This is an excellent set of articles about the problem of fake service dogs. It is sad that many people think it is their “right” to take their pets everywhere with them and lie to make it happen. Every time a poorly trained pet “service dog” misbehaves in public,it makes it harder for people partnered with a trained dog to work.
I support the requirement to show the dog is trained. However, the laws need to be written intelligently. For example, Riley is being trained by a certified professional trainer who is registered with Service Animal Registry of America. He has been in training since he was 49 days old. When he is through, he will have over 8 months of training and over 500 hours. He is being trained to exactly what I need him to do. Neither the military or the VA will recognize his training unless an Assistance Dogs International trainer is willing to certify him. He will EXCEED their standards of training. But, they are the only group recognized as trainers. And, there is no such thing as a free or low cost service dog. Most ADI programs require recipients to find raise at least half the cost of the dog. Some waive this requirement for veterans.
I chose to stay local and pay for my dog’s training for several reasons. One, the closest program is 175 miles one way from me. I don’t travel without assistance due to my disabilities. Two, I wouldn’t be able to be part of the training process. With staying local, I get to work with Riley several times a month. I am part of his training and we are already bonding. Three, he is being trained for exactly the tasks I need. Nothing I don’t need. Four, the ADI programs in my state have a 2-5 year waiting list. Five, my trainer and I got to choose the dog and the breed. No allergies with a standard poodle. And a very bright dog.
The laws will need to be written to be more inclusive of training options. As for Riley, at least most VAs aren’t enforcing the ADI only issue too strenuously. And,my trainer is looking into finding an ADI trainer to sign off on him.