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Boo…Hoo…Imposter Service Dogs Run Rampant In NYC Restaurants!

By Joseph E Rathjen
August 20, 2013

Is it real or is it Memorex…or is it a fake Seeing Eye dog? Social chaos knows no boundaries. Dogs with fake service dog papers have cropped up all over in NYC restaurants. Obviously, their rich and eccentric owners can’t bear to dine out without them. To beat the NYC public health laws they’ve been slapping fake service dog vests and ID tags on them so they can bring their dogs with them into upscale eateries.

Isn’t there a law against that?

To make matters worse businesses have their hands tied when it comes to asking their owners for identification to prove that the dog is actually a certified service dog. The Americans With Disabilities Act prevents vendors from asking for ID or even questioning the dog’s owner about their disability. This allows the bling crowd to sit in fancy restaurants and eat with their dogs even though they are not disabled.

How dare they. That’s the lowest of the low and a slap in the face to truly handicapped people and the devoted and properly trained service dogs that aid them. Something should quickly be done about this and fast. Instead of worrying about making the free “giveaway condoms” larger for men in NYC, mayoral candidates like Christine Quinn need to address the imposter service dog issue. Free condoms are a good thing but imposter service dogs is sacrilegious.

Diana Taylor, who is NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s girlfriend, spoke out against the wealthy taxpayers who think it’s acceptable to make a mockery of the law.

“It’s going to ruin it for people who actually need service dogs,’’ she said. “It’s unfair for people to take advantage of a system put in place to really help those who need it.’’

We agree, Diane. Hit them hard!

© Joseph E Rathjen – All Rights Reserved – 2013

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4 thoughts on “Boo…Hoo…Imposter Service Dogs Run Rampant In NYC!

  1. The problem with this is that it would require government regulation. They would be allowed to say what illnesses need what, I’d rather deal with fake service dogs than be told by a governing official that my PTSD service dog “isn’t a requirement”. It would be in a sense going against ADA laws and then police officers and any official in a managerial capacity would suddenly feel it was their duty to question all service dog handlers. An entirely new kind of harassment and profiling for them to embrace. I just see this going badly for those who actually use their animal.

    Correction: There are no official documents that you have to carry to use a service animal. Anything that is used is as aspirin to a headache. Service animals are not even required to wear a vest, ID tags, etc. We put it on our dogs so that the seemingly endless line of management and police officers leave us alone about our animals.

    Correction: Not all dogs are “seeing eye dogs”.

    In essence there is really is no way to “correct the issue” as you so eloquently put it. Its either be discriminated against for being disabled or just deal with the fakes. We as a group of disabled already deal with enough issues of stigma and questions about our animals from officials. I have had the police called on me twice in the 4 years that I have had my animal.

    I’m not trying to bash your article at all, I think it is well addressed but some things are skewed. Appealing to the governing officials is not going to solve anything. It is going to make it more difficult for the disabled.

    A really simple fix would be to just allow well trained animals to go with their owners if they wish. Open the law to anyone who has an animal who has been through obedience training and the fakes will stop.

    Also an addition to the ADA laws. If an animal is acting out of character or disruptive, barking, jumping on tables, bothering other guests, etc. The handler can be asked to vacate the premises without any legal reprimand. Just a heads up.

  2. Yanno, business owners’ hands are NOT as tied as they think they are.

    They can ask two questions (“Is that a service dog?” and “What tasks does that dog perform for you?” – the answers can be very revealing), AND they have the right to ask even people with service dogs to leave if the dog is being disruptive and their person can’t get the dog under control, or if the dog is not housebroken.

    This is spelled out clearly in the ADA Business Guide

    http://www.ada.gov/svcanimb.htm

    and

    http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/smallbusiness/smallbusprimer2010.htm#serviceanimals

    If they suspect it’s a pet, observing the dog’s behavior can offer clues to the status of the dog.

    Service dogs are focused on their person, obedient to their person’s needs and commands, and are rarely disruptive.

    Pet dogs (even well trained and well behaved ones) are usually outwardly focused on other people or other animals and are more likely to be disruptive. The “bling crowd” is likely to coo over their dogs, hand them over to be petted by others, feed their dog from the table, and do things we who have service dogs would never consider doing.

    Disruptive behavior includes (but isn’t necessarily limited to): barking, running around, begging for petting or food, eating dropped food, toileting inappropriately (sniffing after other dogs, marking territory, toileting indoors), jumping on people, chasing after other animals… If the dog is disruptive, even if it is a service dog, the person accompanying the dog can be asked to remove the dog.

    Since most service dogs are well trained and well behaved, they are rarely disruptive, so those of us with service dogs aren’t likely to be told to leave over our service dog’s behavior.

  3. I am lucky enough to only have to have service (adult) children at the moment. But I do agree, business owners do have the right to have an unruly animal removed from the premises, just as they have the right to have an unruly person remove themselves, or be removed by law enforcement.

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