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I honestly don't ever remember seeing dogs in grocery stores. I know I've read a lot on these dog forums about service dogs, but the dogs I'm seeing don't have on any vest or anything. I was at Whole Foods in Boise and some older lady was walking a lil Foo Foo dog (Yorkie, maybe?) on a leash down the aisle. I approached a worker and mentioned it, and he just shrugged his shoulders like there was nothing he could do. He said non-service dogs are not allowed due to sanitation reasons, and then he went back to stocking the shelves. I was just at my base commissary and saw a family (husband, wife, kids) with a black Lab on a leash in the frozen food section. Again, I went to a worker and asked them about their policy, and they said only service dogs were allowed. He also mentioned that he didn't see the dog, who had now already checked out and left.

I love my dogs, and would love to take them anywhere and everywhere. I appreciate stores like Home Depot, Lowes, PetSmart and Petco for allowing me to take my dogs in there. I know there are people who have posted on here that they like to challenge "the system", and if a store doesn't have any signs on their door saying "No Dogs" then they will just bring their dog right in, regardless of what type of store it is. Maybe this is starting to catch on like a wildfire?

I'm no service dog expert, and I always try to give the person the benefit of the doubt, so maybe they have documentation in their purse to prove it's a service dog (since it's not wearing a vest or any other visible proof showing it's a SD) and not just a pet or emotional companion? Is it against the law to ask them about why their dog is in the grocery store? Why do the store workers seem so helpless and afraid to do anything? Both workers told me dogs are certainly NOT ALLOWED, but then they just allow them to be in there anyways.

Two dogs spotted in a month's time, after going 39 years without ever seeing a dog in a grocery store is kind of odd, don't ya think!?!
 

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I'll just suggest that the US population is now way more sick than in years past. I'll also suggest that dogs are now trained for more tasks than ever before when dogs were just for the blind. I'll also say Federal Law does not absolutely require vest, ID, or flashing neon sign.

Now -- There are two questions business owners and employees can ask people that come into their businesses with dogs.
1. Is that a service dog?
2. What task is the dog trained to do?
That's it. You cannot ask why a person needs a service dog or what their disability is. You cannot ask them if the dog is certified as a service dog or require them to show a certificate or other paperwork (that's because there is no official certification for service dogs, and because anyone can buy a certificate for their dog on the internet even if they aren't disabled and their dog has no training whatsoever, so showing you a certificate of some kind would be completely meaningless). You cannot require that they have their dog demonstrate the tasks it can perform for them.
Asking anything other than those two questions above is a violation of a person's rights under the Americans with Disability Act. If you or your employees violate the ADA, you may find your business faced with hefty fines. As stated in: What Questions Can Business Owners Ask People with Service Dogs? - Yahoo Voices - voices.yahoo.com dated Dec. 2013.

Do I think in the instances you cited people are working the system? Well, very likely, or maybe not.
I hope I didn't sound arguing or anything -- I just thought I would answer since no one had.
 

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I think in some (maybe most) cases in my touwn it's just an issue that most folks believe the rules don't apply to them.

I have a really hard time thinking that kitten I saw carried in the grocery section at Walmart yesterday was supporting/serving anybody. The woman wasn't even hiding it well, not that she could with it squalling like it was.
 

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There are a lot of people who want to take their dogs everywhere, and so they sign up for "registration" websites and stuff so they can get vests and information cards.

For actual service dogs, no vests or harnesses are required. Just a legal disability and for the dog to provide tasks for a dog.

HOWEVER... also according to the laws, if a service dog is being unruly, businesses do have the right to refuse service, just like they would if a human was being unruly, without the service dog.

So... while service dogs that complete a task for an invisible disability are becoming more common as more and more people realize it's an option, I think there are also some people who see them without vests or certification and think "oh, I can take my dog here too!"... when that's not the case.



I am training my own service dog for when I have my recurrent episodes of major depression. 6-10 months out of the year I am fine and have no need for her. And then an episode hits. I have lost jobs because of it, my hygiene goes out the window, I have a lot of trouble completing even simple tasks such as making sure I take a shower at some point during a week, or get out of bed long enough to get food. My dog, when fully trained, is not expected to force me to do those things. I have to physically get up and do them. But having a dog that will pull me up if I ask, fetch medication and a bottle of water for me, ground me when I'm dissociating on top of the depression, and provide a tactile alarm when my other alarms go off, as well as other tasks... it's extremely helpful to me. What seems like an insurmountable obstacle now seems a bit easier because I have help.

But... my dog will very rarely be used for public access. Only during those episodes, and only if I'm likely to dissociate. Because while most of my dissociative episodes (which only happen during a depressive episode... hard to explain) happen when I'm alone due to the lack of activity around me... I have had them while in hotel rooms with my college equestrian team event and once during a class I was in.

I have support from my doctors.... but all this to say that while I have a disability that may support my need to have my dog with me at all times... I don't want to impose on people, so when she's fully trained, she will only be going with me to places if I feel like things are really bad... otherwise, she stays home, because with my illness, I really only need her at home.


So... I have read up on disability laws. Both the ADA and my state laws regarding service animals. And so many people haven't... and think it's "OK"... when they don't have a disability. But know enough to know that most stores are not allowed to even ask what your disability is. So they take their dogs with them into said places. Frustrating for those who need their dogs 24/7, and are denied access because of these people.
 

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Home Depot Canada banned non-service dogs from their stores several years ago after a shih tzu bit off part of an employee's nose. Some store managers still turn a blind eye, and employees often don't want to confront customers either way. I'm kind of jealous when I hear other Canadians talking about taking their dogs to places like this to get experience. My local HD even put up big signs banning dogs from the outdoor garden centre after I took my puppy in there once.
 

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I'll just suggest that the US population is now way more sick than in years past. I'll also suggest that dogs are now trained for more tasks than ever before when dogs were just for the blind. I'll also say Federal Law does not absolutely require vest, ID, or flashing neon sign.

Now -- There are two questions business owners and employees can ask people that come into their businesses with dogs.
1. Is that a service dog?
2. What task is the dog trained to do?
That's it. You cannot ask why a person needs a service dog or what their disability is. You cannot ask them if the dog is certified as a service dog or require them to show a certificate or other paperwork (that's because there is no official certification for service dogs, and because anyone can buy a certificate for their dog on the internet even if they aren't disabled and their dog has no training whatsoever, so showing you a certificate of some kind would be completely meaningless). You cannot require that they have their dog demonstrate the tasks it can perform for them.
Asking anything other than those two questions above is a violation of a person's rights under the Americans with Disability Act. If you or your employees violate the ADA, you may find your business faced with hefty fines. As stated in: What Questions Can Business Owners Ask People with Service Dogs? - Yahoo Voices - voices.yahoo.com dated Dec. 2013.

Do I think in the instances you cited people are working the system? Well, very likely, or maybe not.
I hope I didn't sound arguing or anything -- I just thought I would answer since no one had.

This, this is correct. Basically the rule is, if it's not bothering anyone, they can't say anything, but when I see a small dog doing nothing but cheating the system, I like to tell the manager to ask what task it does, if the answer is "uhhhh" like it normally is, the are required to leave, also call the police, but that is just me, I have a real service dog, people cheating the system make me sick.



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I just saw a small white poodle in my local grocery store yesterday....I was kind of curious as to the service this dog provided...

No big deal...the dog was well minded.

SuperG
 

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i don't want to sound like a jerk but i feel some service dogs are over prescribed and over abused like handicapped parking permits. i'm sorry but one of the last national news stories was a vet missing part of a leg and was wearing a prostetic. he was asked to leave or explain why he needed the dog. he was walking so fine people couldn't tell any disability. he said in a news interview that the dog was a service dog to turn lights on and off and open and close doors. you do those actions with your arms and his were fine. i can understand having a dog turn the wall switch light off for you if you're not wearing your expensive leg while in your house. the dog wasn't doing anything for him in starbucks. i would like to see the surveillance video, i'm sure he opened the door to get in with his hand and didn't turn the lights off in starbucks.
 

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scarfish...

You don't sound like a jerk to me at all....quite the opposite actually.

It's the same old BS which is becoming more prevalent everyday....

We all just need to remember that there are those to whom the rules to not apply....you know the type....same losers who abuse handicapped parking permits, get on airplanes before their section is called, so they can clog up the aisle, dog owners who don't pick up their dogs crap at dog parks..etc. Too many pigs out there who only care about themselves and don't care about the wake they leave in life.

Whoops...did that sound like I was venting ?????


SuperG
 

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scarfish, that is another can of worms. i will say not all disabilities can be seen. ie: a dog that detects impending seizures, the the vet with ptsd, the dog keeps her/him calm other psych issues ect.... in this case i would rather see some folks abuse the system rather than penalize those that actually rely on their service dog.
 

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scarfish, that is another can of worms. i will say not all disabilities can be seen. ie: a dog that detects impending seizures, the the vet with ptsd, the dog keeps her/him calm other psych issues ect.... in this case i would rather see some folks abuse the system rather than penalize those that actually rely on their service dog.
Agreed, :)

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I would rather not see an abuse to the system because ultimately it reduces the benefit and impact for those who truly need the benefits, for which they were designed.

I would venture that given enough abuse of the service dog exceptions in public places by those who are taking advantage of the system will ultimately make it more difficult on those who truly need a service dog.....most certainly in the perception by the general public as they become acclimated to viewing service dogs as a hoax because of the abusers..... Cynicism tends to overrule the general mentality once a "privilege" has been abused too often.


SuperG
 

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This thread has a lot of good information..

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/guide-therapy-service-dogs/437705-service-dog-no-disability.html

Just remember that there are a lot more internal injuries, mentally and even physically (seizures, etc.) that we can't see. While some abuse the system, and it's actually was a prevalent when I moved here, I still like to give people the benefit of the doubt. If their dog is obnoxious, that's one thing. You also don't know if a manager has already spoken with the person and a worker may just not know.
 

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i don't want to sound like a jerk but i feel some service dogs are over prescribed and over abused like handicapped parking permits. i'm sorry but one of the last national news stories was a vet missing part of a leg and was wearing a prostetic. he was asked to leave or explain why he needed the dog. he was walking so fine people couldn't tell any disability. he said in a news interview that the dog was a service dog to turn lights on and off and open and close doors. you do those actions with your arms and his were fine. i can understand having a dog turn the wall switch light off for you if you're not wearing your expensive leg while in your house. the dog wasn't doing anything for him in starbucks. i would like to see the surveillance video, i'm sure he opened the door to get in with his hand and didn't turn the lights off in starbucks.
So, if this Vet was on his way somewhere where he may need his service dog's skills, should he have left the dog at home because he wanted to stop at Starbucks? What if his prosthetic is uncomfortable and he may want to use a motorized cart or wheelchair at his next destination?

My husband and I have a long-time close friend who lost his leg in Iraq as a medic trying to save his friends. He has a service dog and is a spokesperson for VetDogs. I can't stand to see people who feel that they are a better judge of someone's disability than the person themselves. Especially when you've seen said person for less than 5 minutes. Count your blessings and be grateful that you are typically-abled and have no need for assistance in your daily life from an animal. I'm sure the guy without a leg would much prefer to have his leg back, over getting to take his dog into Starbucks.
 

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I bumped into a lady at petsmart last year who bragged about bringing her dog, a GSD to the Atlanta Aquarium. She openly admitted to me she had no disabilities but because it's such a touchy thing, how people with SDs can be questioned or not, often people use that to their advantage. She's probably shared that story with many more people some of whom will go ahead and pretend to have SDs as well. So it goes..

I know some SD owners don't like having to be questioned but the other side of this coin is people will do what this lady did and I'm sure others are doing, ignore the rules.

IMO it would be better if SDs and their owners carried some form of special ID with their pic and the dogs pic and other pertinent info. That way if questioned all they have to do is present the ID.

If more and more people keep faking eventually this is going to be needed. I would love to take my dogs more places but IMO unless it's a working SD the grocery store is not appropriate for dogs in general.
 

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I bumped into a lady at petsmart last year who bragged about bringing her dog, a GSD to the Atlanta Aquarium. She openly admitted to me she had no disabilities but because it's such a touchy thing, how people with SDs can be questioned or not, often people use that to their advantage. She's probably shared that story with many more people some of whom will go ahead and pretend to have SDs as well. So it goes..

I know some SD owners don't like having to be questioned but the other side of this coin is people will do what this lady did and I'm sure others are doing, ignore the rules.

IMO it would be better if SDs and their owners carried some form of special ID with their pic and the dogs pic and other pertinent info. That way if questioned all they have to do is present the ID.

If more and more people keep faking eventually this is going to be needed. I would love to take my dogs more places but IMO unless it's a working SD the grocery store is not appropriate for dogs in general.

Couldn't agree more.. Side note, do you live close to ATL?



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This is a really tough topic. I've gotten involved in my local service dog community this last year and helped some locals and non-locals with training their SDs, all of them had invisible disabilities. I've heard more stories about issues with public access than I can count at this point, and it is disheartening.

People who "game the system" and try and bring their non-service dogs into public places that don't allow dogs are doing a disservice to the people who do require service dogs. Service dogs are trained animals with high expectations set for them. An example... a service dog isn't going to lift it's leg and pee on the bottom shelf at a grocery store - someone's pet absolutely could. Service dog handlers do not need any more trouble, they have more than enough as it is - which is why I wish people respected the seriousness of a service animal more than they seem to.

I think it is extremely important for business owners and management to be watchful and ask to see proof if there is a problem in their area with fake service dogs causing trouble.

On that note, service dog laws (depending on where you live) sometimes don't even require that dogs wear service dog vests or visual indication of what they are! It is also illegal to ask what a person's disabilities are. I believe you can only ask if the dog is a service dog, and what tasks it is trained to do.

In Canada, disabled persons require a doctors note that clearly states that yes, this person is disabled and requires full public access with their service animal. This note is direct verification from a Doctor. If a person does not have this note, they can be denied access. With the note, it is illegal to deny them access (unless it is in the kitchen of a restaurant, an operating room or any other sterile environment).

There are a lot of invisible disabilities. PTSD and psychiatric service dogs are more and more common these days for good reason, and these dogs are literally the only reason some of these people can function in public. They service a pretty amazing purpose.

I digress... people who bring their pets into no-dogs-allowed public places are doing a disservice to those who require service animals. Everyone wants to bring their dogs everywhere, but that just isn't how things will ever work.
 

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I know some SD owners don't like having to be questioned but the other side of this coin is people will do what this lady did and I'm sure others are doing, ignore the rules.

IMO it would be better if SDs and their owners carried some form of special ID with their pic and the dogs pic and other pertinent info. That way if questioned all they have to do is present the ID.
This. I know someone personally who, if questioned in public about his service dog, will have a manic episode for the rest of the day and become overwhelmed with anxiety. He is PTSD, severe anxiety and dissociative disorder... he went to go get business cards printed that explain what a service dog is, the laws and how not to disturb his dog or talk to him because it does damage to his well being. He told me if somebody tries to talk to him he gives them a card and literally immediately gets away from them to prevent triggering his symptoms.

In the end, though... asking for proof is extremely fair and even responsible - but for some people it can be triggering. It's a hard balance. I really wish there was an international organization that could certify dogs, along with a Doctor's note that confirms disability and need of a service dog, and require all service dogs wear a vest - I think that would be a very good way to help keep false SDs out of public access.

There are several websites where anyone can order "service dog IDs" from... pretty scary... It would be great to have ONE OFFICIAL governing body and official IDs so people can spot fake vs. real SDs.
 
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