Abuse of status/service dogs

Has anyone here known anyone to abuse that? Much like folks abuse the handicapped parking. I know of someone that puts a 'service dog' vest on their dog to go shopping. Don't get me wrong, the dog is very well behaved, and serves a purpose. That being to get waited on more quickly and to get through checkout more quickly. I find that very annoying, to say the least.

I do. There is a man/lady used to be a woman, is now a man who thinks the world owes him/her and he went through obedience training. He uses his dobermans as "service dogs for the hearing impaired". One day he was in Walmart, I was in front. He didn't remember me. He was with his mother, and she was looking in her wallet complaining that she needed more money. He proceeded to take out his wallet and hand her some money. I turned to him and said, 'If you're going to play deaf, at least have the decency to try to read your mother's lips.' I just can't stand when someone tries to take advantage of the services that are meant for others with real needs. Much like parking in a handicap space when you are not handicapped!

I have seen it happen, and I have heard a few people claim they use their service vest for a dog that is not a service dog, to get them on planes and such. I have also seen a few dogs that in NO way could possible be service dogs…completely mannerless, and out of control (clearly not still in training)...so I suspect they are NOT actual service dogs.

On the other hand, it is really difficult to know what kind of 'service' the dog is doing...could be seizure id, or some other undetectable-to-our eye problem...so you can't judge a book by its cover. Unless the cover is completely unruly, and not acting like a service dog 😉

I have joked about getting service dog vests for my 3-pack so they can go everywhere with me…but only as a joke. Can you imagine seeing me coming with my tri-lead and 3 'vested' basenjis towing me about? One would wonder what "service" they performed, other than getting others out of our path!

As my hubby is in a wheelchair, it totally gets my fur up when handicap/disabled services are abused by those that do not need them. Yes, the worst is the parking stall problem. Many times I have become the parking stall police and have told people they have no right parking there. But I agree with Andrea - you have to be SO careful because the handicap can always be one that is not visually obvious. I know people with colitis/crohns disease that on occasion use a handicap spot when they have to run in somewhere to use a toilet FAST. But blatant improper usage of anything reserved for those with disabilities is just WRONG! Where are these people getting the service dog vests? In our neck of the woods, you can only get those from accredited organizations that actually work with you and your dog. Oh yes, just remembered - you can find anything on eBay. All I can say is if and when the abusers need to really use these services, perhaps they will finally recognize how wrong they were to abuse them.

First Basenji's

Interestingly enough, it was a basenji owner that first told me about ways to register your pet as a service dog, permitting them privileges like accompanying you on a plane… She had it in mind primarily for the ease of transporting pets more easily (she let us in on this 'secret' after we told her our costly/intensive process of transporting our shiba when we moved back to the US from overseas). I don't think she meant to gloat or game the system for extra privileges like priority service in a grocery store queue (which I've never seen happen... I didn't know this was something that the disabled were entitled to, though I imagine people offer out of courtesy?). Anyway, I think this basenji owner meant to inform us of an alternative option, if we really wanted to travel with our pets.

That said, I wouldn't bat an eye or think any less of a person who wanted to slip through the cracks with their "service" dog for the purpose of traveling. Not only did my partner and I move overseas with our dog, we also had to drive across the country when moving from our parents' homes in Michigan here to California. It was a pain in the ass. It was not always easy to find affordable, dog-friendly lodging, especially since we weren't set up for camping. I think in a more overall humane environment, traveling with your pets should be easier. Well-behaved pets should be an integral part of daily lives, and it'd be easier if we didn't have to sneak around a system that discourages their integration. I think there are certain places that pets shouldn't ever need to go to, like restaurants, but when I see dogs that I KNOW would be better behaved than most children on planes, it DOES make me wonder why we some people look down so severely on extra allowances for pets while those who complain about rambunctious children are branded as curmudgeons...

@curlytails:

Interestingly enough, it was a basenji owner that first told me about ways to register your pet as a service dog, permitting them privileges like accompanying you on a plane… She had it in mind primarily for the ease of transporting pets more easily (she let us in on this 'secret' after we told her our costly/intensive process of transporting our shiba when we moved back to the US from overseas). I don't think she meant to gloat or game the system for extra privileges like priority service in a grocery store queue (which I've never seen happen... I didn't know this was something that the disabled were entitled to, though I imagine people offer out of courtesy?). Anyway, I think this basenji owner meant to inform us of an alternative option, if we really wanted to travel with our pets.

That said, I wouldn't bat an eye or think any less of a person who wanted to slip through the cracks with their "service" dog for the purpose of traveling. Not only did my partner and I move overseas with our dog, we also had to drive across the country when moving from our parents' homes in Michigan here to California. It was a pain in the ass. It was not always easy to find affordable, dog-friendly lodging, especially since we weren't set up for camping. I think in a more overall humane environment, traveling with your pets should be easier. Well-behaved pets should be an integral part of daily lives, and it'd be easier if we didn't have to sneak around a system that discourages their integration. I think there are certain places that pets shouldn't ever need to go to, like restaurants, but when I see dogs that I KNOW would be better behaved than most children on planes, it DOES make me wonder why we some people look down so severely on extra allowances for pets while those who complain about rambunctious children are branded as curmudgeons...

Well, I guess I look at it as the same way I look at handicapped parking spaces…I may have a reason I want to use the closer spot, maybe I actually have a pain or injury that is not a disability; I may be 7 months pregnant with twins; it may be the only parking spot left in the lot...but I still don't use it because I am not legally disabled! I don't like flying my dogs under a plane any more than anybody else...it scares the h@!! out of me when I have to do it, but I am not going to lie and say they are service dogs.

I agree with your sentiment that it would be great if our society was more accomodating to well behaved pets, but sadly we don't have enough responsible owners around to make that dream a reality. Too many bad apples spoil the bunch 😞

First Basenji's

@Quercus:

I agree with your sentiment that it would be great if our society was more accomodating to well behaved pets, but sadly we don't have enough responsible owners around to make that dream a reality. Too many bad apples spoil the bunch 😞

Sigh, I guess therein lies the rub… it'd be nice if the motel didn't have to charge me $10-$25 extra dollars just for having a dog in tow. It'd be nice if they could just charge me AFTERwards if my dog trashes the room, just as they would if I trashed the room... but those kinds of policies probably came about because prior problems set the precedent. In a more humane world overall, there would be more responsible pet owners. But we're not there yet.

Just to add on a couple thoughts, I do think it's important not to abuse the system. Getting a handicapped parking tag when you really DON'T have difficulty walking an extra 20 feet from the main parking lot to the front entrance would be an abuse of the system... Dragging a wildly misbehaved pet onto a plane under the pretense that he's a "service" dog, and disturbing all the other passengers, would be an abuse of the system. Yet, I'm willing to see gray areas when it comes to pets and the law, because I think some laws are draconian and stem from problematic ideology or an old 'NO DOGS ALLOWED' regime that I'm eager to see change over time (Snoopy Come Home -- anyone seen that Peanuts movie, heh?).

I do agree that there are not always "obvious" disabilities for those with service dogs and that many of the laws/policies (in the US) are oppressive to dog owners i.e. you can be cited, in many jurisdictions, for leaving your dog in the car, but you can't bring them into the store either, or leave them tied up outside. But my OP was in regard to someone I have known for many years, and though she is getting on in years, has no disability, and the dog is not certified, just well-trained. I find this kind of abuse of 'the system' and of people's general kindness to be just wrong.
Relating to handicapped parking, I would rather walk from the furthest parking available than park in a handicapped designated spot. My father has a handicapped hang tag (hip and knee surgeries) but keeps it in his glove box and only uses it if he's having a "bad" day.

BTW: Kipawa - don't know where she got the "service dog" vest, but probably not e-Bay as she is not very 'computer savy'. I suspect from someone who actually has service dogs. Which, in and of itself, is another problem.

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