‘Faking’ a service dog (SD) is now a criminal offense in over 20 U.S.
states, and means hefty fines, jail time, or both
For example, in California, pretending to be an owner of a service dog is a
criminal misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to
$1,000 and/or up to
six months’ imprisonment
Pets and emotional support animals (ESA) being misrepresented as service
dogs has become a public nuisance and a burden on businesses. They can
also literally be dangerous for legitimate SD teams. Stories of SDs getting
attacked in public and on planes, are becoming way too common. In the
most severe of cases, SDs have been injured and traumatized so badly that
they must be retired, and in rare instances, injuries have been fatal. Losing a
pet can be emotionally traumatizing, imagine what it is like for a handler to
lose a service dog, especially because of an aggressive pet that had no
business being where it was.
Service Dog handlers are the most negatively affected by the problem of
untrained pet owners who claim their dogs are SDs. These unruly,
misbehaved, barking, and lunging dogs, give real SDs, who have trained for
thousands of hours over a couple years and have EARNED the right to
accompany their disabled handler in public, a very bad name.
The general public, business owners and employees, health care workers,
flight crews, the SD community, and just about everyone, has had it with
fakers. So, think twice before waving around that ‘service dog certification’
card that you bought online and putting a service dog vest on Fluffy so you
can take her shopping.
ADA & Service Animals:
California Penal Code: