The fake service dog problem has reached new heights after an attack in Sacramento, California.
Michael Kelly is blind and gets around thanks to his certified seeing eye dog, Kie.
Last week, Kelly and Kie were at the Sacramento Light Rail Regional Transit Station. Kie was doing his job when another dog rushed toward him and attacked.
Kelly told KTXL, “My dog started screaming.”
The aggressive dog lunged toward Kie and bit down on his muzzle. After the two dogs were separated, the aggressive dog’s owner claimed the animal was also a service dog, but when the Sacramento police said they would monitor surveillance camera footage, KTXL reports the dog’s owner changed their story and admitted to police that their dog was a “fake service animal.”
Even with this admission, there is little police can do. The aggressive dog’s owner was reportedly cited for riding the rail without purchasing a ticket, but no other legal action was taken.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was instated to protect people with disabilities from unfair discrimination. It makes it illegal for someone to ask about the legitimacy of a service animal, and trained service dogs aren’t required to carry official identification. Therefore, you can’t ask a person to demonstrate what their dog is trained to do, and people with service dogs have a right to report anyone who asks more than two questions about their animals.
While the law protects those with special needs, it leaves the door open for pet owners to take advantage of the service dog system.
“Fake service dogs” are becoming more and more common. Dog owners want to take their pets with them everywhere, so they’re lying about their dogs being official service dogs.
“So many people lie about it that it ruins it for those of us that have a legitimate need.”
Service dogs like Kie go through months of training to prepare for every possible situation. They know to stay calm during chaotic circumstances and are required to behave well in all kinds of public spaces. Fakers, like the dog that attacked Kie, give hard-working service dogs a bad name.
After the incident at the rail station, Kie showed true professionalism and got right back to work. He had a mark on his muzzle from where he was bitten, but he didn’t let that stop him from doing his job.
What do you think of fake service dogs? Let us know in the comments.
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