FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images
A disabled woman in a wheelchair takes part in a training session with a guide dog, on December 1, 2012, during a fair dedicated to services to the elderly and the disabled, at the Porte de Versailles congress hall in Paris.
Guide dog advocates are pushing California lawmakers to do something about the growing problem of dog owners fraudulently presenting their pets as “service dogs” in order to take the masquerading mutts places they’re not otherwise allowed.
Service dog harnesses, badges and vests can all be purchased online—and phony service dogs can be a nuisance to businesses and those who depend on genuine service animals.
Misrepresenting a pet as a service animal is already a misdemeanor in California, but enforcement is difficult. Business owners are not allowed to require proof of the service dog’s legitimacy.
In a Senate committee hearing Monday, legislators listened to concerns from members of the disabled community, guide dog trainers and business owners to determine whether policy changes are necessary to address to problem.
Have you seen dogs dressed as service animals misbehaving in public spaces? Should more be done to ensure that all animals presented as service dogs are the real deal?
Marc Mason, Acting Executive Officer, State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, which licenses guide dog schools and guide dog instructors in California