14 October 2013

Too Much Service Dog Fraud

In many of the articles, I have been reading lately about service dogs, I see too much service dog fraud being foisted on the American public. This summer, I had a couple of days that I spent with the trainer of mobility service dogs. He was working on the good citizen's phase with two dogs so that they would be ready for placement with people needing mobility service dogs.

What does this mean? It means training the dog to behave in public, not to bark or misbehave when in the public or in stores. Yes, they are taught when to bark if their owner goes down or becomes unable to get up if the wheel chair is tipped over.

Because this is still training, my friend has always had a good relation with the police and other law enforcement agencies and always alerts them when he will be in town doing training. The first day, the storeowner was happy to see him and asked what the second dog was doing. He introduced me and stated I was his assistant and had worked with him for two years on and off. In looking around the store, I noticed that there were two levels and two steps up to the second level.

When I mentioned this to the storeowner, he asked me to come with him. From a storage closet, he removed a ramp and showed me the two hooks on one end and said to watch while he put the ramp in place. My friend said he knew of this and told the storeowner that the next day he would be back with two possible matches for the dogs and one of them would be in a wheel chair. The storeowner said they would follow normal procedures as they had in the past and use the wider and slightly longer ramp. My friend said you have a longer ramp? The storeowner then put the one ramp back and removed the second ramp and put it in place. He then explained that because of its length, it would need to be raised and lowered because it would block the nearest isle and he did not want people to fall over it. He said that all of his clerks knew how to use it and one would be around to assist during the visit.

While we had been watching, three teenage boys had been moving closer to us. The storeowner asked them what he could do for them. One of them said for us to move away from the dogs as they should not be in the store and they were going to remove them. The storeowner said that the dogs were in training and were allowed in the store. The loudest boy said he was tired to seeing dogs allowed in shops, restaurants, and other places around town and he was going to put a stop to this.

The storeowner quietly said for them to put the guns away. He had seen one of the city police enter the store and that he had moved up behind the three boys. He then spoke up and told the boys to put their weapons on the floor and back up toward his voice. Two of them did, but the loudest boy was not going to and started to turn with the weapon in his hand. My friend said one word, drop, and the storeowner, my friend, and I dropped to the floor. The two dogs dropped at the same time, but I could tell they were ready for action if called on.

The boy turned to see what had happened and the policeman collared him and took the weapon away in one quick move. Then the policeman asked for back up to escort the boys to jail. He used his handcuffs for the loudest one and when two other city police arrived, the other two were handcuffed and taken out of the store. The storeowner said the loudest was the ringleader and would probably spend some time locked up.

I asked if there was hope for the other two and the storeowner said he hoped so and would be considering this in court. I asked if it would be possible for the two to be on hand to watch the dogs in action the next day as we moved around town and in and out of different businesses. My friend said it may be worth the effort to walk over to city hall and the police office and talk to them. The storeowner wished us luck and we left.

The police chief was not impressed with our proposal, but did talk to a couple of the police for their opinion. Both stated this may be good for the two boys, but not the third as he and his dad were troublemakers in the town. The two boys had already stated that the son of the gun storeowner had supplied the weapons they had.

The chief asked what time we would be there and then told the two policemen to make sure they had time to spare as they were assigned to be with the boys. The next day we were ready for trouble and had warned the police of this before we even started. The Chief put two others on what we had suggested and they did catch the loud boy's father before he could do the damage we had suspected. He had positioned himself along the route we would be traveling and was standing with a weapon ready to kill one or both dogs.

When we completed the day, both boys were impressed and asking questions. They knew one of the clients for one of the dogs and were surprised how well they worked together and most of the questions were directed to her. They asked if she would be coming back to school and she disappointed them by saying that the dog may be strong, but not for three flights of stairs at their school. She would be required to attend a school with no flights of stairs. Then she dropped the bomb on them when she said she would be ready to testify against and gave the loud boy's name. One finally got his voice back and asked if he was the one that caused her to need a wheel chair. Yes, was her answer and I said that maybe his father was looking for her as well.

With that, the two boys were back in custody and we were on our way back to my friend's farm. My friend recounted the events of the previous day and why the two boys were there today. The girl said she felt very comfortable with her dog and the other person said he was not and that maybe he should wait for a larger dog. My friend agreed and thought both had made good choices.

As much as I have enjoyed this blog, there will be no more posts because of all the fraud happening in the service dog world. When and if the people responsible act to put penalties and some other actions into place to prevent this, I find no joy in promoting the service dog world. I am tired to seeing “comfort dogs” in grocery stores and other places just because people feel that fake documents allow them to take poor behaving pets in stores where pets are normally not allowed. There are just too many places on the internet making all sorts of fake documents available.

Thank you for reading, and good-bye.

No comments:

Post a Comment