We post frequently about situations in which people with service dogs are either denied service or asked to leave a business, and we are usually pretty hard on the business owners and employees who make these wrongheaded and illegal decisions. But we must be equally strong in our disapproval of folks who would take advantage of the benefits accorded real service dogs, just to make life more convenient for themselves.
A story in today’s New York Post describes how many New Yorkers are putting fake “service dog” tags on their pooches, in order to take them into bars, restaurants, and businesses:
“I was sick of tying up my dog outside,” said Brett David, 33, a restaurateur whose tiny pooch, Napoleon, wore an unofficial “therapy dog” patch during a visit to Whole Foods on Houston Street.
“Sometimes, they’ll give me a hassle and say bring the papers next time, but for five bucks, you order [a patch] off eBay, and it works 90 percent of the time,” he told The Post.
This is loathsome behavior. Would these people also use a wheelchair to get preferred seating at a sporting event?
The real problem is that awareness of these fake tags makes business owners more suspicious of every dog, and those folks who do, in fact, require a therapy or service dog find themselves under increased scrutiny and subject to more hassling. Plus, every time a fake service dogs misbehaves, it gives people a poor impression of of their real counterparts.