Service animal registries being built to root out fakes


My son’s dog hasn’t been professionally trained – they can’t afford it – but she can tell when he’s going to have a seizure and gets him to a safe place where he won’t be injured. Not having the finances to pay a professional to certify and train Dakota means he could be denied the right to be safe when out and about if they start requiring certification papers for service animals. It’s the low-income disabled folks who don’t have access to $10,000 for a fully trained & certified service animal who will suffer, not those with money or who are able to get a dog for free because they qualify for assistance. It’s my personal opinion anyone who legitimately needs a service dog/horse/monkey should be able to access training they can afford. People who don’t get it have most likely never seen a close family member suffer a grand mal seizure and injure themselves in the process. I don’t object to requiring certification AS LONG AS it’s affordable to everyone who needs it as verified by a physician.
If you freak out on a plane without your gerbil or peacock, drive to your destination or take a Xanax. I have PTSD and when I have to fly, I leave my therapy animals(cats) at home, take my headphones/sleep mask/music/comfort items, and tough it out. If I need them, we get in the car. I shop at night when the stores are mostly empty or order things online. I avoid crowds or other PTSD triggers as much as possible. I don’t think it’s right to impose my non-service animals on others who may be afraid of them or, heaven forbid, may have allergies that could cause them harm. Americans have become far too self-centered and forget our rights have boundaries, and those boundaries are set where the rights of others intersect.


I’m for helping people afford needed service dogs.

Professional training or not, service dogs specifically need to be trained to behave in public, especially in those areas they are allowed in because they are specifically trained to be service dogs. That training might be something your son can learn to do on his own unless or until certification is required, but if he’s using his dog as a service dog in public it needs to be trained one way or another.

Rights are competing. Service dogs exist in an intersection of rights, where they are granted a special exception to health and safety laws so they can perform services for the disabled, and as part of that special access that others are denied the dogs are required to have special selection and training for exemplary behavior in public.


I believe that the ADA also stipulates that service animals that qualify, under ADA standards are dogs, and under certain circumstances, miniature horses. Peacocks are not listed as an approved service animals, according to ADA regs.


as long as it is sliding scale fee payment i’m kinda on board with this.


Yeah, seems like the ADA would have to be changed to allow anyone to ask for A) proof of certification and B) certification specifically from a limited number of vetted organizations. And in this current legislative and administrative climate the ADA would be more likely be eliminated than updated.


Nope. The system is so broken that the only way to fix it may be to burn down the whole thing and start from the ground up.

Because of the protections in the ADA, it’s pretty much impossible for businesses to verify that an animal is a service dog or not. Add to that that pretty much anyone can go online and buy a “service animal” vest etc…, and you’ve got unethical people foisting their un-trained pooches, kangaroos, and peacocks on the rest of us.

There was a bill in CA that would have required certification from a veterinarian that an animal would behave on a plane, but who the F is going to sign that? The nicest dog in the office may not do well in an aluminum tube with loud engine noises hurtling through the atmosphere at 500mph.

It was a blatant attempt to shift the liability from the airlines to vets, and got shot down toot sweet by the AVMA, CVMA etc…


Sympathy given is sympathy earned.

Welcome to the Boings!

#28 is a system that allows people to easily provide evidence that they need a service animal (among other things).

It doesn’t provide a list of someone’s disabilities: rather, it gives a list of their needs and the reasonable adjustments a provider would be required to make for them.


This. To the 100th power. Thank you for putting it so well.


You are absolutely correct. I have severe allergies to dogs and cats ( a real medical condition) and have been forced to move from my “pet free” apartment because of these selfish frauds who apparently cant get through the day without a dog. The medical health professionals and attorneys who enable this (mostly) fraudulent nonsense should be taken to task for this. This area needs laws with teeth to prosecute these frauds not another unenforceable “registry” however well intended. Right now if someone claims their dog is a “service” animal and has been specially trained in say…“protective moves” then that’s it. You cant do a darn thing. No proof needed nor can be asked for. Legislation in this area is long overdue.


You may do much worse than “disturb” other passengers. Some of us get severe asthma attacks in close proximity to dogs. Being in a plane close to a dog for hours on end is my ultimate nightmare and I have to fly with airlines (like British Airways) who are a lot more scrupulous when it come to allowing dogs on flights. Please consider this when you decide on your actions.


After my post I did more digging and found that website. Found two shippers in my state. The one that was in reasonable driving distance had a web form to request information. Of course the form was broken. But in the process of digging around around I learned a bit more about the area the dogs are in and about the crates.

I can see some benefits to my dog traveling in a crate in cargo. Especially being able to go to the bathroom if she needs to.

And I see some issues with her traveling in the cabin. From what I read the dog isn’t allowed in a seat (which I would gladly of paid for). She is too big to fit under a seat with or without a crate. I saw some photos of larger service dogs on a plane and it seemed they had to sit between you and the seat in front of you. I’m 6’3" so not a lot of extra room there. They are not allowed in the emergency exit row (which would have been a nice spot). Eventually she would whine because long flights suck and while some people might not care if their toddler rampages on a flight I am very conscientious of my impact on those around me.

I guess I could always drive north to Alaska, cross the Bering straight to Russia (can’t tell if there if ferry there), then it’s just a quick road trip south to SE Asia. /s

Well I have a couple years to figure this out.

But to link this back to the the original post (my original point of bringing this up). Sometimes people need to fly with a pet and the options available suck. So it’s no surprise some people will lie to try and get the best possible option. And yes, many people choose to fly and lie when there are alternatives (or the pet traveling is not a must) and they are in my opinion self-indulgent jerks. Heck, I was considering a 2 month cruise at around $12k just to be able to do this safely and honestly.

That’s a very good point I hadn’t thought of. I don’t want to disturb others. I definitely don’t want to cause others physical or mental distress. I also don’t want my dog to die in transit or have a 20+ hour anxiety attack.


While I applaud the idea, it looks to me as though both of these proposals are dog-centric and I don’t applaud that.


Well said and accurate. The laws need to be changed. There needs to be a central law enforced certification for these animals. Why would the ADA object to that? Right now anybody can claim their animal is a service animal without any proof. How does that benefit legitimate owners who require a service animal? Make no sense


Well then your choice is pretty clear

  1. Your dog travels in cargo and you do not inflict harm on your fellow humans
  2. You lie about your dog’s status and claim he is a “service animal”

I applaud your attempts to accomplish this and at the same time stay honest.


People with disabilities don’t want to have to show ID and forms any more than the rest of us, or be subjected interrogation every time they enter a business or other area dogs are not normally allowed.

But, conversely, parking spaces for the disabled require a government issued placard or special license plate and their are pentathletes for parking without one, plus penalties for misuse. Without those, the parking spaces would rarely be available for disabled drivers or passengers.

I think service dog fraud has gotten to the proportions that in-spite of the inconvenience, requiring vetted certification is a reasonable trade off to insure that the right to use service dogs remains for disabled people who need them rather than for people who don’t.


Yes, I am of the personality type that generally follows rules and procedures and is honest even when it is inconvenient. I am not of the mindset that I am somehow special and above the rules others must follow.

But in this case there seems to be a service gap / quality issue.

I would happily pay to sit with my dog in a safe location in the cargo hold. I don’t need any of the fancy stuff in the main cabin. My comfort is secondary to my dog’s well being.

It seems the main problem is that in the cargo hold temperature can fluctuate quite rapidly, the hold is extremely noisy and in complete darkness and the dogs are unsupervised and are so freaked out they sometimes go into cardiac arrest. Another issue I have read about is the dogs being sent to the wrong location. In an extreme case a dog that was supposed to be on a domestic flight to Ohio was instead sent to Japan.

After two days of reading articles on all sides of this issue I think the likelihood of me faking service dog status is pretty much zero. But the options I am left with are less than comforting.


I work at a big city museum and it astounds me how many people bring in pet dogs. Technically the museum has a no animals policy but the staff don’t dare say anything in fear of getting sued over denial of allowing in a service dog. This entitlement irks me. I have rarely seen any kind of dog wearing any kind of official “Don’t touch me I’m a working service dog” vest. (But I do tell people that we do not allow “live primates” in coat check just because I can.)


But… but… but…!


Sounds expensive. Who’s going to pay for this?