Service dog scam hurts people with disabilities

1 year 8 months 1 week ago Tuesday, June 07 2016 Jun 7, 2016 Tuesday, June 07, 2016 6:14:00 PM CDT June 07, 2016 in News
By: Lauren Barnas, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Online companies are offering quick certification for both emotional support and service animals. However, neither type of assistance animal requires certification by the government or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dr. Terriann Tucker-Warhover is a veterinarian and the director of Puppies with Purpose. The organization trains and places service dogs with people with disabilities. Tucker-Warhover says there are two types of people paying for fake vests, leashes, and certificates. She said some people try to fool restaurants, hotels, and landlords with phony products.

“It’s tough for business owners, for individuals, to really know – is that a service dog that has been taught a specific skill and meets the needs of an individual, is it an emotional support dog?” Tucker-Warhover said. “Or is it a dog that it’s a fake service dog? And that is actually tragic.”

Service animals have special public privileges and are usually allowed in restaurants, hotels, and other places that are otherwise off-limits for pets.

Julie Brinkhoff is the assistant director at the ADA office in Columbia. She has experienced the other side of it. She said sometimes the fake certificates also fool people with real disabilities and service dogs who think they need proof to have their animal in public. Unfortunately, many of these people live on a fixed income and waste money they can’t afford to lose.

In order to protect people with disabilities, the ADA trains employees to comply with its standards.

“The establishment can ask two questions. Those two questions are: is this a service animal, and what task has this animal been trained to do?” Brinkhoff said.

The questions are designed to protect the disabled, but make it easy to fool a business. Establishments aren’t allowed to ask for proof of a disability or proof that the animal is trained to help them.

“The reason for this, I believe, is so that people with disabilities could come in and out of places easily, without a lot of attention or delay,” Brinkhoff said.

This makes it easy to pass an animal off as something it’s not.

“Many of those dogs aren’t trained properly and they may misbehave, they may have aggressive tendencies,” Tucker-Warhover said. “Many people will see that and go ‘oh wow, service dogs, they’re not, you know, they’re not anything special.' And so it gives the service dogs a bad name.”

Emotional support animals are a different kind of assistance animal. However, they do not have special public privileges.

“Emotional support animals are covered under the Fair Housing Act,” Brinkhoff said. “This is housing only. The ADA only covers service dogs. 

Both women said they are working to make the guidelines for assistance animals clearer.

“They probably need to tweak the laws a little and maybe have some kind of certification, testing, or something so at least you know the dogs have basic obedience,” Tucker-Warhover said.

For now, businesses are left to trust their customers and the ADA guidelines.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - More than 100 students gathered to compete in the 2018 Columbia Elementary & Middle School Scholastic Chess Tournament... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 5:22:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
ASHLAND – The Ashland Police Department is taking precautionary measures after a school shooting at a Florida high school. The... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 4:36:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – Elementary students displayed their creativity on Saturday. Hy-Vee hosted a Junior Chefs Energy Bite competition. ... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 3:40:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police were unsure Saturday who drove a vehicle they believe hit and killed a man on I-70.... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 2:34:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools will have two high schools by August 2019. The district held a... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 1:09:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boys & Girls Club of Columbia kicks off its 13th annual MFA Oil Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cook-off... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:35:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT- Leonard Stephenson has lived in his mobile home, on the same street, for over 20 years. "I... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:55:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Department of Mental Health is notifying 1,000 people that some personal information... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 5:16:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Amid complaints about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:54:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say the substance used in an attack on three high school... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:43:53 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou basketball player Michael Porter Jr. may be on the bench this season but that hasn’t kept him... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 2:57:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Deputies arrested a man Friday morning after he allegedly led them on a pursuit that ended in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:55:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the superintendent of Jefferson City Public... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:46:50 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - New Haven Elementary could be home to a brand new playground. The school is competing in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:44:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
FULTON - An investigation into allegations against a former staff member at the Division of Youth Services Fulton Treatment Center... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:38:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - There's a new member of the Boone County Fire Protection District team, and he's hitting the ground running... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:22:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
CENTRALIA - Police took a student into custody Friday morning after staff at Centralia High School found a handgun in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 11:16:00 AM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police confirmed a person died after getting hit by a semi truck on I-70 early Friday. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 11:08:00 AM CST February 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 41°
10pm 38°
11pm 34°
12am 33°
1am 32°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:30p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
The King of Queens

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld