Stop fake service animals


Cordell Hull

Sig is a German Shepherd is full fledged service dog. He is 3 1/2 years old. He was trained for 15 months in order to have his task training and public access training well enough to be a full fledged service dog.

June Johnson and Lilly Merrill

Trained and qualified service animals are being discredited due to an outbreak of phony service animals. Service animals are quite common in this day and age.  For people with disabilities and medical conditions, they are often vital for them to live. Unfortunately, many people misuse the title ‘service animal’ as a way to bring their personal pets wherever they’d like. As these imposter service animals are let out into public places, it creates a danger for civilians, other service animals, their owners, and themselves. 

One example of this is the story of  Mylie, a faux service dog, and her owner. When Mylie was released on a beach near Savannah, Georgia, she began bounding through the sand scaring children and parents. Mylie was sporting the well known “Service Dog” vest but wasn’t acting as if she was trained to be a service dog. When a police officer tried to approach the dog’s owner, the dog lunged at the officer. Mylie’s owner was then arrested.

This incident is only one example of many that have happened all over the world. These dogs scare observers and could lead to the injury of themselves and onlookers.  

Many people don’t have the time or money to train their service animals, this can lead to many issues. Untrained animals are a recurring danger to their surroundings. They also plant a wrong impression about trained service animals and can lead people to think all are bad.

 James Aberson, the ADA coordinator of Georgia’s Chatham County gives insight on how to spot a service animal imposter, “The first thing they say is, ‘I have this certification, this ID card; this is a legitimate service animal,…” “That’s a red flag right off the bat.” Real service animals aren’t required to show certification because it can expose medical conditions. This recurring scenario is happening every day.  Aberson shows that faux service animals are using false identification to prove their animal is ‘authorized’.

These counterfeit service animals jeopardize the work of real service animals. This creates a false sense that all service animals behave poorly in public places, which could possibly lead to the banishment of all service animals whether real or fake. Fake service animals are degrading actual service animals and shouldn’t be allowed to have the same rights as trained service animals.