Is there an appropriate place to report a "scam" registry? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-11-2011, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Is there an appropriate place to report a "scam" registry?

I don't know whether this has ever been discussed here, but I am wondering whether there is an appropriate place where one could report a "scam" Service Dog registry and have them possibly put out of business?

I realize that most of these registries are probably not doing anything illegal because they cover themselves by requiring the people "signing up" with them to check the box where it says that they are considered disabled and that their dog specifically helps them with their disability. So they can always say, "We're just going by what that person told us."

But what about a registry that does NOT have that language on their website or in their requirements?

I recently came across an organization called Service Dogs America that is located in Hawaii. On their front page, they state that they "recognize that every person in America may have some form of disability" and then on the next page, they go on to say that "As a Service Dog, your canine assistant will be able to accompany you into any publicly accessible space including restaurants, museums, airports and airplanes, theaters, stores and parks."

Their website does say that the dog must be "adequately trained" - however, when you go to the "Qualify My Dog" section, the "qualifications" you must meet are basically basic obedience. There is no mention of the requirements that the dog must be trained specific tasks, nor is there mention that a person must be legally (not just medically) disabled. Once you read through the list of basic obedience / public access type "requirements", there's a checkbox. Below that it states that checking it, you assure their organization that your dog "can fulfill most of the criteria".

Then it takes you to the next page where you can order their "kit" - a Service Dog vest, collar tag, wallet card, and certificate for $250. The patches for the vest (Options are "Do not pet" and "Ask to pet me") are $10 extra as are the Service Dog leash and collar. The stuff you pay $250 for is probably a $34 vest from Active Dogs and some home-printed junk, so they've got a pretty good money-making scam going.

Is there any way to report these people? I believe that their website is recommending illegal activities to people (passing their dog off as a Service Dog) by suggesting that "everyone" has a disability and can/should therefore take their pet in public after buying a vest.

For that matter, is there any way to report or otherwise fight those other scam registries that "certify" Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Search & Rescue Dogs and whatever the heck else dogs sight-unseen for a ridiculous fee? (Like the one that just "certified" Cesar Millan's dog Junior as a "Service Dog", for example?)

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 12:49 AM
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Short answer is no - not that anyone involved in this can find.

These type of businesses are you have seen know how to stay right inside of all current laws. On top of that, many are now starting to go out of the country and so good by any chance of doing anything against them.

The current laws focus on the individuals.

So, some of us get quite upset with the increase of fakers, under trained dogs, and dogs that have no business out in the public to begin with. Experienced lobbyists dealing with SD laws have told us do not try to get anything passed on the Federal Level but go to the individual states.

I've started on a small level speaking to my Representative on this matter and he is interested in it. I just have to find the way to schedule the time to devote to this.

From ADAP blog ... (Still in the process of beging set up)
Legitimate Vests, Patches and ID Tags
Posted on August 12, 2011 by adap

There are places on the Internet to buy legitimate vests, patches and ID tags. Owners can even order elsewhere or make their own. What we are trying to make against state law is people who charge to enter a dog on a worthless registry and/or to sell fake certs or ID that claim certification with nothing to back it up. These businesses or individuals should be held accountable to what they are certifying and how they determine such. Are they testing the dog through such means as a PAT or making sure the dog is of proper temperament? Are they willing to stand behind that cert if the SD team must appear in court?

We would like it to be through state statute unlawful- with a possible charge of fraud – to sell a certification or item stating *certified* without anything to back it up. Against state statute to sell a certification without a knowledge of the dog’s training and suitability to go into the public as a working dog. Certification is not required under Federal Law – so those that sell it should be held to some minimum standards.

One possible requirement that could be added to this statute would be that if an agency, organization, or individual certifies a dog as an Assistance/Service Dog then they should make available liability insurance on that dog for a minimum amount of time. Not possible? Why not? Some Therapy Dog organizations have a million dollar policy on dogs that they test and register (and not even certify) while these dogs are actively working in that capacity. Should not organizations that register or certify Service Dogs also do the same for a minimum period of time?

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 10-12-2011 at 12:51 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 01:13 AM
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Also from ADAP
Certificate of Compliance
Posted on August 11, 2011 by adap

From BusinessDictionary.com Certificate of Compliance: A document certified by a competent authority that the supplied good or service meets the required specifications. … http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/certificate-of-compliance.html

Why is this definition here? First, I would like to tell you an interesting fact that I discovered while looking for more information on *Certifications for Service Dogs* over the Internet. One of the larger places to “Register” and receive a certificate and patch is located not in the U.S. but in Cuenca, Ecuador. What does this mean? They do not have to follow the same regulations as a U.S. based company. And while they offer registration does the customer know where their dog is then registered? A central Service Dog Registry? No, there is no such organization. So that means that the dog or rather the owner with the credit card is now on a list. One can only wonder how secure that info is or how many times that individual’s personal information is resold on mailing lists. So for the low price or $75.00 (and for such businesses this is relatively a low price) you receive a CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE and this is why the definition is here. Are they certifying that the dog is a Service Dog? No, as the definition says “the supplied good meets the required specifications”. If you send in the payment and requied information you will receive this certificate, an ID Card, and a Patch. They are honest in that they do state that none of this is required but they also mention how their product is a valuable resource to make sure that businesses comply with the law. And to show how in touch they are with the law they have a picture of the Dept. of Justice Seal on the front page of their site.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Just because a company or organization has the Dept. of Justice Seal, the American Flag, all nicely done up in red/white/blue etc. etc. on their website does not mean they are official or Dept. of Justice recognized. It just means that they can cut and paste from other sites or have their webmaster design the site in certain colors.

Another way to look more professional is to have logos etc. which when clicked on goes to information sites such as the ADA. They know most legit people are not going to read several hundred pages to find a sentence or two which deals with the topic at hand but it does look very impressive.
And those who are not legit just want something fancy to flash at others to make it look like their dog is the real thing.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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That is great information, TJ, and I definitely agree with what you are saying. If they claim that the team is "certified", even if they claim so based on the statement of the dog owner, then they should be legally liable or somehow provide insurance to these dog/handler teams they "certify".

Did you speak to your representative in person or did you send them a letter? If you've sent a letter, would you mind forwarding me a copy to use as a template to send out to my state's representative to see whether we could get something done in my state as well? I know it's not much, but it would be a start.

Another thing that I think would help, outside of plenty of publicity and education regarding fake registries and what requirements must be met for a dog to actually be a service dog, would be making materials easily available to real disabled persons that they can use - for example, a printable ADA access card.

A lot of these fake registries and other businesses sell them, but if they were available for free, like a .pdf file, and people could print them at home, maybe there would no longer be a market for people buying them.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 01:46 AM
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Chris, PM me your email address - I know I had it at one time but ...

I wrote a letter of intro, met him a couple of times, and gave him some notes along with my business card. We also have a couple of connections via FaceBook.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2011, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Will do, TJ.

Malinois Ronja - fastest K-9 in VT
=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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