I’ve written a few times in the past about the need for better definitions and guidelines for service dogs. Service animals are incredibly beneficial for some people, but there is great potential for abuse of the "service animal" designation by people who don’t really need a service animal and/or are using completely untrained and sometimes inappropriate animals.

An example of such unscrupulous behaviour is RegisteredServiceDogs.com. At this site, you can enter your pet’s name and your information, and get a form for your physician to sign requesting the dog be authorized as a service animal – but there is no such process, and this company has absolutely no authorizing power! Additionally, there’s a place for a vet to sign affirming  that the dog being "registered" has had all shots required by the state and that, to the best of the vet’s knowledge, it will not be a threat to the general public. There is no mention about whether the dog is healthy, is well-trained, is specially trained as a service animal, has undergone any real scrutiny to determine whether it could be a "threat to the general public", or anything else that should be a requirement for a true service animal. In other words, this company does absolutely nothing to ensure that the animal is an appropriate service animal. For their overwhelming effort of providing you with a form to fill out, they charge $49.95 to send you a worthless card saying your dog is a "registered service animal".

Anyone who has a real service animal has no use for a card such as this. If they run into someone who inappropriately tries to restrict their access, they’re better off with information from the agency that trained the animal or, in the US, a copy of highlights of the ADA, since restriction of service animals is illegal.

If this company was really in it to help the cause of service dogs, it would have some standard criteria to ensure that the animals it certifies as service dogs are really service dogs. Otherwise, it’s a money-grab to provide a useless card to people with true service animals, and a way to help people who just want to take their pets with them to places where they are banned. None of this helps the cause of true service dogs.  It is a disgrace.

Anyone with a service dog that has questions or concerns about access should contact the agency that trained their dog or another reputable (non-profit) source of information such as Delta Society.

Image source: www.guidedogsofamerica.org