German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I received the following email from a lady in California via my blog - I'm guessing because I have a couple of entries where I wrote about people fraudulently passing off their pets as service dogs. I am not familiar with California service dog law, so I'm not sure what direction to point her in. Does anyone have links or information I can send her?

(Email edited to remove locations and names.)

Quote:So..my estranged brother in law, who lives in ( ) has a
Chihuahua. This dog hasn't had any vaccinations to speak of and he has managed to get the vocational rehab with ( ) county to certify it as a service dog. He says it barks for him when the phone rings.

Anyway...his actual goal was to get it certified so he wouldn't have to pay a pet deposit on an apartment and could take it on the bus. He also plans on taking it on a train and did not want to have to pay, so he figured if it were certified, he could take the train back to ( ) with a free dog pass.

My question is, how can I bring this to the attention of those who fell for this and certified this dog? I always thought there were tests an animal had to go through to be certified, but in this case they didn't. it was taken on word and application, and this is a government agency.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,710 Posts
maybe wrong answer but if dog does not misbehave and change public pereception of service dogs this behavior may be 'dog-love' driven rather than human-selfish scam.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
For CA law you can send her to Service Dog Central at
LINK
On the left there is Service Dog Laws -- click on it
Click on United States
Click on State Laws
Click on California

She may be mistaken and the dog may be an Emotional Support Dog. California (or at least some counties) has some laws that are different than most parts of the country concerning ESAs.

As to "any vaccinations to speak of " some states only require a rabies vac every 3 years so maybe to her that isn't enough. Since it is her estranged brother-in-law she may not be aware of what all the dog can do. As to certification -- not required so not even an issue. Sounds like she may be speaking of a special license tag that is given in CA to owners of SDs. All dogs are required to have a county tag -- the SDs are offered a special one free with a letter from a medical care provider stating the person is disabled. These tags are picked up from a county clerk or local animal services office. Like I said, the tags are offered free of charge with supporting proof or the owner can just pay the fee and get a regular county tag. CA does require a SDIT to have a special tag in order for the handler/trainer to have Public Access rights.

If it is important enough to this woman to turn her brother-in-law in to the authorities she can call or write and ask the procedure to lodge a complaint with the CA Attorney General's Office:
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Tel: (916) 322-3360
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I have another fraudulent case.....

First...we live in California......

I am the resident manager of a mobile home park with strict rules about the size of animals allowed.

The Mobile homes are owned by the residents, spaces rented.

A prospective buyer and her 21 yr old daughter were told that they could not keep their big dog due to the rules and regs at our park.

They left understanding that they couldn't keep it. They even said they would let it live with the father if they had to.

Three weeks later the daughter came by and told me that it was an "Emotional Service Dog". But didn't provide me with anything verifying this.

Our attorney for the park denied residency because of our rules.

The seller of the mobile home collected money and started escrow on the MH, even though they were not accepted into our park....which HAS to happen before a mobile home is sold.

They have now provided a "prescription" from a nurse at our local clinic....dated for after they were told they couldn't move in with a large dog.

Will they look at this as fraudulent, or will we have to allow this?

This is very frustrating because there was no mention of this when they were told, and I know for a fact that they are doing this ONLY to move in here.

Any suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
First...we live in California......

...
Three weeks later the daughter came by and told me that it was an "Emotional Service Dog". But didn't provide me with anything verifying this.
.....
They have now provided a "prescription" from a nurse at our local clinic....dated for after they were told they couldn't move in with a large dog.
.....
Any suggestions?
First there is not such a thing as an Emotional Service Dog. There are *Emotional Support Animals/Dogs* and *Service Dogs*.

Unless the daughter is legally (not just medically) disabled then there is no SD.

If the daughter has a mental illness and her doctor determines that she would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support dog then she would qualify - maybe. The doctor must write a letter or prescription supporting her request as the first step. A nurse can not write such a letter. It also can not be just any doctor but one who has treated her for her mental illness.

In some cases there can be size limits on the ESD. In some cases decisions are based on if the dog in question was an ESD before someone moves into an apartment or house. In the case of someone living in their own mobile home and only renting the property also would be a factor that I have no knowledge on.

There are also other factors such as if the landlord lives in the building in question such as an apartment complex, how many units are involved, and if there are any government subsidies. These all determine the housing laws that the request would fall under and how it is handled.

In my opinion the daughter has not even completed the first step which is obtaining a letter from her doctor of record treating her for a mental illness.

I would advise you to find an attorney with experience in this area.

I would also suggest that you do not discuss the matter with her verbally but tell her that all requests must be in writing. Keep any such correspondence along with the letter she submitted from the nurse in case you end up in court.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
The closest law that I can see would be the Fair Housing Act but I don't know how that works with a mobile home that is owned by the person living there and who rents the property.

In any case the daughter would have to show a need for her ESD and a letter from a nurse will not do this. A doctor or other medical care provider must write the letter stating that they believe the dog is necessary.


Establishing that the support animal is necessary in order to use and enjoy the residence is critical. Courts have consistently held that a tenant requesting an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation must demonstrate a relationship between his or her ability to function and the companionship of the animal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
New HUD Rules Make It Easier to Have Emotional Support Animals

Many sources say ESAs are not "service animals (3), unless they have been task-trained, for instance like seeing eye dogs" but these sources are incorrect. Psychiatric service animals perform specific tasks for the benefit of individuals with psychiatric, cognitive, or mental disabilities. The federal Department of Justice (4) lists some examples of tasks done by psychiatric service animals: reminding their handlers to take medication, providing safety checks or room searches, turning on lights for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, interrupting self-mutilation by persons with dissociative identity disorders, keeping disoriented individuals from danger, detecting the onset of psychiatric episodes, and ameliorating their effects.
The author of this article speaks of other groups not knowing what a SD is or a ESA(D) but they themself "are incorrect." A psychiatric service dog is in fact a service dog and not the same thing as an ESD. The DOJ states that a dog must be trained a task to be a SD. The ADA/DOJ do not address emotional support animals but the new clarification does state that giving comfort is not a task.

These type of articles are very confusing because they jump from one topic to another and back again. If the author would stay with ESDs instead of throwing SDs into the mix it would make more sense. In the paragraph that I quoted it starts off saying "Many sources say ESAs are not "service animals" which is true. Then in the same sentence "unless they have been task-trained," which in fact would make the dog a SD and not an ESA IF THE OWNER themself is disabled.

The author doesn't seem to grasp the idea behind an ESA/D (emotional support animal/dog). These are animals/dogs for people with a mental illness BUT not all people with a mental illness are disabled per the DOJ. That is a main part of the issue.

Legally Disabled Person + Trained Dog (trained to mitagate the owner's disability) = Service Dog.

Owner with mental illness + health care provider's letter/note/prescription for a dog = Emotional Support Dog.

And all of this is not important in this particular case as the owner is not claiming the dog is a SD (service dog) but an ESD (emotional support dog).

If the daughter can get a note from her health care provider who is willing to state that they have been treating this person for a mental illness and that in their professional opinion this person requires the dog then the dog could be considered an emotional support dog.

But the landlord (property owner) needs to get professional advice on how to proceed.
1) Is this property under any state or fed. laws requiring the landlord to waive no-pet rule. (Remember only certain types of housing in certain circumstances fall under one of the laws addressing emotional support animals of any type.)
** In this case the property owner is not stating that pets are not allowed only that there is a weight restriction which in certain cases is allowed.
2) It must be determined if the daughter is qualified to have an emotional support animal. This is done by a procedure beginning with a document of some sort from her health care professional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
I do just want to state for someone reading this and not knowling me from my posts that I am not against emotional support animals. I am just answering questions from the property owner's side (well in this case a manager for the property owner).

If the daughter claiming the dog as an emotional support dog posted here asking for advice I would in turn post what in my opinion she should do. For her I would say, don't discuss this issue anymore but put all requests in writing. I would also tell her to get a letter from her doctor or other health care provider who has been treating her for her mental illness. If at that point the daughter said she was not being treated for a mental illness then there would no reason for her to continue. If she was being treated but her doctor did not believe that an animal would be the proper form of treatment for her and would not give her documentation stating that she had a need for the dog then again no reason to continue.

But for both sides I would advise that they know which law if any is appropriate for this situation, that they know what an emotional support animal is and the qualifications that are needed, and that they seek professional legal advice, from someone with experience in this field as not all attorneys are knowledgeable on this, over anything they read from any site on the Internet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,571 Posts
The doctor must write a letter or prescription supporting her request as the first step. A nurse can not write such a letter. It also can not be just any doctor but one who has treated her for her mental illness.
Really? (I'm not being snarky. I'm asking because I haven't looked it up myself). I thought it was simply the treating mental health professional. Does it HAVE to be a "doctor"?

In my state, registered nurses who are nurse practitioners with appropriate certifications can and do act as primary care providers. They refer patients to specialists. They write prescriptions. In WA, they don't need to work under the direct supervision of doctors. For all intents and purposes, for many patients, they're the same as doctors.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Twenty-eight states are considering expanding nurse practitioners' duties to help offset the nation’s shortage of primary care physicians, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. NPs are nurses with advanced degrees.

Currently, laws regulating the scope of responsibilities for NPs vary significantly by state. For example, some states require physicians to manage NPs, while Montana allows NPs to practice without a supervising physician. Most states allow NPs with a doctorate in nursing practice to use the title "doctor."

In Florida, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow NPs to prescribe controlled substances.
28 States Considering Expanding Duties of Nurse Practitioners - California Healthline

In California (where the OP lives), nurse practioners are allowed to prescribe controlled substances, sign off on placards for the DMV -- substantiating the disability, bill Medi-Cal under their own names, and a host of other responsiblities. http://www.rn.ca.gov/pdfs/regulations/npr-b-23.pdf They have to technically be supervised by a doctor, but that supervision can be via telephone in most cases.

And for many Americans, the primary care practitioner is not the frontline but the ONLY caregiver for mental health issues:

A comparison of two nationally representative household surveys that screened for mental disorders 10 years apart found that the use of only general practitioners when seeking mental health treatment was the fastest growing and most popular approach among the survey respondents. The study, published in the July American Journal of Psychiatry, found that respondents treated by only a general physician for any mental illness grew from 2.6 percent in a previous survey to 6.5 percent in the most recent study.

The researchers attributed that finding to the increasing role of general physicians as insurance plan “gatekeepers,” increased access to mental health screening tools, the growing popularity and safety of psychotropic medications, and the increasing use of psychotherapies by general practitioners.

One of the study authors, Harold Pincus, M.D., vice chair of strategic initiatives in the Department of Psychiatry at columbia University, said the most troubling finding was that patients with serious disorders expanded their exclusive use of general practitioners to treat their mental illness.
The increased utilization of mental health care among those with moderate mental illness—such as mild to moderate depression—bodes well for the health of the population, said the authors, because research has found that, overall, psychotherapy and medication have equivalent effectiveness. However, the increased reliance on general physicians for mental health care is more worrisome among patients with more serious illnesses in light of the increasing evidence that such illnesses respond best to combined psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, which general practitioners are unlikely to provide.
Primary Care Treating More Serious Mental Illness ? Psychiatric News

Now, you and I -- and certainly most trained psychiatrists -- may say that the PCP is NOT the most appropriate treating practioner for moderate to severe mental illness. And if the PCP is a nurse practioner, then perhaps even more so.

But health insurance, sheer cost (as more people find themselves uninsured), lack of access to specialists, comfort level with their PCP and other reasons cause patients to treat with professionals that you and I might think is most suitable.

That doesn't mean that we have the right to second-guess their diagnosis.

I don't know what is going on here, and I don't know if this property would be bound by the Fair Housing Act. But there needs to be, imo, more investigation (and more compassion) before anyone calls this fraud. This woman may have been treating with a nurse practioner. She may also be treating with a psychologist, MFCC, LCSW or other mental health professoinal, but because her RN is prescribing her meds, she felt like that professional is the best person to write the letter. I don't know. But often it is the PCP who prescibes meds while talk therapy occurs with someone else. She may have walked away saying "ok," because she didn't realize she had rights (until she spoke to someone who told her she did). She didn't realize she needed a letter; so when faced with the fact that she needed one, yes, she got one after the fact.

I'm not saying that any of this is true. But can you see how some or all of it COULD be true...?

Your county government almost certainly has a fair housing division that can give you some guidance for free. Of course, your attorney can give you advice. But it seems to me that more facts are necessary before anyone reaches any final conclusions. Here's the thing -- Until you know the facts, you don't know if she has a legitimate case for fair housing. Once you have fully investigated this, then you can reasonably and appropriately give her your decision in writing. If she files a complaint, you provide a copy of your file to the fair housing commission, which shows that you're a decent business owner who tried to do the right thing -- which includes preserving rights of access for those who really deserve them.

No one likes fraud. But I think it's a wise business decision (and a moral one) that we figure out the facts before we decide something is fraud.

Of course, that's just my opinion. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
I do just want to state for someone reading this and not knowling me from my posts that I am not against emotional support animals. I am just answering questions from the property owner's side (well in this case a manager for the property owner).

If the daughter claiming the dog as an emotional support dog posted here asking for advice I would in turn post what in my opinion she should do. For her I would say, don't discuss this issue anymore but put all requests in writing. I would also tell her to get a letter from her doctor or other health care provider who has been treating her for her mental illness. If at that point the daughter said she was not being treated for a mental illness then there would no reason for her to continue. If she was being treated but her doctor did not believe that an animal would be the proper form of treatment for her and would not give her documentation stating that she had a need for the dog then again no reason to continue.

But for both sides I would advise that they know which law if any is appropriate for this situation, that they know what an emotional support animal is and the qualifications that are needed, and that they seek professional legal advice, from someone with experience in this field as not all attorneys are knowledgeable on this, over anything they read from any site on the Internet.
I think I addressed most of your concerns in my last post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,025 Posts
Really? (I'm not being snarky. I'm asking because I haven't looked it up myself). I thought it was simply the treating mental health professional. Does it HAVE to be a "doctor"?
I know you're not being snarky - not your style. And, a very good question with a lot of facts behind it.

Answer: I don't really know if that is changing but I've never seen or heard otherwise. It is possible especially since as you posted many states are allowing NPs to take on new and more responsibilities. This is something that would of course be very interesting to find out.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top