
The Fair Housing Act covers service animal provisions for residential housing situations, and the Air Carrier Access Act covers service animal provisions for airline travel. The definition of a service animal under each of these laws is different than the definition under the ADA.
The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks for purposes of the definition of a service animal. https://adata.org/factsheet/service-animals
My heart goes out to the woman who did seems to have a disabling emotional disability.
My heart goes out to all the other people who are being DUPED! ( my opinion)
This young woman wasted $80 bucks with the false promise, in my opinion, that she could take her dog anywhere with this laminated card because it was “registered” This is what the sales people tell those who buy the vest and the card then register their dog,. “the city bus; the Grey Hound; the air lines; the resturants could call up the company to confirm the dogs regstration that allows the dog to go any where the owner wanted.” But those company have no legal authority to issue any such thing any more than you can get a drivers licence from them.
Oh what to do? What to do?
- When Davd and I got home I called the city bus office to explain what we witnessed and why we were offering to support the driver not the passengers. Apparently, those bogus laminted resgistration were popping up all over our local city buses. Those cards were becoming a problem. I will explain below how those dogs with card can be detrimental to persons who do their business with legit service dogs.
- David called up a few of those companies to get the scoop on the this poop first hand. He heard some very compelling sales ptiches….but did not fall for them. He will NEVER need a laminated card for Amber. I encourage you to read what the ADA says by clicking on the links below to read the truth from the official government links.
David asked the salemen how they verified the tasks the dog does or the training. The salemen responded, “ it is illegal to ask what tasks the dog does.”
OOPS! Wrong answer! You can’t ask about the person’s disability.
So my son asked point blank, “Then how do you have the right to verify the need for a service dog? A person must have a disabiltiy that warrants the assistance of a dog or small horse to perform specialy trained tasks. My doctors have written reasonable accomodations letters for me verifying the need for my service dogs to live with me and accompany me on the bus. Are you telling me that you are claiming to licence dogs with out any documentation or training?”
The sales men hung up on David. He knew David was not buying what they had to sell.
From where I sit with my son’s service-dog-in-training is at my feet I have 3 giant concerns.
- People are being taken advantage of by these “take your dog anywhere” cards. ( My opinion)
- Fact: it takes a great deal of training to be sure a service dog is well prepared to go out in public to focus the disabled owner and do the tasks it was trained to do. A service dog must be on its best behavior and not distracted. Believe me, there are plently of distractions. Amber is not ready to be a full service dog until she is mature enough at over age 2 years. We still have a great deal of training to do.
- David and I are supposed to be able to assume that when picking up David’s medication; going to the doctors or riding the bus with his service dog that the dog will not be attacked by an untrained dog wearing a vest with laminated card. FACT: service dogs do get attacked by dogs not under control of their owners. Let me tell you, it is a taxing hassel to get David anywhere, now days. Adding a dog to the effort, just because we can, is a royal pain in the behind at times. I not only have to plan ahead to care for my son, but I must be prepared for any emergency with the dog…she conintues to need training appropirate to her age.
I must question the safety of a blind person with a their guide dogs when using public transportation. Will they be safe with an untrained dog wearing a vest on the same bus? That laminted registration does not require SQUAT in good manners training.
People want to take their dogs with them. Most dogs do provide emotional support for many dog lovers. I know Amber provides me with emotional support, but she is not my service dog. She barks when someone is outside our window in the middle of the night: that is perk of having a dog in the house. Amber sleeps by DAvid side. She wakes me up when David needs me in the middle of the night; that is a trained service she provides us. In fact she will come wake me up when she sences David is having problems even before he gves her the command, now. Alerting me is a trained task of a service dog.
- Amber is being trained to work for my disabled son. When I take her out to train I only take her places my son will go. I also communicate with the owners and managers that I am coming in. We go in and go out in a few minutes as long as the training event is going well.
- My statement is that if she is a problem I will promptly take her out. So far, we have done well and I believe she will continue to progress provided I plan ahead. I NEVER try to pass her off as my service dog. She does wear a vest. What seperates service dog trainers and owners from the rest is that we carefully paln for success. We are not defensive. We want to be sure the store owners or doctor offices feel comfortable. Too many are taking advantage of those vests and cards making people wary of real service dogs..
- There are times when people confuse service dog in training with a therapy dog. I have to refuse them petting her. Service dogs and therapy dogs are very different by definition. I have provided links below to better inform yourself.
I want to say this to people who do benefit from emotional support dogs; how blessed you are to have that dog in your life!
But, please please please, do not take your dog into places only a service dog is allowed to go.
- You will be causing yourself more stress than you ever bargained for.
- Your dog will not be able to focus on your needs unless trained to be a psychiatric service dog.
- You are playing with fire with a false sense of security thinking you can just pop on to a bus or stay in a hotel and argue with those in charge.
- Neither you nor your dog have any legal rights to be there if pets are not allowed. Same for a resturant or an airplane. I’m sorry, but you don’t even that legal right with that alleged registered card. You may as well have bought snake oil from a pan handler.
- Your untrained “emotional support dog” can be such a distraction to a real service dog that it could miss allerting the disabled person of an impending seizure or a visually impaired person could fall into a hole while the their guide dog is trying to avoid being bitten by your “emotional support dog.” For those you who are cocky with your laminated card and vest you may soon experience more emotional distress than you ever have in your life when you are responcible for some ones’ injuries and you get fined.
- For those who have anxiety, a dog won’t fix it. Please find appropriate counceling to learn coping skills and an appropriate medication that will help.
Skip to HERE: If you only read part of this post click and READ the links below.
I’m not alone in my experienced opinion.Don’t take my word for it. Please click and read the links below. I weededthem out form the top listings in a search. They made the top of the front page because they PAID to be there above the ADA or related publications… Please note; a few of the posts I suggest you read are monetized with contextual advertsing. Guess what advertising pop-up becasue of the key words? Ignore those ads. Do not click on them. those advertisments show up by default because of the key words, not becasue the author endorses them.
Disclaimer: this post is an opinion NOT legal advise nor a definitive authority.
- Read what The Boston Globe published: No support for fake service animals
In many cases, passing a pet off as a support animal is an act of small-time fraud. Pet lovers take advantage of websites selling bogus equipment — vests, ID tags, and “certifications” — to designate a pet as an emotional support or service animal. And because there’s widespread misinformation about what kind of legal protections exist around service animals, the scam is easy to get away with. Click to read.No support for fake service animals
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
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. https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Psychiatric Service Dogs & Emotional Support Animals: Access to Public Places & Other SettingsPsychiatric service dogs are allowed in most public places, while emotional support animals are not. By Zachary Duffly
The key distinction to remember is that a psychiatric service animal is actually trained to perform certain tasks that are directly related to an individual’s psychiatric disability. The dog’s primary role is not to provide emotional support. It is to assist the owner with the accomplishment of vital tasks they otherwise would not be able to perform independently.
Federal Service Dog Law in Plain English