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New West Palm Beach Bill Seeks to Penalize Fake Service Dogs

Todd Breen - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Service Dogs

Have you ever considered purchasing a fake service dog vest?

Stop, and don’t even bother. Not only does this affect people with actual disabilities, it’s also against the law. Under a new bill, pretending to have disabilities in order to pass off Fido as a trained service dog is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines and 60 days in jail.

Why would someone use a fake service dog vest?

Service animals are allowed in most public establishments, such as groceries and restaurants, where average pets are restricted. This is one reason why others go through the trouble to fashion fake service dog vests: so that they can take their pooch wherever they want. Danielle Ford has a legitimate need for her service dog, Hemingway. Having cerebral palsy, she describes her everyday life as “a wonderful journey, but is filled with discrimination.” This, according to her, is made even worse by people who have fake service dogs.

”It is a prevalent problem,” Ford said. “It makes it that much harder for us to travel or go into businesses with our legitimate service dogs when we’re constantly questioned.”

Many fake service dogs are untrained and would yap, growl, or even try to attack other dogs causing problem. Because of this, Ford and Hemingway are subjected to constant scrutiny whenever they are in public. Ford also emphasized that pet owners who use these fake vests don’t realize the damage they inflict to those who really need the services of a guide pet.   Source: WPBF 25 News