I’ve written (whined, lamented, and complained) about this before, but it’s rearing its ugly head again: fake service dogs. Essentially, it comes down to self-centred people who think they should be able to do whatever they want, and the inevitable fallout that can occur for people that truly rely on service animals.

It goes like this:

  • I want to take my pet anywhere I go.
  • I am the Centre of the Universe, so what I want must be provided.
  • I pay some other selfish/greedy/unethical person to provide me with a badge, tag or other identifier that says my dog is a service dog.
  • I take my pet wherever I go and if anyone questions me, I say "SERVICE DOG" as my get-of-out-jail-free card.

It’s been going on for a while.

It’s stupid and selfish.

It compromises real service dogs.

How? Service dogs are very well-trained animals that do an important job. They should have widespread access to places where regular pets are banned. However, when any idiot with $50 can get some form of service dog ID, there are going to be problems with some of these animals (e.g. disruption, bites) and the public, business owners and legislators may not realize the difference between a real and a fake service dog. Accordingly, if there is enough disruption (or a high profile event), there’s the potential for problems (e.g. banning) for service animals that are truly needed.

A recent New York Post article highlights the issues with fake service dogs and shows an astounding degree of selfish behaviour. I always assumed that people who got fake service dog IDs would be quiet about it, because deep-down they know it’s wrong or to avoid facing any negative public opinion.

Not Brett David, who enlightens us with comments such as

"I was sick of tying up my dog outside."

"He’s been to most movie theaters in the city, more nightclubs than most of my friends."

"I don’t care who you are, a teacup Yorkie will trump a black [American Express] card when you’re trying to pick up a girl."

Or Kate Vlasovskaya, who isn’t worried about people checking up on her fake service dog ID because "With all of that effort [required to find out anything], they will probably just let you in."

I’ll bite my tongue here because anything else I have to say won’t be good.