Combating Service Dog “Certification” Scams

Service Dog Certification Scams

Written by K9 Partners for Patriots

March 4, 2016

Service Dog Certification Scams

Service dog registration fraud and certification scams are on the rise making an already difficult situation worse. K9 Partners for Patriots is more than a little upset about it.

Online businesses with very official sounding names are emerging exponentially claiming to certify any dog – sight unseen as a service animal. Without ever testing the dog or verifying a disability, they will provide a service dog tag, vest and certification for nothing more than a fee.

No certification required!

Service dogs don’t require a certification or an ID. In fact, no one can legally ask for such proof. The only requirement under the ADA is that the dog be trained to mitigate a disability. Businesses and their staff are only permitted to legally ask a service dog handler two questions:

  1. Is the dog a service animal?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

They can’t ask what the disability is or require the handler to show certification or ID. Although, K9 P4P Program Veterans are proud to show their ID as an opportunity to inform a presumably unknowing public that they’re not required to show it.

Service Animals Under ADA

ADA requirements regarding Service Animals.

Downloadable PDF

Service Animals as defined under the ADA

It is clear under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Such tasks include:

  • guiding people who are blind
  • alerting people who are deaf
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
  • reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
  • calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties such as assisting a person with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with balance issues.

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.

Harder and harder to be taken seriously

Service dog fraud is making it harder and harder for authentic, qualified handlers like K9 P4P Program Veterans to be taken seriously in the public arena. Many of our program veterans have encountered these counterfeit service dogs in public and report aggressive behavior and a blatant disregard by the owner to control their untrained “pet”.

Authentic service dog owners know the law and their k9’s are highly trained, good citizens that get along well with people and other animals.

Highest standards for service dogs

Counterfeit service animals and their owners are causing business owners to become increasingly suspicious of all service dogs. K9 Partners for Patriots is proud of our exceedingly high standards and every single veteran/service dog team that we’ve graduated through this program. These men and women have worked themselves and their service dogs diligently to earn the privilege to wear a service dog vest.

Don’t people with disabilities already have a hard enough time?

It’s an injustice for people with disabilities and service dogs to have to face the embarrassment and humiliation of being questioned or asked to leave an establishment with their service dog when they already have a lawful right to be there.

Service dog certification scams are abusing the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and putting the rights of people with disabilities at risk. They claim to help people and I guess they are. They’re helping themselves with no regard for the fact that they’re hurting the very people that the ADA was designed to protect — real people with real disabilities. Anyone that purchases their products is just as guilty.

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