Dog bites involving fake service and “therapy” dogs
Having a pet can bring significant benefits to our lives. According to the National Institutes of Health of the United States, pets can help reduce stress, provide good company by reducing feelings of loneliness, help people of all ages with disabilities, and even with emotional and social problems.
The use of pets for the benefit of humans is not a new topic. Since 1970, Great Britain has used animals for therapy with patients, obtaining wonderful results. Practice that was later adopted in different countries around the world. Today, “service” and emotional support animals help thousands of people in the United States, becoming essential to their well-being and daily life.
However, some people pass off their pets as service animals without any preparation or training, and several dog attacks have been recorded in different contexts in recent years.
What is a service animal?
According to law, a service animal is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or another animal trained to perform work or tasks for the benefit of a person living with a disability.”
Some of the tasks these animals perform include:
• Guide people who are visually impaired or blind
• Help and protect a person during a seizure
• Alert and protect a person with diabetes problems
• Alert a person who is hearing impaired about noises, strangers, or intruders.
• Pull a wheelchair
• Find medications
• Retrieve dropped items
• Help someone with mobility problems walk, among others.
In addition to service animals, there are also animals that help with emotional problems. These are of great help for people living with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, etc.
However, it is important to mention that animals that provide emotional support are not considered service animals, since they are not trained to perform specific tasks.
Bites by a fake service dog.
Federal and state laws protect the rights of people with disabilities who use service animals. No establishment can ask to see any proof that confirms neither the disability nor the training certification of the dog. For this reason, some people pass off their pets as service animals when they are actually not. This has led to several accidents and dog attacks on people walking their pets, and even passengers on airplanes.
If a suspected service dog has attacked you or a loved one, call us for advice. We will work hard for you to get the justice you deserve.