ADAP and Service Dog Central are working together to promote new state law. Our proposed bills, which if passed into law, would address the manufacturers and suppliers of unethical certifications and ID. Certifications and ID for untrained unsuitable dogs or for dogs of non-disabled owners so that these individuals can take their pets into no-pet locations is very easily obtainable by anyone under current system.
We are not talking of an ID tag which has the basic info of the dog and the owner’s contact info. This type of ID protects the dog if it is lost or otherwise separated from the handler. What we are against are those individuals and companies that sell items stating that a dog is a certified Assistance/Service Dog sight unseen. We are against items sold via the Internet for anyone with the money to purchase them. We believe if an organization or business *certifies* a dog then they need to stand behind that certification other then just taking money in exchange for a worthless piece of paper. We are against certifications that are offered to anyone who wishes to take their pet into non-pet venues. We are against companies making a profit on worthless items that will lead to making access harder for legit teams that come after.
You may be surprised with the number of sites that offer certification with no more than a box with the instructions of check here if your dog is a SD. Pay $XXX and you will receive a certificate and a tag for your dog. If a company is giving a certificate what are they certifying? Should it not be more than so and so has the correct amount of money to send us? Some of these sites even promote sales by stating that with this certificate and tag you will be able to take your dog everywhere with you. Some even say, “Businesses are not allowed to question if your dog is a SD or not.” (We know that a business is allowed to ask if the person is disabled and if the dog is an Assistance or Service Dog.) So again, what are these places certifying if all they know is the dog’s name, the owner’s address to mail items to, and that the owner has room on their credit card to pay for the purchase.
Then you have the next level up. These businesses ask for a letter from your vet stating that the dog is a SD (which we know that a vet can not make this determination but can only verify that the dog is healthy enough to work.) and a copy of a CGC which is not a working dog test but for companion dogs (again better then nothing at all). So the most these companies can certify is that the dog was vet checked and has a basic companion level cert. Should not their certifications then state this and not that the dog is a *Certified Service Dog*? According to these merchant sites the 5 dogs that I gave a CGC evaluation test to several weeks ago, which were vet checked, could if I shelled the money out for Internet certs then be sold as Certified Assistance Dogs.
ADAP is not against owner trained Assistance/Service Dogs. Most of the people who belong to ADAP are themselves PWDs and have either had OT dogs in the past or are currently training their own replacement dogs. We are not trying to make things harder for OT dogs but to protect the right of people training their own dogs. Fakers or people using undertrained dogs are in fact putting that right of owner trained dogs in jeopardy every time they take these dogs out into the public. ADAP is saying that we want anyone who is willing to take money to sell a certificate to also have a legal responsibility to stand behind that certificate. Don’t just take someone’s money and then cut all ties with that customer.
And if someone is confused — ADAP is not stating that SDs should or must have a certifcate. We are saying that we are against people selling certificates that state that a dog is a Certified Assistance or Service Dog and they have no requirements of any merit being presented to them to make this determination nor are they offering anything of any substance behind this certification. If someone gives a certification then they should stand behind that certification. They should be willing to either stand behind that certificate if matters go to court or in an insurance lawsuit. Otherwise what have they offered as a benefit in exchange for their collection of money other then a certificate (which anyone can make on a home computer) to hang on a wall or a tag which can be purchased anywhere tags are made. And who are in their main market but fakers, people with dogs that can not even pass a basic PATS test, or people with disabilities who have been led to believe that they should part with money that they are hard pressed to part with. If someone wants to certify a dog then let them put their name down on the certification (I have to give my name as a CGC evaluator) and state that I (whoever) as a representative of XX organization certify this dog as passing my / or my organization requirements. Then have these requirements easily found. Have the limits of the certificate somewhere easily found. Bottom line – IF YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION CERTIFY THEN STAND BEHIND THAT CERTIFICATION.