Four-Legged Imposters

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I was shocked to read about the problem of imposter service dogs mostly because I had never even thought that fake service dogs were walking among the real ones. I love my dog as much as the next person but I can’t seem to understand the need to bring ones dog everywhere, simply out of undying devotion to the pup. I can understand why Lauren Henderson feels fake service dog vests and certificates are damaging to the image of real service dogs. She should not feel threatened or ridiculed by others who believe her dog might be a fake. What disturbed me most about this article is how openly Tim Livingood, as owner of a bogus service dog certification agency, admitted to the falsehood of these certificates and his insistence that he is not breaking any laws. I am not sure how the likes of Tim Livingood (an ironic last name if you ask me) slipped through the cracks of the enforcement laws for service dogs. I hope that this issue is brought to legislators’ attention and that something is done to make sure that fake vests and certificates are no longer issued to unnecessary dog companions.

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4 thoughts on “Four-Legged Imposters

  1. http://www.npr.org/2013/09/11/221017467/four-legged-impostors-give-service-dog-owners-pause?utm_campaign

    It saddens me to see that people are taking advantage of a service meant to be used solely by people in need of that service. I’m also annoyed to see that there aren’t any stricter laws on the regulation of the issuance of service dog vests, patches, papers, etc. Service dogs are a right for those in need of them, and people with fake registrations are infringing on those rights. This is unfair to those using service dogs. Now, people can’t tell the difference between the real service dogs and the fakes, making it more difficult for the dogs to do their jobs, without being looked at as a “faker.”

  2. A few days ago, as I was riding the subway home, a woman wearing sunglasses with a dog passed by my seat to get off the train. At first, I was shocked because I did not notice a dog. I was thinking how could I have missed such a huge dog? Then, I noticed which way the dog was coming from. It was sitting in the corner in the handicapped section with the owner. Throughout the train ride, there was no indication there was a dog except if one sat close to her, one would notice. After the owner and the dog left the subway, I thought to myself, that must be a REALLY quiet and obedient dog. As the train continued on its journey, I was thinking of facts about seeing eye dogs (if it was not a seeing eye dog, I apologize), and I knew these dogs were trained. I also remembered reading about these dogs and how they are authorized to be on public places. Since they help the disabled, they could enter places regular dogs cannot enter. Then, I was thinking if people faked their dogs being authorized to be in these places. I was sure it was done before, but I did not think it would be so common. This article confirmed that yes, it is a common thing.
    As I read the article, I knew faking such things would only deprive those who truly needed these dogs to enter public places. If this continues, owners and employees would only get frustrated and believe that all “authorized” dogs are really not authorized. They can’t refuse the owner to bring dogs to every customers. There might be a huge lawsuit. These people who are using bogus animal certificates need to think about the consequences they are creating for the disabled, There should be a some way the law can eliminate those who use fake patches and vest.

  3. I’m not so sure that the article confirms that it’s common. There’s a lot of ambiguity: one interviewee is seeing more and more of them, there’s no way to tell if one is fake, there’s a bunch of websites offering fake credentials, etc. etc. If the reporter, trying to find a sensational or indignation-arousing story, ends up leading readers to believe that this problem is bigger than it is, that’s unjust too . . .

  4. Personally, I have trouble understanding the appeal of having a phony service dog. Those who have service dogs have them because they truly need them to support their everyday life. Do people fake having a service dog in order to bring their dogs places, or because they are truly disabled and have not been approved for service animals? In both cases, what is occurring is wrong. The former example seems a little bit ridiculous; in my opinion, people should be able to live without bringing their pets everywhere. The latter example also seems unnecessary. If a dog is not approved for service and, as the article claims, is so poorly trained, the dog must not be that much of an assistance. The entire idea of exploiting this type of access is absurd.

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