Service dogs are invaluable to people with real disabilities, but a lot of people who are not entitled to the use of service dogs have already abused the system. Christine Slavin, a service animal owner who had a snowboarding accident in 2007, told CBS News that this growing incidence has hurt the image of real service animals and their owners.
Slavin shares what her service dog, Earle, a labrador, can do for her: “Earle does a lot of retrieving for me. When I lose my phone he’s actually very good about finding it.” Earle got his training from NEADS, an organization that provides service and hearing dogs for over 40 years.
Slavin has seen people misrepresenting service dogs every day. Some of these dogs have bitten people in stores while others were generally disruptive. CBS News correspondent Don Dahler said that one time, within 24 hours of logging on to one website, he was able to purchase a fake certificate and ID for his pet. The gear arrived and he was not asked to show proof of a disability.
Dahler reports that in 12 states, misrepresenting a service animal is already considered a violation of the law. Massachusetts would soon join these 12 states. In California, anyone caught using a fake service animal could be fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned for six months.
Article source: Cbs58.com
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