Sunday Rant: Fake Service Dogs and Fakers in General

Don’t forget to send me questions!  If I can’t solve your problem   I can make it a little worse.

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If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I love dogs, most especially my own little Princess Margot.

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Isn’t she just adorable?

If you do not read my blog on a regular basis, fuck you.  Seriously, why not?  I’m trying to do something important here.

While I love dogs, there are certain places I just don’t want to see them.  Such places include: my bedroom during SexyTime (it’s just weird), in a restaurant and in a grocery store.  Caveat: I have no problem with bona fide service dogs.  They provide a critical service to those who need them and my scorn will not be heaped upon the handicapped (handicapable? what’s PC these days?) who utilize these adorable and very smart pups.

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My issue, or better put: my PET PEEVE is people who claim their pet is a service dog and take him everywhere, when really he is not.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is very broad when it comes to service animals and there are no requirements that a dog be trained, certified or that the handler carry any type of identification proving their dog is a valid service dog.  In addition, business owners are very limited in what types of questions they can ask and when they can bar entry to a patron with a pet claimed to be a “service animal.”  In summary, if some west hills bitch flounces into Papa Haydn with her cockapoopleopolis, there are only two questions she can be asked:

1. Is that a service dog? (she lies and answers “yes, with an audible huff and an arching of her recently lifted eyebrows); and

2. What is it trained to do for you? (she says anything she wants at this point since the law is so vague, including “anxiety alleviation,” “constipation relief,” “emotional support” or “peanut butter licking”).

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For details on the service animal portion of the ADA, click here: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm.  I’d summarize it more completely for you but I just got home from brunch and I’m sleepy.  Mommy needs a nap.

The rules were revised in 2011 so that only dogs and in some cases miniature horses(!) are recognized as service animals.  I think business owners grew tired of admitting ferrets, birds and turtles into their shops and restaurants.  No really, this stuff happened.

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Real service animals?  Yay!  Fake ones?  Annoy the shit out of me.

There is a certain type of person who thinks the rules don’t apply to them.  Interestingly, this type is usually also quite a rule-lover, so long as the rule prohibiting or requiring some sort of action benefits them directly.  The idiots who bring their snickerdoodles everywhere, usually with a bogus “service animal” tag or coat strapped around them, are prime examples of this type of person.

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I feel comfortable labeling them idiots for buying those tags and coats because they clearly haven’t read the ADA – as I mentioned above, no identification is required.  Here is a website that flagrantly encourages people to break the law and get away with it using their (totally unnecessary, even according to their website) products: http://www.servicedogtags.com

Phony service dogs make it harder for people who have real service dogs to go about their daily lives.  First, they are subject to increased scrutiny because of the overwhelming number of fakers.  Not just at places like restaurants, shops and malls either: this has become a very real problem for the TSA, as service dogs can fly with you in the aircraft.  In other words, these assholes make your trip through security longer than it needs to be – I bet you care now!

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In addition, valid service dogs are at risk of being attacked by untrained aggressive pets posing as service dogs – I have seen this happen and the blind handler of the real service dog was at a loss for what to do when her animal was growled, barked and lunged at by an especially nasty SHITzufruffle.

Using a fake service dog is a federal crime, and that sounds pretty serious, right?  Wrong.  The privacy protections build into the ADA to benefit those who actually need them also enable fakers to get away with continued violations and avoid prosecution.

This problem is very similar to the one we have in Portland with handicapped parking permits.  They are not difficult to get and once you have one, you can park for free and for any length of time, despite what the meter restrictions may be.  As a result, many able-bodied commuters take up precious spots all day long in downtown Portland, and businesses are left with no on-street parking for their customers.

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I thought this problem might be overhyped, so last week I went downtown to slobber over Yurman I neither deserve nor can afford and I walked for several blocks counting the number of handicap parking permits.  It was astounding: block after block was filled with these cars.  The city loses $2.4 million every year to this abuse and that’s money we desperately need for more medical marijuana dispensaries and bike lanes built with free range organic cruelty free timber salvaged from a forest fire.

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On-street parking is a major issue for downtown businesses, especially those which people just want to hop in and out of for quick errands without going into a parking garage.  With up to 75% of those spaces being used by able-bodied drivers who don’t want to pay for parking*, that’s straight up stealing money out of a business owner’s pocket, with the parking offender saving far less than their crime costs the businesses trying to survive.

Perhaps equally damaging as the lost income and business, however, is the increased scrutiny that the truly handicapped are now under as people become more familiar with this problem.  I know I have accosted two people with handicap permits in the last week and accused them of faking it.  One of them flipped me the bird and jogged away towards the waterfront with the speed and fluid gait of Marion Jones circa 2006.

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The other one also flipped me the bird and then transferred from his car into the wheelchair his wife was bringing around the side of the vehicle.  Damn, I didn’t see her at first.  Making matters even more embarrassing, she was in a wheelchair too, plus she was blonde so we are talking severely disabled here.  Whoops!

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Fucking tangents…sorry.

Come on people, get it together.  You do not NEED to be with your pet all the time.    

This is a despicable practice and I will call you out on it.  In fact, I engaged with a service dog faker a few months ago, when her maltipooper with its tiny little faker vest was sniffing the bagels at Peet’s Coffee counter.  I need to mention that this woman was wearing pajama bottoms, had a mysterious crust around her nostrils and looked like she hadn’t brushed her hair, 4 feet long and 4 feel tall, in about 6 weeks.  That will be relevant later, I’m not just snarking.

Anyway, this dog was all up and in this bagel’s bagel face, and it just so happened I was in the mood for a bagel, so I was not amused.

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After ten minutes of her indecision and her dog’s bagel sniffing, she finally completed her transaction and turned around to face me.  Apparently, I had “that look” on my face.**

Since it was early in the morning and I had yet to ingest a sufficient amount of caffeine I wasn’t going to say a word.  But Faker Pajamas In Public decided to start yelling at me.  “What’s your problem???”   Over and over again.  And I said nothing.  I may have snickered a little, but I said nothing because the last time I got into it with a stranger in public, I ended up in the back of a patrol cruiser and was forced to issue a written apology in iambic pentameter.  Long story.

That is, I said nothing until I heard this:

“Fuck you, you dyke.  You and your dyke haircut think you are better than me and don’t like my dog?”  I am not joking or exaggerating in any way.  Life, at least my life anyway, is truly often stranger than fiction.

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I informed her that while my dyke haircut had no opinion about her dog I did, and it was not one that could be described as positive.  I opined she was violating federal law and in turn making it harder on those who depend on service animals, not to mention that the hairy little pile of shit she now had cuddled in her bra had ruined my bagel plans and forced me to divert to a muffin.  That’s like landing in Detroit when you were planning on a visit to New York City.

In response, she delivered the following bon mots:

“Fuck you, dyke.  Go tell it to your dyke girlfriend.  What a stupid fucking haircut.  You look like shit.  Dyke.”

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So at this point, everyone is tittering and wondering what’s going to happen next.  I have to say I was a little disappointed in the obvious lesbian with a much more butch haircut for not standing up for me.  If lesbians can’t stand up for straight women who resemble lesbians, what has the world come to?

Anyway, I let her have it:

“Your comments on my appearance are duly noted.  However, judging by your fine appearance this morning, I am going to have to assume you broke the only mirror in your studio apartment during your most recent coke binge honey, because this look just isn’t working for you.  There’s a reason they call them “bed clothes,” dumb ass, so the next time you venture out in your PJs you damn well better be dragging a cot behind you.  And what the hell is that shit all over your nose?  You look like you fell into a vat of gross.  Don’t even get me started on that thing on top of your head – is that your real hair?  Do you keep your children in there?”

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She got Jammed.  If you don’t get the Parks and Rec reference you are really missing out on some good television.  Also, if Ron Swanson asked me to run away with him in the canoe he built to show me his love, I just might do it.  Good thing he isn’t real.***

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And away I went, sans bagel but with a latte and a great story.

So, for any of you who are service dog or handicap parking fakers or any other kind of faker pretending to be something you wouldn’t want to be just to get something you want: knock it off.  Start thinking about the impact you are having on others who are truly disabled and consider the possibility that sometimes your dog may prefer a little alone time.  You are emotionally suffocating that poor animal and that’s not healthy.

-Rant over, Robin out.

*I have no facts to support this statistic but it looked impressive, so there you go.

**For a description of “that look” and how fast you need to run if you see it, please call Husband #1 or Husband #2.

***Apologies to Husband #2

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Autofocused

    Oh advice diva! Your brilliance once again shines so bright like the beacon of truth it really is. As a result, I have had to wear two pairs of sunglasses lest you burn through the back of my retinas.
    xoxo

  2. thelmaup

    Soooo good, I’m snort laughing!!!

  3. Ali Whiting

    Ba ha ha ha snort…terrific!! You are so amazing I felt like I was standing right next to you!!

  4. JVJ

    I wanna just tie this Rant in with the Threesome post…but alas, I cannot. BTW….what IS the deal with people wearing their PJ’s in public?!? Is this a trend that’s gonna end…SOON?

  5. CL

    It’s all fun and games until the woman up the street from you is approved to make her “Akita” (scares the hell out of you, you saw your life flash before your eyes) Akita, be a service dog… Are you fucking kidding me???!!! And she lived an apartment…

  6. Elaine

    O Boy! I wish I could have seen that “woman’s” face when you were done with her! There are so many times I have wanted to do the same. I hate when people use fake service animals, and also those who use disabled parking when they they have no right to. I have a disabling disease, but am not yet to the disabled stage (although some days I do feel like it…), and I do not even feel I deserve to park in a disabled parking space yet. So I refuse to get that little tag. But when I do get there, I better have a place to park!

  7. Linda

    I have a friend who has Multiple Sclerosis. He has a tag on his car for when he needs it. I say that because there are days when a person who has MS have no issues. They get out of their vehicles and people think there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. And then there are those days where it is quite obvious that there is something physically wrong with them. He has been ridiculed over the years for parking in handicapped spots by people who do not understand and he really doesn’t need to explain. That being said, he has chosen to park in non-handicapped spots several times over the years. If it is a day he starts out feeling good and he decides he is going to the mall to shop, he decides to park further out not utilizing the tag on the mirror. Say he is inside for a couple of hours and can feel that his body is not capable of making it any longer, he now has to walk further to get to the vehicle. He doesn’t complain, that was his choice. Okay, got that out! Whew.
    Now for the service dogs, I truly was not aware that people out there faked it! How naive is that? Now I will be on the lookout for them. And also for Ms. Pajama bottoms and crusty residue, just plain yucky!
    Thanks for the eye opening rant Robin! I would love to witness you holding back and then letting it all out!

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  9. Fellene

    Apart from pit bulls on busses, dogs in restaurants and grocery stores are my least favorite thing, and I love dogs in general. Great rant and thanks for expressing this outrage for the rest of us!

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