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Discussion Starter #1
Once again the fake service dog scams is forefront in the news. The state of Minnesota has joined a few other states to make these fake certifications illegal. This morning paper notes these are now illegal and subject to $100 misdemeanor fines. It’s about time.

I have the highest regards for people with service dogs. They can have my place any day.

I have a highly trained ESA dog with a real doctor’ s recommendation. I’m sitting here in the hospital and just spoke to my DR about this. I don’t take my dog anywhere dogs are not permitted. I do get a break on housing. I rarely use public transportation but I ask what they allow first. I even use Uber. Otherwise my dog is under someone’s special care as she is now. I’m here because an unleashed dog came after us in last week’s record snow blizzard causing me to take a face plant and sever head injury. Legal issues will follow.

The same goes for fake therapy dogs. I asked about this here at the hospital and they require advanced training documentation from a training facility as well as health and vaccination proof.
 

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I think its sort of an epidemic. I hear lots and lots of people say they just call their dog a service dog so they can take them places. I was at a public event a couple of weeks ago where no dogs were allowed. ....there were quite a few there wearing little vests that had service dog patches. Good and well for legitimate service dogs. But I doubt that the two Chihuahuas walking with the same owner were both service dogs. I'd have loved to have taken my german shepherd there with me. He's well behaved, and looks the part when he wears his saddlebags with the " working dog do not pet " patches. But its dishonest so I just dont do those kinds of things.
Last month I got bit on the hand by a totally out of control doberman that was supposedly a service dog. I left the area after the dog kept trying to sneak up behind me and nip me. I've seen well trained service dogs. They're not generally trying to sneak up behind and bite people.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry you got nipped. Were it me the dog would have seen my stun device. I have ZERO patience with this. There is no excuse to allow this behavior.
 

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Lately I've seen more and more signs on businesses that say "service dogs only" with the legal description of a service dog and what questions the business can ask to determine if the dog is truly a service dog. I'm all for it!
 

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@bentwings, did the unleashed dog attack you or what? Were you handling your dogs also at the time? We dont really get snow where I live, I cant even imagine trying to stay on my feet with that going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We live in a dog friendly appt group. it was a record snow fall for the date. Two feet of wet stuff. We were out for a potty walk in knee deep fresh snow. My dog wears a marked harness,flat collar and prong. These are all interconnected with my leash and traffic tab so I have absolute control over my dog at all times. She is highly trained in “ street wise” behavior. No barking or lunging at strange dogs or people, no fear of traffic of any kind. Basically we go and do our thing regardless of others and distractions. We avoid contact of any kind .

In the 8 years I have lived here I’m the only one who has trained a dog. The community, city and county all have strict leash laws.

The other dog was off leash and came running at us. I protect my dog and myself. I don’t know if these dogs are friendly or not. Assume not is my rule since nobody takes time to properly train their dog. My dog came to my side just as she is supposed to and did not get excited. I just shoved the other dog off but I had released the slack in my leash so I could block the other dog but I had hold of the traffic loop. I got tangled in the leash and did a face plant in the deep snow. This caused a subdural hematoma in my head requiring a trip to the ER and a week stay in the hospital ICU. I get more and more upset as I think of the circumstances. I know it was a mess but there was no excuse for not plowing the walkway. No excuse for off leash dog.
 

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You have my condolences. Nobody should have to go through that because of other people's irresponsibility. I hope you heal quickly and are able to get back to normal life soon. Is the hospital stay what got you to thinking about fake service animals?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you.

A notice in the newspaper. It’s a fresh bill now being enforced.

I’m going home in about 9 hours. I can’t wait. I’ll order extra bacon and sausage for breakfast and wrap it up for a treat when I pick Samantha up at the vet boarding kennel. The snow is nearly gone so we’ll be able to go for a short walk. I’ve got some new training things I want to start with her too. The Dr is going to give me a new recommendation for ESA too. He says she is instrumental in my mental and overall health.
 

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It HAS become an epidemic. I am so sorry you were injured Bentwings. This is NO JOKE. And I am also sorry Dexter that you got nailed as well.

Because of HIPPA no one can ask much. It is the Honor system. It used to work. Very little honor in the real world anymore.

A $100 fine and misdemeanor is a start. IMO the law should have a lot more teeth. $1000 fine. 30 days in jail. Lose the dog. Not allowed to have a dog (or whatever the fake service animal is).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My son was out for dinner a while ago and he said a guy had a snake as an ESA in a cage. He shouldn’t have been allowed in in the first place as ESA does not have the access privilege.

Many places either don’t know the rules or are reluctant to challenge or ask questions. Unfortunately these fake certifications “look” very official.

I even asked at the hospital if a therapy dog could be brought in. It was ok with proper health documentation and properly documented training. These dogs are pure guests, there are no rules except by the institution. These are supposed to be a comfort to the patient but I can say there are more than a few in obedience classes we go to that would spike my blood pressure to the danger level were they to visit me. The reason I had asked is that the instructor at the training center does very good therapy dog classes and training and I thought it would be a good exercise for one of the advanced dogs. There just wasn’t enough time however. On a lighter side I hope I never get another opportunity to be a “helper” or patient.

Currently I’m working with my dog to retrieve specific objects, pen, checkbook, phone, and others. She retrieves toys very well but these have been an obstical even with padded cases and covers. Even though she is only 60 pounds she pulls me up a very steep hill and offers support going up and down stairs. We are back up to mile long walks so thats coming back too.

Byron
 

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As someone who's worked years in retail in the US - both with small companies and big box chains - I'm personally of the opinion that a big part of this problem is front-line staff (gatekeepers) totally lacking training. I've never once been trained on what to do if a customer comes in with a dog (or any other animal), not even "inform a manager". Whenever I asked questions, it was clear I knew the law better than my managers did. A common theme was "we can't ask anything or kick any dog out no matter what their behavior is or else lawsuit", which is just plain false. Add onto that corporate pressure to not do anything that might upset any customer, ever, and that left us pretty well helpless to do anything against people bringing in dogs/animals who were clearly not working animals, because even if we knew the law we weren't allowed to exercise our rights of kicking out poorly behaved animals. I could go on about how toxic "the customer is always right" culture is in other ways, but I'd wind up writing a novel, haha...

I also was appalled at the number of people who told me - with no knowledge of my mental health (one didn't even know my name) - to get Sam prescribed as an ESA so we didn't have to pay pet rent/ he could be in the plane cabin with me when I moved. Purely for convenience, not out of concern that it was an actual benefit to my mental state. That's just. Disgusting and hugely damaging to the community who do have legitimate need for an ESA as part of managing and improving their mental health.
 

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You are exactly right! Lack of knowledge....don’t care either. We go to several dog friendly stores and businesses. One is a large chain selling farm supplies. You would think they of all stores would have some knowledge. I had to pull up the ADA site on my Ipad to show them. They let all dogs in but I explained I come for supplies but also come for training experience. I don’t want reactive dogs anywhere near us. I even showed my doctor’s recommendation which I said I do not have to in this case. I asked what if some reactive dog bites someone or otherwise injures someone? Losing a customer will cost a lot less than the lawsuit.

I was chatting with my boss who is a dog person with at least 5 loose dogs around. We have had two customers come in with off leash dogs. The community is rural and there is no leash law. I said what if one of these customer dogs trips me and I go down again? It could be deadly for me but what about the business? Simply put a no dogs allowed sign on the door. Auto repair shops all have a note to keep people out of the shop. It’s bad enough that we have customers in the shop. All work has to stop while they are there. While I don’t mind the break it sure disrupts work. He says just put your time down, I’ll charge for the down time. Well ok, I’m certainly not putting myself in danger.
 

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I know people who have registered their animals as ESAs so they can ride on the plane with them and not have to go into cargo. It's wrong - but IMO understandable in the sense that I wouldn't want my dogs riding down in cargo either. I wish they made it easier for you to buy a seat/spot for your pet on the plane.

I am strongly against those who have fake service dogs that they just bring into whatever store they want.

I know people who will register their dog as an ESA so they can have them in an apartment - however my realtor (who is also a landlord) has told me there are ways that a landlord doesn't have to rent to a pet owner, even with an ESA (but probably not an actual service dog).

It's a tricky subject, to be sure.
 

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It's very understandable to want a beloved pet under your direct control on something as stressful as a flight, for sure. But of course planes also have to accommodate their human passengers' needs first - including those who have allergies, phobias, or cultural/religious aversions to certain animals. It makes a lot of sense to only allow animals that are necessary for the health and safety of their human handlers. I do like the idea of the pet-only transport airlines as a compromise - the pets don't travel with you, but they're in the care of specially trained staff the whole time and have much more supervision than they would in the cargo area during the flight - but I've never used them myself.

I know if a rental property doesn't fall under the FHA the ESA/SD rules don't apply, and I'm sure some landlords conveniently find excuses to decline applicants who happen to have ESAs or service dogs. The latter probably opens them up to discrimination lawsuit, but it'd hardly be the only way people play fast and loose with the laws and hope the other party doesn't have the time or capital to take them to court.
 
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