People Using Fake Service Dog Tags

The New York Post reported that many New Yorkers have been using fake “service dog” tags on their pets so they can take them wherever they want.

Photo Credit. NY Post

Service dogs are amazing animals that help make people’s lives better. We often hear stories of service dogs being denied entry into businesses because people are misinformed on their rights. Unfortunately some people are making things even more difficult for service dogs. The New York Post reported that many New Yorkers have been using fake “service dog” tags on their pets so they can take them wherever they want.

Dog owners in New York have been purchasing fake tags, vests, patches and certificates on the internet. These New Yorkers put these tags on their dogs so they can take them into restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, clubs and other business.

“I was sick of tying my dog outside,” said 33-year-old Brett Davis, who has fake patch on his teacup Yorkie Napoleon. “Sometimes they’ll give me a hassle and say bring the papers next time, but for five bucks, you order [a patch] off eBay, and it works 90 percent of the time.”

To obtain a legal service-dog one must go through the Health Department. Unfortunately once the tags are administered there is no regulation of them. Kate Vlasovskaya has purchased a fake “service dog” ID card for her King Charles spaniel, Lila and says not only is it becoming popular but she doesn’t really worry about being caught because it’s too much of a hassle to verify.

“You’d have to go through all of these links or get someone on the line,” said Vlasovskaya. “With all that effort, they will probably just let you in.”

Not only are these New Yorkers taking advantage of the system, people who have legitimate service dogs say the fake service dogs are causing issues.

“People don’t realize that if the dog misbehaves in any way – if it isn’t clean, barks or is overly friendly and jumps on people – that it aggravates other dogs and disrupts the way they do service,” said Toni Eames, the president of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners.


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20 thoughts on “People Using Fake Service Dog Tags

  1. I think people should be allowed to bring their dogs to most places, IF they are well behaved and on a leash. If they are not well behaved they can be asked to leave by the management, or hopefully people can use common sense about where they take their dogs. Dogs are like children; they need to be educated and socialized. They need to be exposed to all sorts of situations and environments while they are young especially, so they grow up to be well-balanced individuals that can behave appropriately in any situation.

    1. I agree Anon, and my dog does go most places with me – she is beautifully trained and mannered to enable me to do so.

      Using the analogy of children simply doesn’t work. I am in the UK and most children I encounter at the supermarket, on the sidewalk, in public do not have basic manners and should be left at home as well.

  2. I have to say, I’d be pretty worried to leave my dogs tied outside if I had to run into a place. There are crazy people out there who could steal the dog or harm them or even feed them something they shouldn’t have (even good intentions can have disastrous consequences). And if a family is traveling with a dog, their options might be quite limited with what to do with a dog if they need to enter an establshment where pets are banned. And, of course, we always hear stories about dogs getting left in hot cars. I do understand both sides of this situation and I very much agree with the points the poster above made. And I don’t think that most people are trying to disrespect anyone who actually has a service dog or make their lives harder; I bet most people don’t even realize the harm they potentially cause by doing this, they simply want to have the right to bring their beloved pet with them rather than take a risk by leaving the, behind. You wouldn’t leave a child on the street to wait while you ran in to get a gallon of milk, and many of the same dangers a child would face also unfortunately happen to dogs. I don’t think most people are deliberately trying to wrong those with real disabilities; they are just trying to protect their own dogs or include their dogs in tasks or activities. Perhaps the solution could be that people could apply for a LEGITIMATE tag that shows an animal to have passed an evaluation that deems a dog ok to visit establishments, and then leave it up to the individual managements to allow it? Some towns across America are EXTREMELY dog friendly and allow dogs in shops and restaurants (some places even offer “doggie menus”!). Those towns have success rates with inclusion of dogs. Perhaps if big cities like NY were a bit more lenient and tolerant, the need for people to do this would go away.

  3. ok..fair enough l would be scared to leave this little doggie outside ..but saying that dogs should be allowed everywhere is crazy…please take into consideration people who’s dogs are not trained at all. some of them bark, jump on people and kids, pee, and grab clothes of people when you walk pass them. there is also healthy issue- because some people don’t visit vets AT ALL. l have 2 dogs and l love them to bits. it would be amazing if l could walk into supermarket with them. but l know thy will behave. can guarantee other though……imagine dog fight in bread isle!! disturbing 😛

  4. No, they shouldn’t be allowed everywhere. But if more places were dog friendly, it would help alleviate a lot of problems for many people. And that being said, not every dog should even be allowed into these dog-friendly places. They, like service dogs, should be required to earn their tags. Perhaps the tags could be only given by vets who give the dog a series of tests (and know the dog’s medical status). That way, the dogs being allowed into places are not interfering with real service dogs and they also are “weeding out” those who could cause problems. And I’m not saying ALL places should allow dogs. I see no reason for a dog other than a service animal to be in a movie theater, for example. And if a restaurant allows dogs, it should only be in a designated area, such as an outdoor seating area. Guidelines should definitely be set in place and enforced. But I do believe there is a need or more leniency here.

  5. People who abuse the privilege allowed by ADA to those who have Service Dogs to mitigate their disabilities should be fined if they are committing the act of presenting the dog as an SD when they ARE NOT DISABLED. I’m disabled but have other dogs as well and do not bring them in public places where pets are not allowed.
    Regulation of dogs is not the problem but the people who are presenting themselves as disabled by putting vests on dogs when they do not use the dogs to mitigate any disability.
    When walking or traveling with a pet as well I plan accordingly my stops during the day.
    Just because the world has the Internet and info on “pet friendly” places of business doesn’t mean that these people research options regarding where they are welcome with pets.
    Being disabled doesn’t mean that this is a ” club or fraternity ” that everyone wants to join. Everyday things can seem like mountains to climb without anyone to help but our Service Dog companions.
    What these people are doing is commuting fraud to get around the ADA law meant to help the disabled with Service Animals the ability to shop and visit establishments that they may not with out the mitigation of tasks specifically trained to their own SD.

  6. I just don’t think that the people who do this are all even aware of the problems they cause for the disabled. I think they simply are not seeing beyond not wanting to tie their dog outside or leave it in a car. Even when traveling, you might, as you say, plan out your entire trip based on your dog…but sometimes the unexpected can happen. We travelled recently with our dog who has extreme separation anxiety. Leaving him in a hotel while we went out, even for five minutes, would not be an option. He simply couldn’t be left behind. So we planned on taking him everywhere with us. But we did, even with all of our careful planning, run in to some obstacles. For someone with a service dog, this wouldn’t have been an issue as they could just bring him in. But for us it was a problem. We don’t abuse the need to take our dog places. I’m not one o bring my dog into Bloomingdales likes he’s a fashion accessory. But he has issues that make me wish there were more options available when I need to bring him with me. If there was a way to get special tags from a vet, as mentioned in an above post, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    1. @ Anonymous….So let me get this straight, you are wanting a disability for yourself to take your dog “everywhere”? Right now that is the ONLY option for those of us with a service dog–2 B disabled. Think it’s worth it? NOT!! You don’t just “use” a service dog when it’s convenient. It’s a real need on a daily basis.

      1. Uhm, please tell me where I stated I’d want a disability?? And before you go jumping on me you might want to (a) re-read what I wrote and (b) know that I do have a disabled family member so I would never try to take advantage of people with disabilities. To suggest I’d want a disability just to take a dog places….jeez…chill out. I never said that. Not even close.

    2. You need to better train your dog, he/she obviously has needs for his/her mental well being that you are not meeting…. get him/her trained !

      Service dogs and some therapy dogs, are highly trained, calm, considerate beings, they are not just “family pets”, they have been through certified courses that train for and expect certain behaviors for their future careers as helpers and service providers for their human placements, Service dogs and some therapy dogs have earned and deserve their special tags and the exceptions that provides them in society, normal family dog members/pets do NOT.

      1. @ Windswept: Hey, thanks for judging me and my dog without knowing anything at all about us. Just for your information, we adopted him from a shelter when he was already almost a senior. He came to us with severe separation anxiety (enough so that before us he had been adopted and returned to the shelter). We have worked with him and gotten him to the point where he can be in our home without us for reasonable amounts of time, but he could not easily be left alone in a hotel, for example, when we travel. All I was trying to say is it would make our lives, and HIS, a lot easier if he was allowed with us in more places. Im not saying he should be allowed everywhere and there are many places I would never think to take him. But sometimes it would make our lives—and his—easier if he could come with us. Other than his anxiety (which we DO work on) he is VERY well trained and extremely well mannered. Better so than most dogs I know. Please don’t preach to me like you even know what you’re talking about when you’ve never met me or my dog and you know NOTHING of his history or how well trained he is. That’s just arrogant and not nice.

        1. Why is that last post in response to windswept getting thumbs down? I don’t see anything wrong with it and I agree with Anon that the post from windswept was judgmental and not nice. How does windswept know anything at all about that person’s dog and how well trained it is? That was a judgmental comment, not knowing any facts other than the dog has separation anxiety and its pretty lame to suggest that’s the owner’s fault without knowing any details. I know plenty of HIGHLY trained dogs with separation issues, so I think it’s wrong to assume anything here. Would you blame or judge a human with anxiety issues?? Plus, after hearing about their dog, I think it’s great that the poster gave this senior dog a home, ESPECIALLY knowing he came with separation issues. I give thumbs up to the OP and thumbs down to windswept’s comments. It really wasn’t necessary, kind or helpful in any way. Just kinda mean spirited and judgmental.

  7. While our pup is treated as if he’s our kid, I’ve never had the urge to want to take him grocery shopping. There are enough legitimate service dogs who are denied entry into places, and these people who fake it are only making it worse. Service dogs go through extensive training in many different situations. What happens when a non-service dog cannot handle crowds or little kids or other dogs? I think it’s more of a liability on the owner, and that trickles back to the store owner who has allowed this dog inside. Also, I’d love to know what these people are saying their dogs assist them with…

  8. Personally I would rather have dogs or cats sitting next to me at a coffee house or restaurant than many of the adults or children that I have been exposed to in these locations. I think it is sad that people will get the fake certificates or tags, and it needs to be regulated. I do know legit service dogs including a seizure dog and he is a just a tiny mini sheltie. He is extremely well behaved, and what is shocking is people come into her business and get all bent out of shape because there is a dog there. They think it is dirty, or a disturbance but then the same individuals will not hesitate to bring in a screaming snotty nosed kid in public, who is tearing up the place and disturbing everyone. Or be sitting in a location and will not stop talking on the cell phone so that everyone know’s their business.

  9. I used to have a certified and trained service dog and would take her with me to places. However, people who owned/worked in the stores would be cruel to me, kick me out etc, even when I showed them all my paperwork and what the law says. I finally quit taking her anywhere with me due to the abuse.

    So to hear these people pretending their pets are service dogs is absolutely disgusting to me. This is going to backfire on those disabled people who have legitimate certificated/trained service dogs.

    1. So sorry this has happen to you. Do not give up. FIGHT! The abusers are disgusting people in this earth.

      Do not give up. You have the rights to take your service dog anywhere.
      Do not give up.

    2. @Janeeta “used to have a certified & trained service dog”……”showed them all my paperwork & what the law says”. Sounds like you are NOT DISABLED or have a well documented disability that a service dog could help mitigate. Also you said “‘going to backfire on those disabled people who have legitimate ‘certified’ (that WORD again)/trained service dogs”. “Those” of us that use service dogs don’t refer to “those disabled people”. We refer to ourselves in the first person-generally. We don’t STOP using our vital dog because someone was abusive or didn’t know the law. We are polite and help to educate folks that aren’t aware of the ADA laws. We are not looking for a fight or to sue someone for not knowing the laws…we just want to live as normal a life as possible.

  10. What is humiliating is that people who use fake dog service tags to gain access is completely WRONG in the first place

    and secondly, you made it worst for people who does have legitimate certification trained service dogs to gain access what best for their life.

    DO NOT jeopardize their rights, because of your laziness irresponsibly of your dogs.

  11. I have a certified therapy dog . Makes me mad that anyone can attain these tags & vests. My dog has been properly trained but does not have access to all areas like a service dog. By the rules of therapy dog they are not allowed to wear a vest as not to be mistaken as a service dog. We have spent lots of money & time training our dog. Ticks me off in crowds with others with their dogs on flexi leashes & let them run up to people @ other dogs , then say “Oh my dog doesn’t like other dogs” then keep them away from mine, my dog did not invade your space, yours did. We have another dog that is not certified so if we are doing any kind of therapy visits she cannot go along. By being a certified therapy dog our organization provides insurance while our dog is visiting. Protects us & her from any incendents. Amazing how so many claim to love their dogs buy do not vaccinate them. After visits we have to sterilize our dog, especially feet as to spread germs. There is a lot more to it than just walking around with a tag, this needs to be stopped!

  12. I would say to anyone, whether it’s an invisible disability or an obvious one, because regardless we still have trouble. Yes I do have a guide dog. But people still have an issue, now to the person who doesn’t bring their service dog with them anymore, you’re just giving the public more of a reason to walk all over us. My point is, the more you give them a chance to do that, the more confident they will be about walking all over and miss treating disabled people and it will just make them more arrogant and more proud of what they do. As someone pointed out, we are not out to sue people, but if it has to go that far then I know I will Do it if necessary. The farthest, and I hope I do not jinx it it has ever gone, was just threatening to bring somebody to court and that shut them up. But some people really want to step all over you and treat you like crap and really push your buttons, so I do not know your situation but just don’t let people do that to you. It only Makes their stupid stereotypes that they made about us seem more true to them. We are vulnerable, we are all mentally incompetent and so on and so forth. So if someone tells you know and you have a service dog Then challenge their stupidity. Believe it or not, there are so many people who want to talk the talk but never walk the walk, that’s why I said sometimes if you just threaten to bring somebody to court that’s usually enough to shut them up. If they let you win one day and then after you leave the tell you the next time you come back you can’t bring your dog, then they Better be prepared for some legal issues.

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