“Before I got everything I needed, I took my dog for a walking with his vest on, and I was given right of way. Joggers who otherwise wouldn’t have moved before envisage the vest when they were coming near and got out of my style. That little vest is a powerful thing.”
And truly, what’s the damage?
Actual Disabled People Get Screwed
As fun as it would be to sneak your dog somewhere it shouldn’t be, like an operating room or a SpaceX rocket, there are reasons businesses maintain animals out. Even Ashley sees the other side now and again, like when she was on a flight to New York full of untrained “service dogs” barking their heads off and stewardesses trying vainly to quiet them all. Or the time she took her puppy to the grocery store and considered six other puppies there too, forcing the manager to sub in for employees who had allergies. “He said, ‘Do you absolutely need a puppy with you? This is insane. We can scarcely operate a business.’ I didn’t say anything, but I felt bad.”
Many, many people are getting into the fake assistance animal game, and the real victims are those people who truly need them, but are disbelieved because of all the fraud out there.( Which is our biggest fear even running this article. Please do not go around accusing strangers of scam because they don’t “seem” incapacitated enough for their animal !) Some service puppy owners report get denied hotel rooms( Ashley herself is convinced she gets the worst room possible when hotels learn of her dog) or kicked off flights.
“Charlotte” is a friend of Ashley’s who has a legitimate emotional support dog. “She saw a assassination happen and has had PTSD ever since, ” she says. “Bad PTSD. Without her dog, I don’t think she could leave the house.” And Charlotte happened to take her dog to the grocery store( the same store as the allergies incident) when a pair of fake service dogs decided to chew up some stuff on the bottom shelves and then poop all over the floor. An employee hollered, “Hey, control your puppy! ” at Charlotte, the only innocent dog owner there, triggering her PTSD.
Not that that’s enough to induce Ashley keep her own puppy at home. ” My dog isn’t promoting service puppies being out of control, ” she clarifies. “I’m … probably voicing hypocritical still, but I said what I said.”
People Are Catching On, And Fakers Do Get Punished … Sometimes
Those incidents we mentioned just now, when businesses turn away service puppies? They aren’t that common. Denying a service dog can been transformed into a PR nightmare, whether it’s by a hotel, an airline, or Popeye’s Chicken. “That’s why we aren’t called out on it more often, ” says Ashley. “No one wants to be the person bashing the handicapped out of something they need.” So when the owner of one family-style restaurant refused her puppy entry and finally threatened to call the police, Ashley wasn’t shaken. “Do it! ” she said. “They’ll tell you how wrong you are! “
Within ten minutes, the policemen were there.
“I was doing OK in convincing them until they asked if it was an emotional support dog, ” says Ashley. “To which I said yes. They knew about the service and support distinction, so they knew a lot about these laws. I didn’t have to, but I showed them my certification for my puppy, and they said, ‘Haven’t seen them like this before.'” Now she started to panic, but she was saved by a random coincidence. The officer recognized the name of her doctor and decided to let her go. Petty corruption for the win!
California currently has a $1,000 penalty and six months in jail lined up for faking a service dog. In Florida, it’s $500 and two months in jail. Other nations have measures too, and in case it sounds like a slap on the wrist, that’s per count. So Ashley now keeps a lower profile — including taking tips-off on how legitimate subsistence animal owners act. “Owners with real problems won’t let you touch the dog, or even get near it, ” she says. “It’s working, and you can distract it. Owneds taking it on for the hell of it, they’ll be like, ‘Sure, you can pet them! ‘” Even with emotional support puppies, you can’t do that. “I have to act like that now.”
One flight of Ashley’s had three support puppies on it. There was her, a woman in a wheelchair, and then the third woman, who had a Chihuahua. “She was letting kids pet the dog, ” says Ashley, “and I had told those same kids before that my puppy was working. The girl in the wheelchair overheard me and said, as we were both looking at her, ‘Don’t those people induce you sick? ‘ She had no idea.”
Evan V. Symon is a journalist, interview finder guy, and novelist for the Personal Experiences section at Cracked . Instead of getting your floofer a service vest they’re not qualified to wear and doing the general public a bamboozle, how about a heckin’ cool but also warm coat instead ? If you loved this article and want more content like this, supporting our site with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and expressed appreciation for .
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