Would YOU show ID if it helped prevent fake service dogs from getting access to public establishments they shouldn’t be in and therefore harmed the reputation of service dogs in the eyes of public establishment owners and staff?
I have posted a few blog posts about fake service dogs. A fellow guide dog owner recently shared this link:
Fake service dogs are becoming more of a problem and really, it’s just ridiculous. One common suggestion is to require individuals with service dogs to keep ID’s on them that show their dog really is a service dog. Because remember as it is stands currently, an establishment is only allowed to ask someone two questions: 1) Is your dog a service dog? and 2) What tasks is your dog trained to perform? So with Makiko all I would have to answer is, “yes” and “guiding me.” Also remember that one can easily purchase service dog gear (and certification for that matter) online.
The reason these are the two questions only allowed to be asked is for privacy reasons. Guide dogs pretty much tell straight away what their handler’s disability is but some service dogs work with handler’s who don’t have so much of a visible disability, such as individuals with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or seizure alert dogs. These individuals appear to be “normal,” or without a disability but in reality they really do. So not requiring them to show ID protects their privacy.
Personally, I would be okay with being required to show a service dog ID. The way I see it is regardless of what type of service dog you have and if your disability is invisible or visible, the service dog alone shows that you have a disability. I’d also like to think that most people have a certain level of dignity and respect that if they ask for your ID they won’t go telling all the staff or others around what your disability is, if that was a concern of yours. Showing ID would then help deter individuals from portraying their pets as service dogs and getting access to places their dogs shouldn’t be allowed.
Remember, the reason it’s a big deal, as discussed in the article/video above, is service dogs more than likely have stellar behavior. Other dogs have been known to use the restroom, chew, bite, sniff, lick, smell, shed, and do other inappropriate things. This puts a bad taste in the staff’s mouths and a true service dog handler may not have the same level of care, access, and services that they would have been if the establishment didn’t have the bad experience with the fake service dog.
So if the federal government was to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act to allow establishments to be able to ask for identification, what is to say that people won’t get fake service dog IDs much like people get fake ID’s to get access to bars or other age restricted locations? There are already sites that sell fake service dog certifications, I can only imagine this business would grow if this were to become the law. And that disgusts me, it really does, but I don’t really know of a solution.
The other problem with that is currently a service dog doesn’t have to come from a professional school. Service dogs can be trained by an individual, even the service dog handler. So then what would happen when ID’s were mandated? Would these service dog handlers be required to go through a course or certification test? I don’t see a problem with that but it would be an additional obstacle that one would have to jump through to be able to get the same access rights as their peer service dog handlers who went through an official or certified school.
One last thing, even as the current ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is written, a dog who is jeopardizing the safety of another, such as trying to bite, or is defecating or something of that nature, the public establishment CAN ask the service dog to leave. Maybe if more asked dogs who exhibited bad behavior to leave, it would help weed out the fake service dogs? I’m not sure.
So here is my question to you, whether you are an able-bodied person, a person with a disability who also has a service dog, or a person with a disability who doesn’t have a service dog or is looking into getting a service dog in the future, how do you think the problem of fake service dogs should be remedied? Do you think requiring ID’s is the answer? I am really interested in what you have to say.