Petlife logo

4 Reasons Why Faking a Service Dog Is More than Just ILLEGAL

A PTSD service dog handler's guide.

By Salty CircusPublished 6 years ago 3 min read
Harley (PTSD Service Dog in Training) and I 

You’ve seen them around, those ladies with their little dog under their arm at the mall, or in the cart at the grocery store. If the building is not a dog-friendly facility, then they must be service dogs right? WRONG. It’s easy to tell: Service dogs should not be carried, but walk neatly beside you, service dogs do not bark (or yap) at or growl at other people, and overall maintain a calm composure. Faking a service dog is a federal crime under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which real service dogs are protected by. This criminal act does not only affect the individual, but the ENTIRE service dog community.

1. We Did Not Ask to Be Burdened

How many times have my fellow service dog handlers heard, ‘I wish I could bring my dog with me everywhere’ or ‘you’re so lucky’? What is most likely meant as a bit of a compliment in equivalent to saying, ‘that’s cool your dog goes everywhere with you’, is a very rude statement. What service dog handlers actually hear is, “I wish I had a disability so I could have my dog with me” or “you’re so lucky to have a disability that requires you to have a dog.” News flash… though we are grateful for our helpers, we did not ask to be burdened so heavily that we MUST have a dog with us at all times. You would never say to someone, “sick wheelchair, I wish I had one!”

2: Real Service Dogs Will More Often Be Confronted

The more fake service dogs are caught acting up and causing a disruption, the more REAL service dogs must face the aftershocks. A business owner may have had experiences with fake service dogs being outrageous, and when the time comes that a real service dog handler enters the store, he will automatically assume that dog is also a fake, and immediately try to turn them away or (illegally) harass them or ask for paperwork. It’s a vicious cycle that begins with fake service dogs.

3. Distracting Real Service Dogs

If a fake service dog is not friendly toward other dogs and starts barking or trying to lunge at a real service dog when they cross paths in a store, it is automatically making both parties look bad. It is embarrassing for a service dog handler to have to redirect their service dog when a fake is irritating it. It just lowers all the standards and heightens the chances of being confronted. It’s a terrible situation to put yourself and others in.

4. Setting Back Service Dogs In An Attack

Along with distracting real service dogs, it is possible that an untrained, fake service dog will outright attack a service dog out of aggression. Whether the real SD continues to be submissive or tries to defend itself, it is a creature of memory and can be traumatized from ever working in public again. Seeing other dogs after an incident like that might make it automatically panicked or automatically defensive. If the service dog ends up being distracted too often, it then negatively affects the dog’s ability to focus on his handler, thus the handler’s disability is not mitigated.

You have to consider what you’re doing to the real service dog community. It’s not a no-harm-no-fowl concept. There is harm and legal fowl. Not only is it illegal to fake a service dog, but it negatively affects service dog handlers as a whole whether it be confrontation or an unknowingly rude statement, to distraction or even an attack that could ruin the dog physically and mentally. I encourage you to report suspected fake service dogs and one by one recover the real SD reputation for our safety and our livelihood.


About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.