Abuse of Service Dog Policies
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Q. Skymall has decided to sell service dog vests in their magazine, making it oh so much easier for people to fake their pet as a service dog. As a service dog advocate and educator, I always wary when people try to pass off their pet as service dogs in order to do something like let them fly for free. Many people have brought this to Skymall's attention and they have ignored us thus far. I am disabled and have a real service dog and do not want to sit next to some untrained yipping beast who will drive my dog nuts.
I don't know if this in your realm of keeping a close eye on airfares, but this is causing trouble for real disabled service dog handlers. How can they get away with this?
A. If in fact Skymall is knowingly selling these items without checking first to see if the recipients do indeed have a disability then shame on them. This accommodation for disabled passengers is very loosely regulated and is prone to abuse. It's terrible that some passengers take advantage of such policies for service dogs, and risk ruining it for those who have a genuine need. I have encountered at least one person who abuses the privilege of bringing a "service animal" on board by pretending that she has a nervous condition requiring the presence of her household pet, thus avoiding putting the animal in a cage under the seat in front of her.