Fake 'service dog' ID brought to heel by proposed B.C. law
BC and Alberta Guide Dogs says more people are getting fake IDs for untrained dogs to benefit from the perks
Fake ID is going to the dogs — rather too much, as it turns out. But a proposed B.C. law aims to stop people labelling dogs without proper training as service dogs, by creating government issued dog ID and a provincial registry.
"It'll be a bit like a service dog driving licence if you like," Bill Thornton, the CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, an organization that trains service dogs, told Daybreak South's Chris Walker.
Service dogs don't just include seeing eye dogs trained to help people who are visually impaired. They're also trained to help people in wheelchairs, people with hearing impairments, autism or to act as seizure alert dogs.
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Thornton said over the past decade it has become easier to buy fake service dog tags and jackets online.
The identification tags allow the dog to accompany its owner to places dogs aren't usually allowed — such as restaurants or on public transit.
Thornton said he's seeing more and more situations involving fake service dog IDs, but it's difficult for most people to deal with.
"It is an awkward circumstance for someone to challenge someone who purports to have a disability and they've got a jacket on the dog — it's very difficult and often those folks behave very poorly when challenged," he said.
He said the new law would make things better for everyone, including people who legitimately need a service dog.
"They'll be able to check for the … licence and if you have it then you're entitled to go in, and if you don't have it you're not entitled to come in with the dog.
The new Guide Dog and Service Dog Act would also standardize training and certification in the province. It has passed its first reading and is expected to be implemented in the fall.
To hear the full interview with Bill Thornton, click the audio labelled: Fake ID for dogs targeted by new legislation.