I’m going to keep this one short. I know many other people who have spoken quite eloquently on this subject. But, after three incidents in the last week, I feel I need to say something.
Service dogs are not pets. They are not trained to provide amusement. These dogs provide essential service to people with disabilities. Don’t ask me what tricks my dog knows. The answer is none. It’s not polite to stare. It’s not polite to pry into the person’s background. It’s not appropriate to interrupt the team.
Please don’t tell your child to pet the “nice doggy.” Don’t feed my dog, even dog treats, without asking me first. Don’t whistle as we pass. Don’t tell the people you’re walking with that the handler is “special.”
Understand that while there are many, many studies showing the positive impact that pets have on humans, it is not appropriate to call your pet a service dog just so you can take s/he with you everywhere. Taking advantage of a law that protects disability rights just makes people like that schmucks.
I listened to a small dog bark on an airplane for almost two hours. I saw a dog poo in an airport and the owner walked away. Blizzard was almost bitten yesterday by a “service dog.”
So, please. Just once respect the law. I know you love your dog. I have two pets that I love too. But, your decision to take your pets into public is wrong. You are breaking the law.
I was once asked the difference between a pet and a service dog. The answer is clearly defined by federal law. The service dog performs tasks to mitigate a disability. Stupidity and ignorance are not disabilities.
For more information, please read: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Also feel free to read more about the impact of pets in public: